FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement for Federal and USPS Workers: The Old Barn

It sits like an eyesore and can be seen from the main road; dilapidated to some, while bringing warm remembrances of bygone days from real or imagined childhoods.  The edges of the roof have curled upwards, revealing rotting slats and welcoming sunlight, rain and birds to nest where previously it provided shelter for domesticated animals and field mice who took refuge on cold winter nights.

It needs refurbishing.

Strangers who pass by daily on their commute to important jobs, who carry impressive leather briefcases and wear finely knit suits adorned with cufflinks and driving in vehicles which speak in crisp, electronic voices of modernity and technology betraying the rural setting of that aggregate of rotting lumber, sometimes dreamily suggest that perhaps purchasing that tract of land and putting money into fixing up that old barn would be worthwhile.  But such thoughts are fleeting and become quickly overwhelmed by the busyness of the day.

But old barns reflect a metaphor for people who, like the deteriorating structure, need a pause in the middle of the day to consider specialized attention.  And people with medical conditions, especially, require that segregated time and peace.

For Federal and Postal Workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts one from being able to fully perform all of the essential elements of one’s job, the feeling that one has merely become an old and dilapidated barn becomes a daily sensation.  Perhaps it is just a new coat of paint, or a more expensive tin roof.  Whatever the needs, people barely give a second glance, except perhaps in moments of guilt-filled but short-lived days.  The old barn always stands alone.  For the Federal or Postal Worker, waiting on others to “refurbish” the old barn is to procrastinate the inevitable.

One must take charge of one’s own destiny.

Filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS, is often the only and pragmatically viable option for the Federal and Postal Worker.  Like the old barn that sits out in the harsh sun surrounded by imposing structures of modern life, that lonely feeling of being isolated will only grow more poignantly with time, until one day the developers come to tear down the old structure, leaving only a memory of bygone days.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement for Federal and USPS Workers: The Body

It is a mechanically extraordinary creation, whether by means of transcendental creation or evolutionary process — the bipedaling human body. The ability and capacity of balance and coordination; the acuity of the human mind and its quickness in information processing; the amazing functionality of dexterous hands and adaptability to quickly changing environments.

It is perhaps because of the success of that which is given, that we take for granted what we possess, and in the very taking for granted of something, allowing for the abuse of that which we never earned, has been one of the greatest calamities for human beings.  To test the extent of endurance, strength and limitation of capacity is one thing; to abuse beyond what a thing was meant for, is quite another.

For the Federal and Postal employee who is suffering from a medical condition, where the medical condition has arrived at a crisis point of deterioration, incapacity and intractability, it is time to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS or CSRS, precisely because one does not wish to cross the line into “abuse” of one’s body.

It is all well and good to come to the point of testing the extent of one’s human capacity; but once the limit is met, the need for restorative recuperation must be embraced.

Federal and Postal workers have a reputation for hard work and endurance, including patience beyond being a virtue; but there is another component beyond the human body which one is gifted with — that of one’s brain.  It is a functional component which should be used in consonance with the body, but it requires thoughtful quiescence.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Postal and Federal Disability Retirement: The Insidious Tragedy

Progressively deteriorating medical conditions comprise a category of tragedies which are especially insidious.

Automobile accidents; natural disasters; even airline catastrophes; such dramatic events, while shocking and tragically devastating, seem to encompass calamities of epic proportions equal to the turmoil of modern times.  But the quiet tragedies which are unheard of — the insidious nature of chronic pain, debilitating migraine headaches, overwhelming Major Depression, anxiety, panic attacks which paralyze one’s ability to engage in employment in a minimally functional manner; progressively degenerative spinal diseases; diffuse pain through Fibromyalgia; and similarly such “quiet” calamities, are especially insidious because, more often than not, there is no proportional visual confirmation of the suffering and tragedy.

Such private calamities are what must be adequately conveyed to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management when preparing and formulating a Federal Disability Retirement application.

When a “public” catastrophic event occurs, people tend to search for the picture which matches and confirms the described disaster; but when no such visual confirmation is available, there is often a suspicion that the event itself never occurred.  It is this visual-centered universe which makes for the insidious nature of chronic pain — for how can one confirm the latter?  What picture would provide the wanted affirmation?  It is always the quietude of a private catastrophe which is exponentially magnified in its tragic components — for lack of sympathy, devaluation of empathy, and a question as to the sincerity of the one who suffers.

That is precisely what must be overcome in preparing, formulating and filing for FERS or CSRS Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal and Postal Disability Retirement: The Dependent Society — Not

Most people suffer in silence; if not merely because there is a recognition of limited choices, then for a realization that financial and economic independence is a position to be cherished.  Federal and Postal workers are dedicated to their jobs and careers.  With cries of budgetary cutbacks and reduced allowances for overtime, agencies require Federal and Postal workers to put in longer hours, with little financial or other incentives for rewarding longer hours.

In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, there is sometimes the question of how the Federal or Postal Worker could continue to have a “successful” (or higher) performance rating, yet claim to be unable to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job.  That is actually an easy issue to explain and debunk:  The short answer is that Federal and Postal workers are dedicated to their jobs and careers and suffer silently, and would continue to do so until they drop dead.  But for the benefit of Federal Disability Retirement, the self-destructive dedication of Federal and Postal Workers would result in total incapacitation and debilitation of the Federal and Postal workforce.

Instead, the benefit of Federal Disability Retirement allows for cessation of work from a particular kind of job or career, while at the same time incentivizing the Federal or Postal Worker to go out into the private sector and engage in another vocation, and in essence, “self-pay” back into the system by working productively, paying taxes, etc. It is the most progressive of systems, and unlike other programs and societies of dependency, this particular one involving Federal Disability Retirement is in fact an intelligent approach for the American Worker.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement for Government Employees: The Duration of a Medical Condition

In being eligible for a Federal Disability Retirement annuity from the Office of Personnel Management, one of the basic criteria which must be met for eligibility determination is that a medical condition, its symptomatologies and impact upon one’s ability/inability to perform the essential elements of one’s job, must last for a minimum of 12 months.  

As a practical matter, the medical condition normally lasts for much longer, and is quite often a chronic, progressively deteriorating condition.  If the medical condition is expected to last for a short period of time, then the Federal or Postal employee must seriously consider whether filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is “worth it”, inasmuch as it often takes 8 – 10 months to obtain an approval from the Office of Personnel Management for the First Stage of the process.  

As such, for most Federal and Postal employees who are contemplating preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application under either FERS or CSRS, there is an implicit acknowledgement and understanding the the medical condition itself is one of chronicity, debilitating in nature, and often progressively deteriorating.  

The fact that a medical condition must last for a minimum of 12 months, however, does not mean that a Federal or Postal employee should wait for the 12 months to pass before filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  That would, upon reflection, be a cruel absurdity — to have to wait for 12 months, then to file and wait about 10 months before the Office of Personnel Management makes a decision, and all of this, only at the First Stage of the process. No — the legal standard is that the medical condition must be “expected” to last a minimum of 12 months; meaning, thereby, that a doctor can normally make a reasonable prognosis as to the duration, chronicity and future behavior of the medical condition; and this can normally be accomplished soon after the identification of a particular medical condition.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire