Disability Retirement for Federal Workers: Unwanted Change

Stability is what we seek; yet, with stability comes habituation and a staid routine of repetitive boredom.  Adventure, excitement and stimulation; these come at a price, and so we revert and remain in the cocoon of safety, daydreaming of that potential, other-worldly experience, but only if it can be attained under certain circumstances within our control.

That is the anomaly; change is often desired, but only with certain prescribed and proscribed stipulations within our control.  Unfettered change is to enter into the unknown, and therefore unwanted.

That is why medical conditions which impact one’s daily life is unwanted; not only did we not ask for it, and not only is it a burdensome change which forces one to rethink the course of one’s future; it is an experience into the abyss of the unknown.  It is an unwanted change precisely because it suddenly, and often irreversibly, mandates an alteration of course.

For the Federal and Postal Worker who suffers from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, serious consideration should be given to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  Whether under FERS or CSRS, Federal Disability Retirement is an employment benefit offered to all Federal and Postal employees.

In the midst of turmoil and change, it allows for a return to the landscape of stability by providing for a base annuity, and a change to engage a second, alternative vocation.  Medical conditions are unwanted changes, and the control which one seeks within the turmoil of life is often found by attaining a further change beyond that unwanted one.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

CSRS & FERS Medical Disability Retirement: The Uniqueness of Medical Conditions

In preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application under either FERS or CSRS, there are always unique aspects of particular medical conditions which impact upon specific elements of the positional duties of a Federal or Postal employee.

Thus, for example, shoulder problems (rotator cuff tears; shoulder impingement syndrome, etc.) limits the ability to engage in rotational movements, and specifically restricts overhead lifting, or lifting above shoulder-level, and therefore constrains the ability to perform multiple craft-required duties for the U.S. Postal Service.

Similarly, for psychiatric medical conditions, Major Depression, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Attacks, and similarly oriented psychiatric medical conditions related or on a coordinated spectrum, impact the ability to maintain a sustained analytical perspective and performance of duties.  Thus, for information-based positions (Information Technology Specialist; Budget Analyst; auditors; personnel management duties, etc.), the very cognitive-intensive duties are directly impacted by such uniquely psychiatric conditions.

These examples, however, are merely referential samples, and in no way reflect an exhaustive discussion of how a medical condition impacts a particular kind of job, or the various elements which make up a Federal or Postal job.  

Thus, by way of cross-over example, a person who suffers from shoulder pain can be prevented from performing the essential elements of an information-based administrative job, because of the high distractability of the pain, the inability to take pain medications during work hours because of the sedation it creates, and because of the radiating pain and numbness to one’s extremities, preventing the repetitive type of work on a computer keyboard, etc.

Ultimately, one should never think in terms of a one-to-one ratio or correspondence between a specific medical condition and a particular element of a job.  Crossovers of medical conditions and their impact upon a job are ultimately unique to the individual, and it is the job of the OPM Disability Attorney to properly represent that uniqueness.  

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire