Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: The realization

In most cases, it is not as dramatic a moment as we all tend to think; it is rarely “The X”, as in the penultimate juncture of enlightenment where the “The” is prefatory to the noun, as opposed to a more general article such as, “A realization” — meaning, one among others, or just another one amidst many.

Most such moments are not “Aha” ones, where there is a sudden and profound revelation, like the proverbial Road to Damascus experience or the Gestalt shift in thinking.  Instead, the realization of X is more often than not subtle, incremental and a slow progression towards an acknowledgment, observable and quantifiable over a period of many months or years.  Whether we make it into a momentous period, a critical juncture in our lives, or as one of many tokens of change often depends upon how we view each segment that results in a modification of a life judged in its totality.

Aristotle’s belief is that a person’s life cannot be fully evaluated until much later in life.  Indeed, what do we make about a person’s career, reputation and overall “life” when a critical mistake is made at the beginning — say, in the early years of youth when one is more susceptible to the vicissitudes of emotional upheavals and pursuance of desires without thought?  Or, of the fool who, in old age, does something similarly rash?  Do we make an evaluation at the eulogy and excuse the one bad bit?

Something like, “Now, we all knew X.  He was a great man.  He had, of course, that one incident, but …”.  Is it better to have the negative incident occur early in life so that you can rectify and redeem for the remainder?  Or, is it more acceptable and palatable to live an exemplary life, then commit an error in later life so that you can excuse it as the “folly of age”?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal employee’s job and duties, “the realization” that something has to change will mostly come about over a period of time — incrementally, perhaps even subtly, and then one day there is a determination that has to be made that priorities of life need to be reordered and modifications to a life of struggle necessitates modifications.

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is the necessary next step after such a realization.  Preparing, formulating and filing an effective OPM Disability Retirement application is the natural course of events once the Federal or Postal employee recognizes that change must occur.

Consulting with an experienced attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law is also a good next step — for that points to the realization that not all things in the universe are known, and some things may need some further guidance in pursuit of a gargantuan effort required to go up against a behemoth of a bureaucracy — OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

How much OPM Disability Retirement Pays?

“What will the benefit pay?”  That is often the primary concern of a Federal or Postal employee who must consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), and it is certainly a valid first question.

The greater concern that cannot be overlooked, however, is the one that involves calculating the cost of NOT filing.  In the end, those Federal and Postal employees who must consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits have three fundamental options: Stay put; resign and do nothing (or wait for termination/separation proceedings to occur, which amounts to the same thing); or file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS.

The benefit of a Federal Disability Retirement annuity is quite simply calculated as 60% of the average of one’s highest three consecutive years of service for the first year (offset by 100% of any Social Security Disability benefits received during the concurrent payments received) and 40% of the average every year thereafter (offset by 60% of any Social Security Disability payments received during those years), until age 62, at which point the Federal Disability annuity is recalculated as “regular retirement” based upon the total number of years of Federal Service, including the time that the disability retiree has been on Federal Disability Retirement.

Thus, the “greater” benefit in calculating the cost has to take into account the fact that one is actually “building up” one’s own retirement by the years one stays on disability retirement — for, those very years that you are receiving a disability retirement annuity count towards the total number of years of Federal Service when it is recalculated as “regular” retirement at the age of 62.

Yes, it is true that on the cost/benefit ledger that one should review before filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, you need to take into account the lesser income and the lengthy bureaucratic process that must be engaged, but you should also never forget what the originating basis for considering such filing compelled the consideration in the first place: Your health.

Calculating the cost of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits too often places the emphasis on what is lost — in terms of monetary gain and loss, etc.  But in calculating the cost of filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted and considered to and by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the primary issue involves one’s deteriorating health and whether you can continue to remain in a job which has clearly become inconsistent with the medical conditions one is suffering from.

In the end, calculating the cost must go beyond the lessening of income; it must calculate the cost of one’s health, which is the single greatest asset one possesses.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Early Retirement from Federal Job due to Disabilities: Setting up the Contingency for Failure

We all engage in it, at times; and like the vertical clearance events, like the high jump, the measurement of the horizontal bar can make a difference by fractions of inches or centimeters, and where we place the bar will determine the outcome of failure or success.  “If X, then Y,” we whisper to ourselves daily; “If I am able to get through this day, then it shows that I am better, and…”

But medical conditions, especially, have an unique characteristic of skewing and distorting the predictable outcome; and, further, when human desire, unfettered by comparative milestones used as “reality checks” in order to keep contained the buoyancy of human wants, becomes part of the equation, the systematic self-deception can occur through setting up contingencies which will inevitably fail.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts the ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, the issue of “when” to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (submitted first through one’s own agency Human Resource Office if not yet separated from Federal Service or, if separated, not for more than 31 days; but if separated, within 1 year of being separated from service, which is the Statute of Limitations in all Federal Disability Retirement cases, with some stringent and narrow exceptions) has often been influenced by the imposition of setting up multiple and linear series of contingencies, all of which were doomed for failure.

That is why the very filing of a Federal Disability Retirement application often becomes a “crisis” of sorts; for, as we desire things beyond our reach, and know that such events are unlikely to happen, so we continually engage in such fantasies of hope, despite the facts which face us, the yearnings which remain unfulfilled, and the loud signals which have become sirens emitted from our bodies and inner souls, screaming to change course before the collision of life’s disaster brings tumult and chaos beyond the nightmares of our own making.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement from OPM: Identity Crisis

It is how we view ourselves as one entity among others; where the I-Thou relationship corresponds to the perspective we have of ourselves, of others, and within the micro and macro-communities we engage and with which we interact.  Who we are; how we see ourselves; what constitutes value and worth; whether productivity is defined merely by the volume of paperwork shuffled, or in the manufacturing of items shipped to far-off places; and the constancy of eyes which discern the essence of a person’s place in society.  One’s identity is intimately and intangibly intertwined with one’s job, profession and vocation of choice — or where one simply “fell into” the morass of growing from teenager to adulthood.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who begin to suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts one’s livelihood, the vocation one has aspired to for the past few years, decades, and throughout one’s lifetime; or for the Postal worker and Federal employee who have viewed the position as merely a “pass-through” job in order to obtain certain credentials and qualifying clearances; in either cases, when a medical condition begins to prevent one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, there often erupts a crisis of identity, precisely because of the intimacy between one’s health and one’s capacity and ability to work.

The proverbial “identity crisis” occurs precisely because of the intersection between the tripartite conditions which society has placed with a burden of chaotic rationale:  Who we are; What we do; Our value tied to productivity and “doing”.  Where health begins to deteriorate, the ability and capacity to remain “productive” diminishes; regression of “doing” reduces one’s market value in a society which idolizes comparative worth; and as what we do becomes less valuable, who we are shrinks in the eyes of the macroeconomic stratosphere of societal valuation.

Time to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  For, when the Federal or Postal employee begins to embrace the identity crisis of this vast bureaucracy of the Federal sector or the U.S. Postal Service, it is time to move on.

“Moving on” is to simply accept the devaluation system of monetary policy of the Federal agency and the U.S. Postal Service; but it is the personal identity crisis which must always be dealt with, and for the Federal or Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact one’s perspective of self-worth, it is time to exit from the abyss of deterioration, and take the positive and affirmative step by preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Blowing in the Wind

Of course, the reference recognized unmasks the age or generation from whence one comes, and the formal wording without the apostrophe is to allow spellcheck a rest and curtail the red underline.  It is the 1962 Dylan song, representing questions unanswered, answers made complex by society, and sought-after refrains which defy conformity.

Where is the answer to be found, and what can the wind represent?  Can Cliffs Notes Study Guides provide for a true education?  Or like chimpanzees in a beauty contest besides kids of comparable intelligence, is it merely regurgitation of rote memory, or some semblance of sociological dementia?  As the wind is ungraspable, and embraces and engulfs voices shouting and demanding, so the questions asked and the answers given are as ephemeral as the shifting streams of consciousness.

Nature has a way of humbling, of letting us know that though we aspire to become angels who can fly with knowledge and necromancy, with waving wands and cauldrons of witch’s brew in feeble attempts of arrogance and self-puffing, the reality is that our knowledge is limited, our capacity for growth is stunted, and the self-imposed mediocrity we generally follow reflects the tiredness of a man’s soul.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition is beginning to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, questions always abound, and answers sought are often disjointed and contradictory.

If there is an area of knowledge which needs to be precise, it is of “the law”, as people rely upon information certainty, and lack of knowledge and answers which blow in the wind merely confuse and confound.  The test of reliance should always be based upon a systematic history of sound judgment and accurate discourse.  Does the source provide reliable information?  Does it appear cogent, comprehensive and of common sense?

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, can be a daunting first step, for it means a change in one’s life, a step into another direction, and a leap of faith for an uncertain future.  There will always be questions to be answered, but one should never consider demanding answers to those queries via Dylan’s methodology of asking the shiftings winds of Nature, but by searching out a reliable source in this indeterminate universe of questions asked, and answers unforgiven.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire