Medical Retirement Benefits for US Government Employees: Dog-like Loyalty

It is of the old adage — of the dog which refuses to bite the hand which feeds him.  It is only the human animal which betrays the adage; but, then, that is part of the point of the saying, and the recognition of the perversity of man.

It is thus not a wonder that Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, remain unilaterally loyal to their agencies, despite sufficient evidence to the contrary and which would easily justify acting in a disloyal manner.  Years of toil and doing extra work without asking for anything in return will not result in empathetic treatment by an agency when the Federal or Postal worker requires such extraordinary treatment during a medical crisis; and when the surprised Federal employee becomes aghast at the reactionary irrationality of the agency, those of a cynical nature will often respond, “What did you expect”?

But the adverse nature of how an agency reacts when its employee files for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, is really the flip-side of the same coin:  the Federal or Postal worker acts like the loyal dog; the agency acts like the hand-biting dog.  It is the inherent nature of the complex make-up of the human animal which allows for such contradictory reactions.  Or, perhaps not — it may be just as simple an explanation that there are bad people in the world, and those who expect goodness from human nature will normally be sorely disappointed.

That is why when an agency provides for unexpected level of support during the process of a Federal or Postal Disability Retirement application, we react with such gratitude and surprise because of the exceptional nature of such a response.

One indicator that is fairly reliable, of course, is the wagging of the tail — unless, of course, it is the tail wagging the dog; but that is another adage altogether, for another time.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement: Conversely, the Roles to Perform

Speaking extemporaneously, or in an impromptu manner, can have dangerous consequences, precisely because it diverges from a prepared text or speech.  Comfort zones define most people.  For government agencies and Federal bureaucracies, there are “Standard Operating Procedures”, and in some ways, to adhere to an SOP provides for a fair application of a “one size fits all” approach, thereby preventing allegations of favoritism, actions tantamount to insider trading, or cronyism.

Agencies and organizations tend to react in predictable ways.  Because of such predictability, Federal and Postal employees who have had a “good” relationship with one’s supervisor or manager will often make the mistake that, in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, such a positive relationship will continue even after informing the agency that one will, has, or intends to, file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

But the mistake in making such an assumption is that the relationship itself necessarily contains an implicitly conditional factor:  continuation of work which benefits the supervisor or manager through a positive reflection of performance, with a greater reflection of good upon the agency as a whole.  Once that conditional element is neutralized, the benefit to the supervisor and the agency is negated, and the relationship itself becomes unnecessary, null and void.  Adversity begins to appear.  Animosity, contention and suspicion abounds.

Federal Disability Retirement by the Federal or Postal employee must be viewed as a medical necessity for the individual; but for the agency, it is like the man who attempts an impromptu remark, and finds that an action outside of the bounds of a standard operating procedure has been disallowed; it’s just that no one told me so.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire