OPM Disability Retirement: The Pre-planned Life

Planning is part of our culture; from birth, to plan for old age; from the first entrance into a career, to consider the options for retirement funding; from the days of schooling, to determine the course of one’s career; and multiple intermediate pre-planning considerations, often mundane in nature, such as what to eat for dinner, how many children to have, where to live, etc.  Whether animals plan for the day, and to what extent, may be debated; what cannot be disputed is the extent and complexity in comparison to the pre-planning engaged in by Man.

But life rarely follows along the neat and uninterrupted course of a plan determined days, months or years prior; instead, the hiccups of life are what make for interesting interludes of unexpected turns and twists.  The proverbial nest egg may not have developed as quickly; one’s expectations of career goals may not have blossomed; a child may have come unplanned; or a lost puppy may have appeared at one’s doorstep.

Medical conditions are somewhat like those interruptions of interludes; they may not be as pleasant as some other hiccups, but they are realities which people have to deal with.

For Federal and Postal employees who find themselves in a situation where medical conditions prevent them from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, it is important to undertake two preliminary steps:  An assessment of the medical condition and whether it is likely to resolve within a year or less; if not, to investigate and become informed about Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS.

One of the elements which must be shown is that one’s medical condition will last a minimum of 12 months.  This can normally be easily accomplished by a doctor who can provide a prognosis fairly early on in the process.

And perhaps a third step:  A recognition that lives rarely travel along a pre-planned route, no matter what you were taught to believe, and more than that, that the value of one’s life should not be reflected by veering into the unknown.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Worker Disability Retirement: Oh, but That Youthful Sense of Invincibility

In the beginning, that sense of potentiality was seemingly endless; while the actual constraints, whether based upon one’s own educational or intellectual limitations, or perhaps that proverbial glass ceiling of nepotism, favoritism, or exclusivity of previously-formed bonds and relationships; but ignorance can indeed be blissful, and youthful vigor and enthusiasm makes up for that lack of reality-based experience which transforms us all into crusty old men of cynical negations floating in a universe of perverse ill-will.

The world was full of hope and opportunity, and nothing could stop that bundle of positive energy, naive anticipation, and future-oriented and exhaustive optimism. Even health was of no concern.  Disabilities?  Nary a thought.  Inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job?  Not to be considered, for youthful vigor and unbounded energy could not contain the late hours and extra, unpaid dedication reflecting loyalty and meticulousness of purpose.

But at some point the reality of the human condition prevails upon us all, and the limitations of the human body, the frailty of one’s psyche after years of abuse, deliberate attacks and unfettered stresses — they take their toll. Time marches unperturbed, but the response of the human body, mind and soul is one of deterioration and decay.

Did that youth consider what benefits were part of the compensation package? Not initially. But later, Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS, can become an important discovery for those who are beset with a medical condition which prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job.

It applies to all Federal and Postal employees, whether under FERS or CSRS, and is ultimately decided upon by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  While such considerations may not have been thought of in one’s youth, such naive indiscretions are fortunately forgivable, and despite such thoughtlessness, the availability remains for all Federal and Postal employees to consider the option of Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: Close Encounters of the Third Kind

The title reference, of course, is to the old Spielberg film concerning contact with an alien being; but such a remote, rare and unique experience need not be with an entity from another galaxy or planet, but can be closer to home.

Most people will never need to experience engagement with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, OPM Division of Disability, Reconsiderations and Appeals, in order to apply for Federal Disability Retirement benefits (whether under FERS or CSRS), leaving aside having to file an appeal to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.

But when the Federal or Postal employee finds him/herself in such a unique situation such that contact with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management or the MSPB becomes necessary, such an experience will be as peculiar and strange an an encounter of the “third kind”.  Moreover, the experience itself may be an unwanted and unpleasant one, because it is something accomplished and pursued while experiencing a personal crisis involving a medical condition.

The encounter itself — however strange, unpleasant or unwanted — nevertheless is a reality which must be dealt with, and in so doing, it should be done in as efficient a manner as possible.

In an initial encounter with an alien being, one would assume that there might be some trepidation and reluctance, mixed with a great amount of suspicion.  That would be natural.  In a similar encounter with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, it is best to also have a healthy dose of skepticism; better yet, you might want to contact an expert who has had some past experience in dealing with the entity.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire