OPM FERS/CSRS Disability Retirement: To Whom Do We Owe Our Allegiance?

Whether allegiances are formed by a natural predisposition to an innate need to “belong”; or, as human beings are essentially social animals with a historical essence embracing a herd-mentality, it is a natural component within the personality, characteristic, and in-born psyche of our society that we crave a macro-personality above and beyond the micro-being of our individualism.

We give our allegiances freely, without thought, and with nary a price to be paid.  It happens naturally, within the context of our personal lives, our families, friendships, and in the employment arena.  One enters into a position, and before one is even aware of the potential consequences and pitfalls, you are deemed to be part of “that group”, under the mentorship of X, or suspected of surrendering your fealty to a particular management.

For Federal and Postal employees, whether under FERS or CSRS, such unthinking loyalty occurs almost immediately upon entering the Federal sector and workforce.  But one quickly learns that such mindless fealty is a unilateral embracing of an age-old puzzle: of what benefit does one accrue, and how strong is the fealty when tested?

The Federal and Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts one’s ability to perform the essential elements of one’s job, quickly finds that “loyalty” to the organization is a unilateral concept, and never bilateral, where the agency owes anything back to the individual Federal or Postal employee.

That is when one begins to ask the question:  To whom, and for what, do I owe such unwavering loyalty?  It is only when this question is asked, that the Federal or Postal employee begins to look out for his or her own best interests.  Federal Disability Retirement benefits are available for those who find that the loyalty once relied upon is merely an empty chasm of broken promises and returned emotional items of defective goods; and the herd which once appeared to protect, is acting suspiciously like a predator in waiting.

For the Federal or Postal Worker, whether under FERS or CSRS, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is not a violation of one’s fealty to the agency; such blind loyalty, one must understand, never existed, except in the creative mind of a bureaucracy which dresses in wolf’s clothing in order to lure one into the trap of self-immolation.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: Agency Procedures

It is an argument which cannot be won, and one which is avoided, if possible, but nevertheless I find myself engaged in from time to time.  It is the argument of one’s historical background, and whether one has the viable power to justify the improper action (or inaction), and it goes something like this:  “The Agency requires that…”   Response:  “Yes, but that is not what the Office of Personnel Management requires, and it is OPM who is the final arbiter in the matter.”  “Well, that may be, Mr. ___, but I have been doing this for over 10 years and that’s the way it’s always been done.”  Response:  “Well, I have been doing this for over ___”   “We are just trying to help.”  Beware of the “helpful” agency.  

In filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS, if an individual has not been separated from Federal Service for more than thirty one (31) days, the entire packet must go through the Federal Agency for which the applicant is working or was working.  Even if the separation occurred over 31 days prior to the filing, certain Standard Forms must be obtained from the former agency.  In “dealing” with the Agency, one often gets into the “back-and-forth” game of how a certain procedure needs to be followed, and that is when the childish playground game of “who has the greater historical experience” is often engaged in.  At bottom, it all comes down to a power game.  It is best to avoid it.  It is best to be courteous and civil.  But when the Human Resources person says, “I’m just trying to be helpful,” beware.  You have probably just lost the game.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire