Postal and Federal Employee Medical Retirement: A Working Paradigm

Most doctors, attorneys, and the general public are familiar with the concept of “disability benefits”, but only in relation to the Social Security Administration.  It is rare that disability benefits are associated with, or are known to exist, separately for Federal employees or the U.S. Postal Service, in relation to a concept which is progressively unique and creatively formulated within a context of a society and a bureaucracy which is not normally know for such characteristics:  a system of disability where the disabled individual is encouraged to seek employment without being penalized for earning income by immediately terminating the disability benefits.

Yes, for Federal and Postal employees, there is the cut-off margin of 80% of what one’s former position currently pays; and, yes, if the private-sector employment is too similar in nature to the positional requirements and essential elements of the former Federal or Postal job, such parallel identity can result in a determination by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management that the former Federal employee or Postal worker is deemed medically recovered; but within those generous parameters, the paradigm upon which Federal Disability Retirement is based, is what can only be described as a “working paradigm”, precisely because, as a system of incentives, it works, and as a practical matter, it encourages Federal and Postal workers to continue to remain productive in the workforce, and to perpetuate a self-paying system, as opposed to the de-incentivized system of Social Security, which has an extremely low threshold of allowable income before terminating benefits.

OPM Disability Retirement is effective precisely because it is a working paradigm — both in a pragmatic sense, and as a metaphorical basis for building a foundation for one’s future, as opposed to being stuck in the rut of an administrative bureaucracy which fails to understand and appreciate the human instinct to remain productive.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Paradigm Shifts and the Federal Employee Disability Retirement System, an Option That Was Always There

Paradigms are meant to shift.  A non-shifting paradigm means that there is an inherent and entrenched belief system which refuses to accommodate changes.  Certain principles can retain such intractable resistance; deeply-held systems based upon historical convention, customs and cultural foundations should never be discarded without a rational basis; but to hold on to a set of beliefs without a foundational methodology of defending the very core of a system, is to merely do something out of habit.  And that is the point, isn’t it?  Actions based upon habit for habit’s sake, are mere thoughtless and unjustified movements.

Work often becomes such an unprovoked endeavor; for, to engage in mindless, repetitive modalities, provides a semblance of security and safeguards.  Then, when a medical condition interrupts one’s life, you begin to miss the mundane.  For Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact one’s capacity to perform the essential elements of one’s job, the yearning for that time before when the monotony of repetitive work provided the assurance of routine and repose, begins to magnify with exponential significance.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS or CSRS, should always be an option.  If one pauses because the paradigm which one operates under has become intractable and entrenched, it is time to consider a paradigm shift.  It is not only in science that paradigm shifts are necessary; and, indeed, Thomas Kuhn’s contribution to the historical perspective of scientific progression has taught us much, both as to disciplines, as well as for individuals.

The shifting of one’s own paradigm may be the first important shift in making a proper decision concerning the preparatory steps in filing for Federal OPM Disability Retirement; and that is the key, both in science, and in one’s own personal life and endeavors.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: The Suspect

Newspaper stories are replete with articles involving scams, dishonesty and crimes of financial improprieties; that is not surprising, given the nature of what constitutes “newsworthiness”.  Fraudulent claims involving disability applications are trumpeted loudly to reveal the disintegration of a system requiring structural integrity.  Of course, no one makes the distinction that such claims of fraud almost always involves the “other” disability system, and not the option available to Federal and Postal employees through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS.

Just as all politicians are lumped together, so the aggregation and broad-painted brushing of anyone receiving a “disability” annuity is to be expected.  But Federal Disability Retirement is a different animal from the “other” disability system, and with good cause:

First, Federal and Postal employees do not file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits until and unless it becomes a necessary option to take.  The general public cannot have it both ways: on the one hand, they complain that Federal and Postal employees have it “easy” with their Federal or Postal jobs; on the other hand, they grumble that receipt of Federal Disability Retirement benefits is taken advantage of by unscrupulous Federal and Postal employees. But if the employment itself is so easy, why would the Federal or Postal Worker take a lesser income by filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits?  The fact is that most Federal and Postal employees work hard, and well beyond their rate of compensation, in furthering the mission of their agency or department; and filing for Federal Disability Retirement is the furthest thing from the mindset of a Federal or Postal employee.

Second, because of the reduction of income accorded by an approved Federal Disability Retirement, many Federal and Postal employees must go out and seek employment in the private sector.  Yes, they can continue to receive the disability annuity so long as they remain under 80% of what the former Federal or Postal position currently pays; and yes, the combination of both the annuity and the employment income can aggregately comprise more than what the former Federal or Postal position was paying; but that is the very attractiveness and intelligence of the incentivized system. It encourages the Federal and Postal Worker to remain productive, and to “pay back” into the system. In essence, it is a self-paying enterprise.

And, Third, because Federal Disability Retirement recognizes that the disability is tied to a particular kind of job, there is very little room for abuse within the system.  One is encouraged to remain productive, and such an incentive allows for the system to remain economically viable.

In these difficult economic times, people are often afraid of considering filing for “disability” benefits; but for Federal and Postal employees who have given their time, life and (often) health in the pursuance of an agency’s mission, being treated like a “suspect” in a broadly-painted indictment is not only unfair, but reprehensible.  The Federal and Postal Worker has nothing to be ashamed about, and the fact that the general public may harbor some hidden resentments during these trying economic times, is merely a reflection upon the often petty nature of humanity, and not a true gauge of the work ethic of Federal and Postal employees throughout the country.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Gov. and USPS Disability Retirement: Adversity and Change

Somehow, the collective and proverbial “we” came to expect that life was easy; that comfort, good health and career advancement was part of the human deal; and that adversity was a circumstance which only people in other nations faced, and from which we would help to show the way out.

But adversity and change have always been an essential element of life; the moment expectations pushed the ‘delete’ button and erased those concepts from commonplace consent, we lost the will to hungrily pursue our dreams through achievement, hard work and purposeful drive.  At the same time, a nation which harbors a self-image of greatness will necessarily create an intelligent paradigm which fosters the collective will of those who are less fortunate, to achieve goals and maintain dreams in the midst of adversity.

That is precisely what Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS, contemplates, for the Federal and Postal employee.  For, under the generous administrative annuity provided, Federal and Postal workers who cannot be fully productive, and who face adversity in all aspects of one’s life — of career stoppage, finances, and workplace animosity — can become eligible for a system of compensation into which one may continue to contribute by seeking a different, second vocation in the private sector.  Or, for those who are too disabled to work, it is tied into the Social Security system, such that SSDI is combined with FERS disability retirement benefits.

It is a progressive paradigm which allows for the collective “we” to pursue the common goals which we have all maintained — of productivity and purposefulness, wedded to compassion and caring.  That, in the end, is how the “I” become a “we” in a society which values civil intercourse.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: The Easter Paradigm

Paradigms which are based upon traditional, historical or religious foundations which have had their efficacy tested by time, have a clear advantage over untested social engineering experiments.

Federal Disability Retirement, whether under FERS or CSRS, from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is a paradigm of recognizing the worth of human productivity, by allowing for payment of an annuity because of a medical condition which prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of a particular job; yet, concurrently, allowing for productivity in working at another job, if desired, and if capable.

Thus, the normal reaction for the public at large is often, “Why should you get anything if you can work at some other job?”  The answer is the recognition of the Easter Paradigm:  death and resurrection are not mutually exclusive concepts; similarly, the fact that one is “disabled” does not mean that one cannot continue to contribute within the context of the workforce, but in a different kind of vocation.

The recuperative period of not being forced to work at a particular kind of job allows for the redemptive result of “rising” in another job.  Worth of a human being is recognized in allowing for a “second” chance.  The historical test of a model which has worked, the Easter Paradigm is one of hope and oriented with a view to the future — however long that may be.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal and Postal Disability Retirement: Embracing Progress toward Better Conditions

Federal Disability Retirement from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is indeed based upon a progressive paradigm.  It not only recognizes that an individual may be disabled from a particular kind of job; but, moreover, it allows and encourages the Federal or Postal employee to plan for the future, and to seek a way of starting a new vocation in a different field, without penalizing the former Federal or Postal employee by taking away the Federal disability annuity.

There are maximum limits to the paradigm — such as the ceiling of earning up to 80% of what one’s former position currently pays. But to be able to earn up to 80% of what one’s former position currently pays, while at the same time retaining the ability to continue to receive the disability annuity, is far different than the paradigm presented under SSDI or OWCP.

Further, because there is a recognition that one’s medical disability is narrowly construed to one’s Federal or Postal position, or any similar job, the restrictions placed upon the “type” of job a Federal or Postal annuitant may seek, is fairly liberally defined.  Yes, both types of positions should not require the identical physical demands if such demands impact the same anatomical basis upon which one’s Federal Disability Retirement benefits were approved for; but, even in such circumstances, one has the right to argue that the extent of repetitive work, if qualitatively differentiated, may allow for a similar position in the private sector.

Compare that to OWCP, where one cannot work at any other job while receiving temporary total disability benefits from the Department of Labor.  Ultimately, Federal Disability Retirement allows for the Federal or Postal employee to plan for the future; and that, in and of itself, is worth its weight in gold.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal and Postal Disability Retirement: The Dependent Society — Not

Most people suffer in silence; if not merely because there is a recognition of limited choices, then for a realization that financial and economic independence is a position to be cherished.  Federal and Postal workers are dedicated to their jobs and careers.  With cries of budgetary cutbacks and reduced allowances for overtime, agencies require Federal and Postal workers to put in longer hours, with little financial or other incentives for rewarding longer hours.

In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, there is sometimes the question of how the Federal or Postal Worker could continue to have a “successful” (or higher) performance rating, yet claim to be unable to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job.  That is actually an easy issue to explain and debunk:  The short answer is that Federal and Postal workers are dedicated to their jobs and careers and suffer silently, and would continue to do so until they drop dead.  But for the benefit of Federal Disability Retirement, the self-destructive dedication of Federal and Postal Workers would result in total incapacitation and debilitation of the Federal and Postal workforce.

Instead, the benefit of Federal Disability Retirement allows for cessation of work from a particular kind of job or career, while at the same time incentivizing the Federal or Postal Worker to go out into the private sector and engage in another vocation, and in essence, “self-pay” back into the system by working productively, paying taxes, etc. It is the most progressive of systems, and unlike other programs and societies of dependency, this particular one involving Federal Disability Retirement is in fact an intelligent approach for the American Worker.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire