Federal Disability Retirement Attorney: Doldrums

It is an actual pocket of calm in areas of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, where maritime sailors dreaded in days of yore because they presented calm and quietude when the necessity for winds to power the sails of movement suddenly died and disappeared.  One could be trapped for weeks, and sometimes months, when the doldrums hit.

In modern vernacular, of course, they represent a parallel metaphor — of that state of emotional inactivity and rut of life, where melancholy and gloominess overwhelms.  Sometimes, such despair and despondency is purely an internal condition; other times, it is contributed by circumstances of personal or professional environment.

For the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal Worker who suffers from the former because of a medical condition which leads to a state of dysphoria, the need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits often commingles with the latter, precisely because the internal and external are inevitably interconnected.  The emotional doldrums become exacerbated by the toxic environment engendered and propagated by reactions engaged in by the agency; and the continuing effect becomes a further cause because of the hostility shown and heightened actions proposed.

How does one escape the doldrums of stale despair?  For the mariner whose power depended upon the winds of change, waiting for altered conditions was the only avenue of hope; for the Federal or Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition presents a doldrum of another sort, taking affirmative steps by preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is the primary and most effective manner for efficacious change.

Sitting around helplessly like a victim of the vicissitudes of life may have been the way of past responses; for the Federal and Postal employee of modernity, we have greater control over the destiny of one’s future, but to utilize the tools of change requires action beyond mere reflection upon the doldrums of life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: The 1-Year Rule

Periodically, I remind everyone of the various “1-year” rules which govern Federal Disability Retirement issues under FERS & CSRS.  Since there are multiple applications of the 1-year rule, there is often a confusion which is still prevalent and ongoing.  Thus, here are some clarifications:  You must file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS either while in the employment of a Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service, or within 1-year of being separated from Federal Service

There are a couple of exceptions to this 1-year rule:  If you are found to be incompetent, you may be able to get a waiver from the Office of Personnel Management, but this is extremely rare and difficult to obtain.  Another exception, however, is found in the U.S. Court of Appeals case of Johnston v. OPM, where the Court found that if a person was removed for apparent medical reasons, but was never notified by the Agency, then the 1-year rule may be waived (this often happens to Federal and Postal employees who have been on OWCP for many years, and are forgotten and never informed of an initiation of an SF 50 separating him or her from Federal or Postal Service). 

The 1-year rule should not be confused with:  One’s medical condition needs to last for a minimum of 1 year (but this does not mean that you need to wait a year before filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits; rather, it merely means that your doctor expects that your medical condition will last for a minimum of 12 months).  I hope that this clarfies any confusions, and further, that it serves as a reminder to anyone who is contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Attorney

OPM Disability Retirement: Years Later, Still On the Rolls of the Agency

The Postal Service is especially guilty of this, but many other Federal (non-Postal) agencies are also “negligent” on the issue of keeping an injured worker on the rolls for years on end.

Often, such “non-existent” Federal and Postal workers receive OWCP payments, or simply go on with their lives while unofficially still a Federal or Postal employee.  Never having been separated from Federal or Postal service, such individuals are still eligible for filing Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS because the 1-year statute of limitations has not been violated.

So long as a Federal or Postal employee files for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS within one year of being separated from service, you have met the statute of limitations.  If you were never officially separated from service, then your 1-year deadline never began.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire