Often, loss of vigilance occurs as a result of the relief of attaining something; once gotten, the fight to get it suddenly disappears, and the overwhelming sense of relief is likened to the response of a balloon which deflates upon a pinprick. But vigilance is the key to ongoing success. There is never a time to be nonchalant; to attain is merely another step in a process, and that process must be fought for just as diligently as during the time of fighting to reach a goal.
For Federal and Postal workers who are preparing to file, or who are in the process of filing, for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, the goal of getting an approval from OPM for a Federal Disability Retirement is merely an intermediate step. Once attained, the goal is to preserve and to protect. Fortunately, that is a fairly simple matter — one of maintaining regular contact with one’s doctor; of making sure that one’s doctor will continue to support one’s case in the event that the Federal or Postal annuitant receives a medical questionnaire from OPM.
OPM disability retirement is not like OWCP; because you are allowed to work at other employment and make up to 80% of what your former job currently pays, there is normally nothing wrong with engaging in normal activities which would violate any rules (unlike OWCP cases, where investigators will often videotape individuals to show the engagement of activities contrary to medical restrictions, etc.). But let not victory lead to lack of continuing vigilance; as that which was won can only be maintained with an attitude similar to keeping to the path which guided one to achieve the goal in the first place.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire