Of course, when a person begins his or her career with the Federal Government, the consideration of a Federal Disability Retirement benefit does not enter into the equation of accepting the position. Most Federal and Postal workers would rather work and be healthy, than to resort to preparing and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.
Indeed, the problem with Federal and Postal workers is not that the option of Federal Disability Retirement is considered or taken; rather, the problem lies more in the fact that it is an option of last resort — which is probably how it should be, however necessary such an option must be for many Federal and Postal Workers. But at some point in the linear continuum of a person’s career, where health and work collide and one must make a choice between the two, it is too often the case that the Federal or Postal worker has passed the point of “reasonableness” in preparing and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.
It is rare that it is ever “too late” to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits (unless we are talking about missing the Statute of Limitations in filing); but most Federal and Postal workers, whether from a sense of duty, commitment, or sheer stubbornness, will work beyond the point of a well-reasoned and informed state of health or self-preservation. But however and whenever that point of finally choosing the path of preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, comes about, one should prepare one’s case carefully; formulate the disability retirement application with care and foresight; and file it in a timely manner.
When the time comes, and the path to a recuperative period of one’s life is finally considered, it should be done “right” — as much as one has invested in the effort of work itself throughout one’s career.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire