How to determine when is the “right” time to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS & CSRS, and when is the right time — those are issues which are quite personal and peculiar to each individual case. Unfortunately, it is the very inherent nature of medical conditions, medical disabilities, and the chronic & debilitating symptoms that accompany such conditions, combined with the strong sense of loyalty, commitment to duty, and the desire to continue to believe that a Federal or Postal worker will overcome the current condition of disability — that often prevents a person to come to the critical point of determining the “right time”. And, to put it in its proper perspective, this is probably a good thing, insofar as being a reflection upon the character of most individuals.
Most individuals have a strong sense of commitment and hard work, and most want to continue to believe that one’s condition of medical disability is merely a temporary state of affairs. But when such loyalty and commitment comes at the price of one’s personal detriment, it becomes a negative thing. The problem comes when all of the objective indicators are ignored — when sick and annual leave are being depleted; when excessive LWOP is taken; when performance at work clearly suffers; when each night and weekend are used to recuperate from the day’s work; when savings become depleted; when a sense of desperation sets in. Then, when it comes time to make the decision, it becomes an emergency. At that point, while it is not too late to begin the process, it is probably less than the “right time” to have started the process. While better late than never, it is a good thing to take affirmative control of one’s future, and not let events control it uncontrollably.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire