Often, a person who is contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS doesn’t know the “right question” to ask in order to make a proper decision. Because a medical condition often leaves a person with daily and profound fatigue (both physical and cognitive), it is enough just to get through the day, come home and attempt to recuperate and regain enough strength to try and make it back to work the next day. Then, of course, there are the financial worries — whether or not the disability annuity will be enough to support a family; whether a person will be able to supplement his or her income with a part-time job in this tough economy; or whether Social Security Disability benefits can be approved and, even with the offset, allow for enough income for some semblence of financial security.
All of these questions — or concerns — are clearly legitimate ones, and provide a good foundation for determining the viability for filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS. But there are others, also: What will happen if you don’t file for disability retirement benefits? Will you be placed on a PIP? Will you receive an unsatisfactory performance rating? Will you last until retirement age? If you last until retirement age, will you have the health necessary to enjoy your retirement? Is it time to start a small business venture in this tough economy, and if so, when the economy begins to recover, will your small business grow with a growing economy? Will your supervisor support your extended absences or over-use of sick leave for much longer? Is the work that is getting backed up placing more pressure on you, such that it is exacerbating your medical condition further? Think through the questions seriously. It may be time to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire