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Disability Retirement

The federal government allows employees who are unable to work to retire under a disability retirement. It is in the best interest of both employees and the federal government for employees to remain gainfully employed in their current grade or pay level, as long as they can provide useful and efficient service without endangering themselves, others or government property.
Disability retirement should be the very last option and should be used only when attempts have been made to preserve an individual's employment, and those attempts have failed.

Order our Disability Retirement guide to educate yourself on the rules and regulations concerning disability retirement for federal employees.

To read today's top news stories on federal employee pay, benefits, retirement, job rights and other workplace issues visit FederalDaily.com.
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#1 Posted : Friday, March 6, 2009 9:22:04 PM(UTC)

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hello - new to these boards. I have 33 yrs CSRS service but am only 51. Have reoccurance of cancer, this time stage 4. I am also on many meds which make me dizzy and tired as well as having severe neuropothy in hands/feet which make typing and walking difficult. Any insight into my chances for a medical and hints on how to proceed. Thanks in advance.
#2 Posted : Friday, March 6, 2009 10:20:53 PM(UTC)

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a few horror stories about the disability retirement process.

But, none of them ever involved a Stage 4 cancer case.

If you indeed are stage four, you probably will get approved without too much trouble. Just be sure your physician writes the report indicating that such is the case.
#3 Posted : Saturday, March 7, 2009 11:58:13 AM(UTC)

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Jill how much longer do you want to hang on?? File the paperwork and at worst take LWOP until your benefits catch up. It appears that you have a real fight on your hands and you need to focus on that 100%. The money and benefits will be there in the near term but you may not be.
#4 Posted : Wednesday, March 11, 2009 4:59:21 AM(UTC)

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For people who is going to be “around” for a good while and therefore have many years of retirement to enjoy, I usually advice to hire the best attorney they can find for federal disability retirement. While this advice is the most prudent for the far majority of the cases, in this particular case of yours, I’d like to talk about a better lawyer and a better retirement system.

In this forum, I usually don’t like to mix Postal and Federal issues with my religious beliefs. I try to express my faith in other specialty forums where I know that at least people can expect me to talk about my religious views. But in this case, you are not really giving me much of a choice. I really see myself bearing a huge responsibility in here; that is, responsibility combined with an opportunity that I just can’t afford to waste.

I must admit I saw this post a few nights ago, and I had all the intentions of the world to answer right away, but then my son tried to watch his cartoon videos of my computer, and that reminded me that it was bed time for everybody. This afforded me more time to pray and more time to think about what to say here (although I hope it’s not me who really talks here). Last night too, I tried to add a comment, but my Mediacom Internet connection was interrupted in the area where I live.

Although this email is for you Jill, I know there are many people here in this forum with situations very similar to yours; so this message is for you and for everybody who would like to read it.

Being 51 years old and with 33 years of service, I can see you was only 18 years old when you first started to work for Uncle Sam. Thousands of moons ago, when I was still a Postal worker, I met another person with a similar record, David, and to tell you the truth I felt a little envy against him.

I had started to work at the Post Office when I was approximately 29 years old, and it didn’t take much to figure out that Dave was going to get better retirement than I thought I was going to have, and for many years I thought that maybe I should have started to work earlier, perhaps when I was also 18 years old. Dave’s TSP balance was over 300 grand (he once shared with me), and from what I can remember, in that time mine was definitely below the 40 thousands.

However, one day, for circumstances too long to describe here, I found myself unemployed and with a severe disability. My closest relatives (besides my then-7 yo son) lived thousands of miles away from me, and they were with scarce possibilities to help anyway. This is the moment when I raised my eyes to heaven and I promised to God that if He’d help me, I will rectify my ways and serve Him for the rest of my earthly life.

To make a long story short (as if this was really possible), the Lord then sent me to find the right people to help me in just about every legal area I needed help, from unemployment benefits to OPM disability retirement. I won every single case except one, that is, the EEOC complain I had against my former supervisors and the Postal Service.

Why I didn’t win the EEO case? I really don’t know. However, now I suspect that I found the answer years later when I read an article that in certain circumstances, you can lose your OPM disability retirement benefits if you have certain “earned” income. And in at least the federal EEOC case I read, this person lost that benefit because he had “earned” income also from the Postal Service.

Now this is not truth for every single case (I checked with the OPM attorney who helped me to win my disability retirement case recently), but I just feel my case was very similar to this man’s story in the article.

On the other hand, when you are under severe stress –you just don’t think right– and I think this happened to me because I never was going to get more than 20 grand in lost income because I was already receiving other benefits and annuities (I had unemployment state benefits, SSAI, OPM disability retirement and Schedule Award). Plus if the article was right, had I won the EEOC case I was going to lose the OPM disability annuities.

So I guess that God knew that all the stress of handling a very complex EEO case was not worth the time. Besides, by then, I didn’t have that much resentment anymore –resentment or bitterness that initially fueled my willingness to take a strong action against my former supervisors.

Now I can sincerely say that my life is much more fulfilled than never before. Not just because I’m on disability retirement (I try to keep myself busy in other activities as much as my body would allow), but because I really know I have Jesus in my heart.

What about Dave? To tell you the truth, I now feel sorry for him. And I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but the truth is that I can still remember seeing in his eyes how unhappy he was in that Postal job. That is the most simplistic way to explain his unhappiness (this post is not about Dave) but not the most accurate explanation. I really believe that there are many more deep-rooted spiritual reasons.

With the years, Dave had become a very grumpy, unhappy man. Anything and everything bothered him. Sometimes he was right –supervisors would harass many people– but sometimes there appeared not to exist any logical explanation, or at least not an obvious reason for me to see in that time. By now I know that he still have to spend at least ten more years working under these conditions, and unless he repents, he will be also spending an eternity in the lake of fire.

Why am I telling you all these things? Because I see hope for you. You see, we are here in this world for a purpose only, that is, to be tested. There is a much better world for us up there. So even if you feel that you are at the end of your life, you are REALLY only at the BEGINNING of your ETERNAL life. What we do here on earth determines where we will be going in the future. There are only two places we can go after this life, hell and heaven. This is so truth (or as Jesus would say two thousand of years ago “I assure you”).

So in these difficult days, I would strongly encourage you to seek the help and consolation of God, Who through his Son Jesus, gave us the gift of eternal life. Don’t worry about the fact that you have spent almost all your life working for a better tomorrow, an earthly tomorrow that won’t be there. Worry about eternal life, and He who can give it to you.

You don’t have to read the whole Bible to earn your salvation; you only have to accept Jesus in your heart in order to be saved.

Don’t worry if you feel that you wasted your whole life working for an institution that now doesn’t appreciate you or working with people who now probably feel sorry for you. If you accept Jesus in your heart, you’ll know their fate too, that is, unless they and the whole humanity repent, they all will end up in the lake of fire.

This is so truth!

All you have to do is to open your heart to God and repeat a very simple pray:
“God, please enter in my life. I know I’m a sinner. I ask you for your forgiveness. I know now that your son Jesus Christ died for me in the cross, and that you Father revived him three days later. I confess with my mouth and so I will also confess to all the people I know that Jesus is the Lord, that Jesus is your Son. Today heavenly Father, I give You my heart, my soul, my mind, my strength –everything to you, o God. In the name of Jesus I give you all my whole being, my soul and body to you Father. Amen.”

Now if you have repeated the most important prayer of your life (if not the first prayer ever), I’d recommend you to go to a church, if you can physically do so, and talk to a pastor. I go to a Christian and Missionary Alliance church, so I’d recommend this particular church to you.

Also, read the Bible as much as you can, but please make sure you pray before reading it. You may start with Matthew or John, and from there you can go on.

If you’d like to watch TV, there are not really many good Christian channels up there (most of them show ministers that just want your money), but with some reservations I’d recommend TCT (channel 377 in DirectTV). I’d recommend most programs in that channel except the one featured “Ask the Pastor”. This is because during this show you will hear ministers that unfortunately not always give the right answer.

Jesus warned us about many christs and many prophets that will try to deceive, if possible, even the chosen ones. So the only real, safe source of God’s Word is the Holly Bible (either King James or NIV is OK).

God bless you!
#5 Posted : Wednesday, March 11, 2009 8:08:44 AM(UTC)

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Jill I feel for you, I too have Stage 4 "Get your affairs in order" cancer. I am only 38 (see my post here "don't know when or what to do" for details). I fought agaist disability hard, I wanted to work, I wanted my carreer, **** it I will live and I want my job! Well I am still living, but had to face the fact that I just can't work as a mailman anymore. It was hard to accept, but yes your case most likely warrants disability. I am still in the process of paperwork with OPM, but I can tell you That Social Sec. understands the urgency of certain situations. I was approved in 20 days with back pay to the date of my first day off work (minus the standard 5 month waiting period.) Now as far as the whole God thing, I have no idea of your beliefs. I personally have no use for the great all powerful unseen thing in the sky, and one of the most painful things is some (well thinking) dumb*** telling you that accepting the lord will heal you. I just say thank you for the good wishes.
Donald MacLeod  
#6 Posted : Wednesday, May 6, 2009 10:51:33 PM(UTC)

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Hey Jill…

I’m 48 with 26 years under CSRS, currently 4 years dealing with colon cancer and receiving stage IV palliative care. If I had an imaginary friend that disrupted work the disability guidance I’ve received would make sense.

What I was hoping for was a dignified agreement that would sustain my mission contribution & salary based life insurance to a planned retire on disability date. Such a goal orientated plan would have helped keep me focused and motivated.

What seems my family’s best option now has me showing up and burning through my, exceeds the prognoses, leave balance until I become that disruptive and delusional problem employee that better fits the disability guidance.

#7 Posted : Friday, May 8, 2009 1:05:43 AM(UTC)

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Have a meeting with HR and your supervisor, write out what you would like, as your ideal situation, and then ask for their feed back. I would bring whatever medical documentation you have to this meeting. Best Wishes.
Donald MacLeod  
#8 Posted : Tuesday, June 16, 2009 3:53:04 AM(UTC)

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Originally posted by mickey12:
Have a meeting with HR and your supervisor, write out what you would like, as your ideal situation, and then ask for their feed back. I would bring whatever medical documentation you have to this meeting. Best Wishes.

Talking to HR doesn’t work very well; twice I’ve received and well sorted folder of the same OPM pamphlets and then shortly there a “please welcome” notice for yet another young HR specialist replacement. It seems all our HR career professionals with any practical knowledge have already retired. Specific questions are now more likely to get a web address then an answer. My supervisor defers to HR.

A more ideal arrangement would define an approved disability retirement date. It would be within reach of my already earned leave benefits. We could then plan a transition path to that milestone. It would facilitate knowledge transfer while helping to better focus and prioritize my increasingly limited mission contributions.

Retirement, disability or not, seems preset to trough away knowledge and validate my growing notions that OPM values a butt in a chair over experience, is governed by rules that favor active avoidance rather then reasoned solves and is debilitated by fear of innovation.

Even after four years with cancer, I still carry an earned sick leave balance of 217 days. Inevitably I will file for disability but once the paper work is accepted a part of what defines my self-worth ends and the earned benefits for my family are adversely, almost vindictively from my prospective, adjusted. In the absence of a more dignified plan I will put off submitting the disability paper work till I’m down to my last 3 months of sick leave.

Thanks for listening
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