is often the question of whether, during the process of submitting a Federal Disability
Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, can/should one continue to work,
and will such a status reflect negatively or adversely upon one's Federal Disability Retirement
application? The question is a logical one, stemming from the seemingly self-contradictory
nature of the dual assertion -- one which is explicit (the Federal Disability Retirement application
itself, where the Federal or Postal employee
asserts that he or she can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one's job), and the other which is
implied (by continuing to work, does not one undermine the previous assertion?). What
complicates, confuses and muddles the issue further is the fact that, for FERS employees, the Federal Disability Retirement applicant must also file
for Social Security Disability benefits (SSDI), and in order to do so, the requirement of being in a
non-working status in order to qualify, only further confounds the issue. But careful analysis
will reveal that such apparent contradictions are merely superficial ones. Hint: Federal
Disability Retirement merely requires a legal standard
whereby one cannot perform all of the essential elements of one's job; continuation in one's
employment capacity does not necessarily mean that one can perform all of the essential elements of
one's positional duties; rather, it means merely that there are certain
elements which cannot be performed. Further, with respect to the intersecting issue of SSDI,
there is a distinction to be made between qualifying and filing. Life's
contradictions are often merely surface-intersections between technical word-games. Once the
verbiage confusion is resolved, the conflict itself dissolves. It is sort of like the
difference between reading about a man falling off of a cliff, and actually being a tourist at the
Grand Canyon and being the subject of a news story the next day.
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