A declaration of the sheer volume of medical evidence submitted is often an indicator of the basis for which a Federal Disability Retirement application was formulated; for, in the end, if reliance of the successful outcome of a Federal Disability Retirement application is expected based upon the longevity and extent of a medical condition, the chances of an initial approval may be somewhat compromised to begin with.
Volume can never replace content; and from the perspective of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, there is often an underlying suspicion that receipt of a thousand pages of medical documentation indicates merely that volume of treatment is being substituted for the substantive content of meeting the required legal standards.
Much of medical notation and treatment records merely reflect a particular appointment’s mechanical applications — continuation of previous treatment plan; refill of prescriptions; standard positive or negative responses to particular questions; prospective treatment modalities; and, as supportive evidence attached to a substantive medical report, they can reinforce the satisfaction of the legal criteria of establishing the necessary nexus between one’s medical condition and the inability to perform the essential elements of one’s job. But left as a replacement for the doctor’s explicit statement confirming such a nexus, it remains a hollow voice within an expansive but empty chamber.
One should never mistake the legal distinction between “primary” evidence and “supportive” evidence. The former is meant to establish the nexus between one’s medical condition and the essential elements of one’s job; the latter is submitted to reinforce the former. When one utilizes the former as the substitute for the latter, it is like the self-delusion that just because you are the best player on a pick-up team in your neighborhood, you are ready to enter into the world of professional sports.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire
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