The Applicant’s Statement of Disability is a very personal statement; that is precisely why when I take on cases at the Second (Reconsideration) Stage, or at the Third (Merit Systems Protection Board) Stage, I have an opportunity to read heart-felt, personal, and very “emotional” statements written by the individual applicant. This is not to be negatively critical of such statements — such personal, emotionally-charged statements can be very effective. On the other hand, it is precisely because the Applicant who writes such a statement — about his or her own personal engagement and experience of the disability — that he or she is unable to provide an objective perspective. It is very difficult to “stand outside” of one’s self and write about one’s self. Again, this is not a negative criticism — it is simply what it is. As an aside, I have had many of my clients who read my interpretive statement of disability, which I craft based upon multiple sources (i.e., by speaking to the client; by having my client fill out a short questionnaire; by reading the medical reports and records, etc.), who tell me later that, yes, the statement of disability accurately reflected their state of medical disability, and further, that it made him or her realize for the first time how “bad off” they were. It takes a perspective of objectivity to creatively — and accurately — depict one’s own medical disability and the impact of such disability upon one’s life. For this, a third party — often an attorney — is needed.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire