The Office of Personnel Management is the agency which determines all applications for Federal Disability Retirement, whether under FERS or CSRS (or CSRS-Offset). In making such a determination, a standard of “objectivity” is expected by each and every Federal and Postal employee, in making such a determination.
The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) applies a set of criteria as determined by statute and further expanded upon by the Merit Systems Protection Board and the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals. The entirety of “the Law” which governs and guides the eligibility and entitlement to Federal Disability Retirement benefits is thus based upon a patchwork of legal holdings, statutory language, and cases and legal opinions which have “evolved” over the years. From this patchwork of laws, one expects a “representative” from OPM to apply it fairly, objectively, and without any arbitrariness or capricious intent. Yet, since the individuals applying “the Law” at OPM — at least at the first and second “Stages” of the process — are not themselves lawyers, how realistic is this?
Ultimately, legal arguments in persuading OPM to approve a case are best made when they are concurrently explained — explained in their logic, their force of argumentation, and in their applicability to a given issue. Simply declaring that “the Law” applies will not do; one must sensitively guide OPM to understand the very laws which govern their behavior.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire