In preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS, brevity and succinctness should be the guiding rule. Often, over-explaining and overstating a particular issue, while intending to be helpful and fully descriptive, can result in greater confusion and muddling of the issues.
This is found not only in the Applicant’s Statement of Disability, but also in an Agency’s responsive completion of forms — both the Supervisor’s Statement as well as the Agency’s efforts for Reassignment and Accommodation. Previously, much has been written concerning (for example) the Agency’s attempt to explain how the Federal or Postal employee was “accommodated” in various ways.
Such explanations, while legally untenable precisely because the efforts engaged in did not in fact constitute an accommodation as the term is defined in Federal Disability Retirement laws, nevertheless confuse the issue with the Office of Personnel Management because (A) they often provide an appearance of having accommodated the Federal or Postal employee and (B) the Claims Representative at the Office of Personnel Management himself/herself neither understands the laws governing accommodation, nor applies it properly.
The same is often true in a long narrative of the Applicant’s Statement of Disability — where causation, harassment, the history of the medical condition, the problems at the agency, the history of how one’s work could not be performed, collateral legal forums filed with, etc. are all extensively discussed.
Remember that an answer to a question should always be guided by the question itself. Don’t create your own question and answer the question you composed. Rather, re-read the question, and answer only the question asked.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire