In preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with the Office of Personnel Management, it is important to understand the legal criteria of “preponderance of the evidence”, to attempt to meet the legal criteria; to state and argue that the legal criteria has been met, and to reiterate and show how the legal criteria has been met.
Thus, as the Office of Personnel Management is a bureaucracy with multiple levels replete with clerical and administrative staff, it is important to present, to show, to reiterate, and to affirm: the point to get across must be established in a succinct, effective, efficient manner, but it must be firmly established.
“Preponderance of the evidence” can be quite subjective, but within the context of such subjectivity, it encompasses the conceptual analogies of: X is more likely than not; the quantitative weight of the evidence shows that the burden of proof has been met; the qualitative whole has proven that one is entitled to Federal Disability Retirement benefits; the compendium of evidence, both medical and supporting, shows that Mr. Y’s medical condition does indeed prevent him from performing one or more of the essential elements of his job; and similar conclusions to be reached as a result of the entirety of the evidence presented.
Of these analogies noted (which is not meant to be an exhaustive list, but merely an attempt to illustrate the meaning of the concept of “preponderance of the evidence”), the one which is most dangerous for people to embrace, is the “quantitative weight” of evidence. For, ultimately, gathering a thick stack of medical documentation is the easiest way to put together a Federal Disability Retirement application, but the least effective. And in the end, it is effectiveness which we seek, and not ease of completion.
Robert R. McGill, Attorney