Postal and Federal Disability Retirement: Never a Science

Ultimately, a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS is not a science, in terms of a mechanistic approach and methodology in determining the successful outcome of a case.  In law, there is always a distinction to be made between truth, evidence, and persuasive argumentation.  It used to be that the middle term (evidence) provided for the latter concept (persuasive argumentation) through the strength of the former term (truth).  

Science always relied heavily on the first two terms, believing that the strength of the first two determined the last term by logical default.  But once “science” began engaging in valuations and judgments based upon projected possibilities of future occurrences, the art of persuasive argumentation took on greater prominence in determining the truth, and the “evidence” to be presented became less important.  

Similarly, in preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS, because there is not a computational calculus in determining whether or not a particular Federal Disability Retirement application meets all of the legal eligibility criteria, it is not a “perfect science” and, indeed, it is not a science at all.  

A human being at the Office of Personnel Management must determine whether or not the applicant under FERS or CSRS is eligible for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  As such, a fair amount of subjectivity comes into play.

The “art” of submitting a persuasive Federal Disability Retirement application — where the spectrum of objectivity is greater at the medical evidence side of things, and where human emotions and descriptive delineation of the impact of the medical condition upon one’s ability/inability to perform the essential elements of one’s job will be more apparent in the Applicant’s Statement of Disability — all combine to present a totality of evidence mired in subjective/objective compendium of the whole — for a presentation of the truth.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire