“Fairness” is a term which is often thrown about freely, indiscriminately, and without thought, when an individual believes that he or she has been wrongly treated. But an objective analysis of whether or not a particular type or mode of treatment of an individual is justified or not, should be determined by the criteria which has been previously applied.
In order to accomplish this, there obviously has to exist a “criteria” to begin with. The necessary precondition of an application of a criteria, in order to determine “fairness” in a given circumstance, should be self-evident. Thus, in the world of sports, a charge of “unfair play” should be easily determined by looking at the predetermined rules of the game, whether such rules were properly interpreted and applied, and coming to a conclusion based upon whether such rules were followed. Where there are no “rules” of the game, however, it becomes more difficult — both in alleging “unfairness”, as well as in determining how to analyze a violation of — of what? Precisely.
In responding to a denial of a Federal Disability Retirement application from the Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, there is obviously the legal criteria of eligibility which one can point to. But if the Office of Personnel Management “adds” to the legal criteria, or otherwise includes in its denial substantive legal jargon which has no applicability in a Federal Disability Retirement case, what is one to do?
Some denials received from the Office of Personnel Management are fairly simple and straightforward; others, however, can encompass seemingly complex reasons and rationale rising to the level of complicated incomprehension, bundled in a mass of conundrums which puzzle even a legal expert.
To make matters worse, the author of such a denial is not the one responsible for the next level of review. Instead, the denial from OPM is kicked over to the “Reconsideration Stage” Case Worker. This can be both a blessing as well as a curse, of course. Whether the former or the latter, one is left with the complex conundrum of calamities — an incomprehensible denial which must nevertheless be answered.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire