In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, one must thoughtfully complete Standard Form 3112A — the “Applicant’s Statement of Disability“.
The questions asked on the form do not request, nor do they require, historical context — i.e., of “how” a medical condition or injury occurred, “when” it occurred (although it does ask the approximate date of the onset of disability, which is somewhat distinct from asking the question in the context of historical background; rather, it merely asks for a month and a year), or “what” happened.
History is a contextual aura, a conceptual construct which we carry with us wherever we are; of having an identity based upon one’s background, a sense of who we are, where we came from, and thereby providing a foundation of an understanding of why we are who we are in the present day. The historicity of an individual, a culture, a society and a civilization is important in understanding the context as to the behavior, motivation, and teleological actions engaged in by an individual, a group, or a nation.
Thus, the old adage that those who fail to study history, are condemned to repeat the mistakes of the past. But in the context of preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS, one must always keep in mind that brevity, streamlining and respect for the limited time, attention-span and workload of the OPM Representative in reviewing a particular case, is important. To that end, historical background should be guided by the standard of direct relevance to the essence of one’s case.
Reading about history is important; understanding history can be informative; listening to one’s personal history should be left mostly to the quietude of a family gathering, when grandpa has the time to retell ancient stories of those past glory days.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire