In a perfect universe, logic should prevail and the superior argument would be identified, recognized and accepted. In a less-than-perfect universe (the state in which we unfortunately find ourselves), pragmatic factors involving power, authority, competency and non-substantive, peripheral issues must always be considered, and incorporated accordingly. In the “unofficial rules” of argumentative methodology, three elements must be present: (A) The ability and capacity to recognize a superior argument, (B) the willingness to concede one’s own inferiority of the proffer, and (C) acceptance of one in replacement of the other, which is to admit and submit.
In modernity, however, loudness and persistence, even without a basis in systematic logic, will often prevail, and one need not accede to a different position so long as ownership of the microphone or loudspeaker is never contested. Which brings us to the pragmatic realities of the Federal Disability Retirement application, and the denials issued by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. First, it is important to recognize that all denials of Federal Disability Retirement applications by OPM “sound like” they are based upon “the law”. They are meant to appear that way. But are they? If read too carefully, the internal inconsistencies, the lack of logic, and the repetitive nature of declarative conclusions without any supporting methodological argumentation will be quite evident.
How should one approach and rebut such a decision? Does each and every point brought out by the “administrative specialist” need to be addressed, or just the “main points“? Should the rebuttal arguments form the basis of the step-following the Reconsideration Stage of the process of attempting to obtain Federal Disability Retirement benefits — the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board? Are there any repercussions for not addressing each of the “points” delineated in a denial by OPM?
These, and many other questions, should be addressed by a Federal lawyer who is experienced in handling OPM Medical Retirement applications through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. For, as some Federal or Postal employees attempt to begin the process of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits without the aid, guidance, counsel and assistance of an OPM Disability attorney, when a denial of the Initial Stage is received from OPM, more extensive analysis and “corrective” efforts may be required.
And those three elements of argumentative methodologies discussed herein, are they relevant to the process? Perhaps. But OPM is a powerful and large bureaucracy which holds the future security of Federal and Postal employees in their hands, and a denial by OPM must be taken seriously, both in substantive form and qualitative content.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire