Federal Disability Retirement under FERS: Form and matter

Have you ever reflected upon the word, “matter”?  Such an interesting and compelling unit of our language — as in the question asked, “What is the matter?”  By contrast, how about the question, “What matters in this world?” and in a different form, “What matter makes up the universe?”

“Matter” refers to substance, whether used in the manner referring to a circumstance or event, or in inquiring about the foundational essence of that which makes up the “something” in our world.  Form, as Plato tried to explain, is the distinguishing feature that “molds” matter into various distinctions, without which all of the universe would be inseparable into a singular being — and thus the conceptual paradigm of a “oneness” of being originating, as in the first lines of the Old Testament, and out of that the omnipotent Being created the world by “forming” this matter or that matter into individual units of beings.

Matter is thus the “stuff” that things are made from; Form, the appearance that makes X distinguishable from Y; and thus does Being turn into individual beings because of the distinctive forms each take on.  But when we ask those other questions — i.e., “What is the matter?” or “Why does it matter?” — we are asking about relevance, substance, the “stuff” that makes up the event or the circumstances, and not the form or appearance; in other words, we want to get to the meat of an issue.

In that sense, the two meanings of the same word are intended in a similar manner: both for the substantive element that makes up the thing we seek.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal job, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS may become a necessity.

In the process of seeking information about OPM Disability Retirement, both issues will be sought — though you may not realize it in this way — of both “form” and “matter”.  That which distinguishes your case from all others; the “meat” and substance of what must be included in your Federal Disability Retirement application, especially in the medical reports, the Applicant’s Statement of Disability, and the unique features that “make up” your case that have to be “formed” in order to present it to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Form and matter make up everything in the universe, and it matters how you formulate a Federal Disability Retirement application because matter unformed is merely a lump of nothingness that will result in nothing further unless you form it properly.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire