We often try and look at a thing “in a vacuum” — meaning, by viewing it without relation to other things, we believe that we can approach the viewpoint in a more “objective” manner. But objectivity itself takes on many forms, and often objects, words, concepts, etc., possess their meaning and identity precisely because of the relationships established, and when you strip away the nexus between A and B, the loss of meaningfulness is profound.
Such is the case with Federal Disability Retirement Law. While Social Security requires a higher standard of “total disability”, and thus will view a medical condition within categories of differentiated severities, a medical condition in a Federal Disability Retirement case cannot be viewed in a vacuum but, rather, in relationship with the type of duties the Federal or Postal worker must perform.
When a Federal Disability Retirement application is being reviewed by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, they will often try and argue the case in a vacuum — for, that is to their advantage, in order to deny a claim. But it is the job of the attorney representing a Federal or Postal worker to point out the statutes and case-law, and to always bring OPM back to the reality of their legal obligations — that a medical condition can never be viewed in a vacuum, but only in its relationship to the positional requirements of the job.
Robert R. McGill
Lawyer exclusively representing Federal and Postal employees to secure their Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.