OPM Disability Retirement: Additional Supporting Evidence

In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, there is nothing to preclude one from attaching multiple supporting documentation in proving one’s eligibility for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

In doing so, however, it is appropriate to keep in mind that the conceptual paradigm of “supporting” should be just that — it must be to assist, help, or otherwise enhance such evidence which constitutes the central component of one’s Federal Disability Retirement application.

Thus, “supporting” should not be the primary basis of one’s evidence, but rather, that which further enlightens and advances the primary documentary evidence.  For example, statements from co-workers, photographs, and similar supporting evidence can be provided to OPM, but only if –and as — it enhances the primary documentation, which should be comprised of medical documentation from treating doctors, specialists, referral consultative medical providers, etc.  Even ancillary supporting documentation — SSDI approvals, VA assignation of disability ratings, OWCP acceptance, OWCP second-opinion doctor’s reports, etc — should be viewed as “supporting”.

It is important, as an aside, to recognize that the OPM Case Worker does not, and will not, expend hours upon hours reviewing every piece of document one submits, and therefore it is important to streamline and provide an efficient, effective presentation.

Think about it this way as a guiding principle:  If you approach a file which is an inch thick, or one which is 8 inches thick, which do you tackle on a Friday afternoon?

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: Enhancing and Reinforcing the Case

In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS, submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, it is often the case that enhancing one’s case, or reinforcing the strength of one’s case, is a continuing effort that can and should be engaged in, whenever the appropriate occasion arises and presents itself.  Of course, the key conceptual opportunity or pitfall (whichever perspective one chooses, depending upon the specific circumstances of the case) entails the word, “appropriate”.  

One should always let the strength of one’s case — based upon the medical reports submitted, upon the Applicant’s Statement of Disability, and upon the legal arguments made — stand on its own.  As the old adage goes, when one protests too much, one reveals the implicit weakness by the very protest one makes.  On the other hand, if additional information is relevant and enhances or reinforces what has been previously submitted, it may be a good idea to forward such information to the Office of Personnel Management.  

As with so many things and issues in life, such additional enhancement and reinforcement “depends” upon the circumstances and relevance of each case.  Too much enhancement may constitute an admission of weakness; too little, or none, may result in a lost opportunity.  It all depends upon the information spoken about, and the discretionary decision based upon the particular issues of a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether under FERS or CSRS.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire