The completion of the multiple forms in a Federal Disability Retirement application can seemingly be a simple matter, upon first encounter. The questions are fairly innocuous and straightforward. A distinction must be immediately made, however, between the Standard Forms which merely ask for factual/personal information (SF 3107 series for FERS employees; SF 2801 series for CSRS employees), requesting name, address, agency information, date of birth, etc.
Then, there is the SF 3112 series (both for FERS as well as for CSRS employees), and specifically SF 3112A, the Applicant’s Statement of Disability, which goes to the very heart of a Federal Disability Retirement application. For, how the questions are stated; the content which is provided; the listing of the diagnosed medical conditions; the description provided of the impact of one’s medical conditions upon the positional description of the Federal or Postal employee — these will determine the future course of the Federal Disability Retirement application, its success or failure, and the potentiality for any future inquiry requested from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in the form of a Medical Questionnaire, requesting an update on the medical status and disability of the Federal or Postal annuitant.
Ultimately, the preparation of a standard government form may, at first appearance, look like a simple matter. Those things in life which “look” simple, often present the greatest of complexities. But of course, that is the very question which Plato and Aristotle, and the entire history of Western Philosophy wrestled with: the distinction between appearance and reality.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire