How one views a case often determines the approach which is undertaken. Thus, if the belief is that preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is merely a simple administrative process which requires the compilation of the medical documentation, answering some questions and filling out some forms, then such a belief will determine the extent of preparation of a Federal Disability Retirement application.
The other side of the perspective, however, is held by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. OPM views every Federal Disability Retirement application based upon a multitude of criteria: legal sufficiency; consistency of statement-to-evidence; weight of medical documentation; analytical comparison to what the agency states; a review of the composite of forms, documents and statements made, etc.
Is OPM’s approach an adversarial one? One often hears that such administrative and bureaucratic processes are “non-adversarial” in nature, but what exactly does that mean? If the perspective of the Office of Personnel Management is to apply a legal criteria in order to determine the legal sufficiency of a Federal Disability Retirement application, doesn’t that make it into an adversarial process?
Euphemisms are invaluable tools in the utilization of language as a means of communication; but words ultimately must have a static meaning — at least for the duration of the sentence to be uttered. That being the case, one must conclude that how one perceives a case should be based upon the meaning of language used in describing the case; and the meaning is quite clear in preparing, formulating, filing, and awaiting a decision of a Federal Disability Retirement application from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire