The word “refrain” is an interesting one for its multifarious definitions — from restraining one’s self (a physical act of self-control) to identifying a phrase or group of phrases which are repeated throughout a verse, song, etc., the application of the word is useful by its very differences. And, indeed, it is the differences between a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether under FERS or CSRS, from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, from the entire administrative process of filing for Social Security Disability benefits, or obtaining a higher disability rating from the Veterans Administration, or even attempting to establish causality in a Federal OWCP, Department of Labor case — which makes all the difference.
Such a tautology and redundancy, while rather puzzling, is what must be kept in mind when preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits. It is indeed the differences which make for the difference. Thus, as to the refrain, “What are you trying to prove?”, goes to the very heart and essence of the differences. That which one is trying to prove strikes at the essence of how you will approach a Federal Disability Retirement case, distinctly and differently from what you are trying to prove for an increased VA rating, OWCP case or a Social Security Disability case.
Furthermore, normally the “shotgun” approach will not be the most effective — i.e., that approach of shooting at everything and in every direction and hoping that you will somehow hit the mark. Federal Disability Retirement requires certain specific elements to prove, different and distinct from OWCP, VA or SSDI, and it is indeed that which one needs to prove, which will make all the difference in a case.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire