Ultimately, the “essence” of a thing is defined by a multitude of characteristics; but when a query is made as to what X “is”, as opposed to what it is “not”, the attempt to describe X is almost always rendered inadequate or deficient. It is not enough to say that X is “not A, B or C”, for it may be equally true that Y is also not A, B or C, and yet X is not identical to Y.
When an individual asks the unanswerable question, How does one successfully apply for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management? — the answer cannot be formulated by delineating a list of don’ts (although that may be helpful in a great majority of cases). Rather, the reason why such a question is untenable, aside from being too generalized a question, is that each particular case requires a different and unique set of answers.
Yes, there are general applicability standards which one must follow (i.e., sufficient medical documentation; knowledge of the relevant laws; an understanding of the legal concepts involved, etc.). Yes, there are standard forms to complete (SF 3107 series FERS employees; SF 2801 series for CSRS employees; SF 3112 series for both FERS & CSRS employees) — but how they are completed, and the information provided, must be carefully formulated. How one puts together a Federal Disability Retirement case is just as important in getting at the essence of a Federal Disability Retirement case, than trying to figure out the different components which make up a case.
The “essence” of a thing is a sought-after jewel which has been an ongoing event throughout Western Philosophy, from Plato and Aristotle, to Heidegger and Husserl; it has only been in recent years that such a search has merely turned into a Wittgensteinian language game; and with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, perhaps it is proper that it has become so.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire