At what point is the sufficiency test satisfied? Who determines when the bathtub is full enough in order to bathe? What constitutes the threshold of being gluttonous on Thanksgiving, as opposed to having had a hearty meal? And, for a FERS or CSRS Disability Retirement application, what standard determines whether or not a person has submitted evidence sufficient to meet the preponderance of the evidence test, in order to persuade the U.S. Office of Personnel Management that a Federal Disability Retirement application has met its burden, and that the Federal or Postal employee is therefore eligible and entitled to receive an approval and a subsequent annuity?
Clearly, it cannot be mere volume of medical reports and records; for, otherwise, cases with barely a dozen pages of a report, diagnostic test results and some office notes would not pass through the scrutiny of the OPM Caseworker. If not volume, then is it the quality of the report and records? Here, too, while a well-documented file may generally meet the sufficiency test, there are times when OPM will insist upon treatment notes for the past 18 – 24 months before considering a case for approval.
The sufficiency test is often an admixture of quality, quantity, and a compendium of selectively highlighted documentation which, in their totality, prove an OPM Federal Disability Retirement case. There are no two cases alike, though similarities may abound. Each case must be seen in its own unique light, and within that context, a case must be carefully constructed and compiled. Only in this manner and approach will the sufficiency test be met, and only after a careful and thorough review of the facts, issues and particular uniqueness of a given case — somewhat in a reflectively similar manner as OPM will do in reviewing the submitted case.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire