In preparing, formulating, and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, the goal is to compile and compose the “best possible” disability retirement packet.
Such a goal is a foundational one — that which is self-evident. Indeed, to have a contrary goal is anathema to the entire administrative process. Concluding that one has achieved that goal, however, leaves room for discretion. Indeed, often the best that one can do is to accept those things which are outside of one’s control, and focus exclusively upon achieving excellence of that which is within the confined arena of what one can control.
Thus, for instance, to try and predict and preclude a denial at the First Stage of the process — while a goal which every attorney who practices Federal Disability Retirement law attempts to achieve — is almost an act of futility, because such an attempt inherently requires that the Office of Personnel Management systematically engages in a rational approach in deciding its cases. On the contrary, much of what the Office of Personnel Management does is to “fill in the blanks” of a template. Denial letters are mostly form letters which then have a concluding paragraph, which itself is often a formatted conclusion. That is not to say that the evidence presented was not reviewed; rather, the evidence reviewed was determined to fit — or not fit — a template.
How does one counter that which is beyond rationality? By focusing upon those things which are within one’s control — by compiling the best possible presentation, for the best will normally fit any template; unless, of course, the template itself is beyond rationality.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire