Words have become increasingly malleable. They can be reformed, restated, interpreted in multiple ways, and ultimately made to conform to what an individual desires it to mean. Trust is based upon the mutual understanding of words. As such, the breach of trust can come about quite rapidly, as the deterioration of such mutual understanding becomes apparent.
In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, there is often an issue of “trust” between the Agency from which the Federal or Postal employee is filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, and the Federal or Postal employee him/her self. The extent to which an agency is informed of the process; issues of confidentiality and whether privacy concerns are breached — all involve an issue of trust.
Unfortunately, trust is also an issue which, for whatever reason, is instilled as a desire in human beings. Most people “want” to trust another individual, and because of this desire, it can be used as a predatory bait for those who may have motivations and reasons other than the best interests of the Federal or Postal employee.
Finally, what this author has always believed, is the following: The test of sincerity is represented by past actions, not the mere speaking of words. Yet, even actions do not constitute a complete source of reliability. In the end, discretion calls for limited revelation of information. An “only need-to-know, when necessary” rule should always be applied to confidential, private information. And what can be more confidential and private, than one’s own medical condition in the preparation, formulation and filing of Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS?
Robert R. McGill, Esquire