Federal Disability Retirement: Indexicals

It is indeed the specific context of a situation which provides for referential data giving individualized meaning to a case. But for Federal Disability Retirement cases, the unique contextual information concerning where, by whom, in what timeframe, may be perfectly allowable in a “for instance” or “for example” type of descriptive enhancement, but ultimately what the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is looking for is the example which represents a medical condition or symptom thereof that is chronic, is of consistent duration, and which is not merely a singular event.

Yes, indexicals of referential relevance represented by “here”, “when” and “where”, with the inclusion of epistemological privilege and the insertion of “I” in repetitive manner, can convey the personalized account which touches upon a sensitive soul; but in the end, it is the scientific, objective coldness of diagnoses, symptoms and delineations of chronic descriptions which establish the viable connection between one’s medical condition and the inability to perform the essential elements of one’s positional duties.

Thus, in formulating one’s Statement of Disability as configured on SF 3112A, it can be an effective tool of one’s narrative to weave back and forth between the indexical and the objective third person, and even extrapolating and including statements from medical documents, treatment notes, etc.

Ultimately, in the preparation and formulation of an OPM Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it is best to set aside the constraints of space as imposed by SF 3112A, and to provide a concise but detailed narrative which fully satisfies the questions posed and queried by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Disability Retirement: SF 3112A, the Applicant’s Statement of Disability

Each genre retains its own internal customs, traditions and acceptable characteristics which, in their idiosyncratic ways, defines for itself why the specific genre is distinctively different from another.  Content, length, volume, and literary mechanisms may be acceptable within certain defined parameters; a recent biography by Edmund Morris attempted to utilize a literary artifice which, by most accounts, was not well-received within the genre.  

In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, one must first and foremost understand the “audience” to which the Federal or Postal employee is “writing” to, and thereby custom-fit the “genre” of the writing.  

The reviewing clerks at the Office of Personnel Management have dozens, if not hundreds, of files from Federal and Postal employees.  At the First and Reconsideration stages of the process of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from OPM, the reviewing clerks must sift through the case-file by analyzing the medical documentation submitted, and most importantly, the Applicant’s Statement of Disability as reflected in SF 3112A.  A Dickens-like autobiographical background is not needed, and will likely be ignored.  A mere listing of the medical conditions, while short and to the point, will likely be insufficient.  Thus, the old adage:  neither too hot, nor too cold.  Somewhere in the middle is the proper “genre” to apply.  

As for the specific characteristics of an effective submission, a general comment:  Stay on point; connect the dots between one’s medical conditions and the positional requirements; and don’t bore the reader.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: The Approach

In the busy lives we lead, it is often a temptation to simply adopt a generic approach to each event, for purposes of ease and convenience.  It is easy to think that most distinctions in life do not contain relevant differences — at least not enough to make much of an impact.  

In preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS, it is certainly useful to utilize the paradigm of successful past filings, and there is enough information “out there” by multiple attorneys and “specialists” (whatever that may mean) to gather a composite model of a Federal Disability Retirement application which has a good chance of becoming approved.

However, one must always remember that each individual case is unique because of the multiple factors which must interact, and the uniqueness of the approach must match and be tailored to the distinctions which are inherent in each case.  Not only are the medical conditions different; the job description, the essential elements of a job, the symptoms which manifest themselves; whether the Federal Disability Retirement application should be based upon a single medical condition or a combination of multiple conditions; whether psychiatric conditions are primary or secondary; the intersecting impact between the medical conditions and the essential duties of one’s job; and, beyond all of this, if a Federal Disability Retirement application is denied at the First Stage of the process, or even at the Reconsideration Stage, the methodology and approach of responding to such a denial is important.  

Generic approaches are sometimes useful, but in preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS, it is important to recognize that most distinctions do in fact make a difference.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire