Have you ever heard the phrase, that “X is only as strong as the weakest link”? What does that mean? When applied to Federal Disability Retirement applications, it has significance and application on multiple levels. Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS and CSRS has multiple, and almost an infinite amount of, potholes, dangers, traps and landmines, both hidden and apparent — and that is from the viewpoint of the attorney. I can only imagine what it is like for the Federal or Postal employee who thinks as follows: I have a serious medical condition; there is a benefit called “disability retirement”; let me make copies of my medical records, fill out the forms, and submit it. I should get it with no problems. I get telephone calls almost on a daily basis from people who say, “I can’t believe that the Office of Personnel Management disapproved my claim. What did I do wrong?” Often, it is the Office of Personnel Management that “did something wrong”, and it is up to the Attorney to point that fact out.
Now, back to the original thought of this blog: A case is only as strong as the weakest link. As Federal Disability Retirement applications have many complex issues surrounding and central to the application and the application process, it is important to make sure that even the weakest link of the packet — whether it is the doctor’s report, the Applicant’s Statement of Disability, the legal arguments to be made, etc. — make sure that the weakest of the links is strong enough to withstand the selective (and often unfair) reasoning and attacks of the Office of Personnel Management.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire