CSRS & FERS Medical Disability Retirement: The Source of Information

In preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application from the Office of Personnel Management, part of the necessary preparation must always include research of information.  Such research of information, however, must include the ability to conceptually distinguish between information which is relevant, useful, and ultimately accurate.  
 
The exponential growth and explosion of information on the internet certainly has made research easy and accessible; however, the ease of access of information also means that the plenitude of information contains the inherent dangers of inaccuracy, if only because the source of such information must be valued and evaluated based upon the source’s motive, background, reason for existence, and intent for providing and supplying such information.
 
 Thus, for example, if the information comes from the Office of Personnel Management, such information will not contain a viewpoint of advocacy — in other words, not much guidance will be provided in terms of attempting to successfully formulate a Federal Disability Retirement application.  Or, for many websites which provide legal services and representation, the obvious underlying intent and motive is to persuade and convince the reader that a particular law firm is the “one for you”.
 
Information must be accessed carefully; information should be evaluated thoroughly; information needs to be conceptually dissected and analyzed for accuracy, reliability, and for its relevance and applicability. 
 
But as always, remember the maxim which applies to all information:  there is a difference between information and knowledge.  Alas, the latter will often require experience in the use and application of the former, and in preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS, because the Federal or Postal employee is relying upon such information to determine the course of one’s future, it is important to recognize the distinction.
 
 
Sincerely,
Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement for Federal and Postal Employees: Defining Terms

In proceeding through the administrative and bureaucratic maze of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS & CSRS, one of the most frustrating encounters is the lack of an ability to concretely “define terms”, such that any disagreement with the Office of Personnel Management can be narrowly curtailed in order to allow for a proper response.  It is often contended that 99% of arguments and disagreements are non-substantive.  That is, because neither side defines the terms utilized in the argument, each side will argue at cross-purposes, never agreeing because there has been no prefatory attempt at defining the terms which are being used in the first place.  If you can, take the opportunity to sit and listen to two people arguing:  Are each using terms interchangeably and loosely?  Is person A using the terms in the same way and meaning as person B?  It is unfortunate that there is never an opportunity to have a “conversation“, in effect, with the Office of Personnel Management, before an Initial Decision is made. 

When one looks at an OPM denial, denying an initial Federal or Postal Disability Retirement application, the terms used, the criteria declared, the arguments made (if any), there is never a static point of reference in the terms defined.  Ultimately, of course, the point of needing to “define the terms” comes about at the Third Stage of the Process — at the Merit Systems Protection Board, where an Administrative Judge will be an arbiter and (hopefully) finally force a more stable use and definition of terms.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire