In preparing, formulating, and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, there are multiple discretionary decisions to make. By “discretionary decision“, is meant that there may be differing priorities of values which must be placed in the very process of deciding whether or not to include or exclude a medical document, legal argument, etc., and the prioritizing of the value placed upon such evidence is what will determine the decision itself. There may ultimately be no “correct” decision on the matter, as opposed to an incorrect one.
Further, one may never know (or care, once an approval of a Federal Disability Retirement application is received) whether or not the Office of Personnel Management made a positive or adverse decision on the Federal Disability Retirement application (whichever the case may be at any given stage of the administrative process) based upon the same priority of values assessed upon the decision itself.
For example, sometimes the evidence itself — whether medical or non-medical documentary evidence — may be compelling enough in and of itself, that making a long and tedious legal argument may in fact detract from the prima facie strength of the evidence itself. Or, it may be that a short sentence or annotation in a medical document may be so significant that a particular legal argument, however long and involved that may be, should be stated, and stated at length, and argued boldly.
Discretion dictates a restraining of a reactionary response; sometimes, the shorter the statement, the more effective is the presentation. Length and verbosity alone do not constitute effectiveness in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from OPM.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire