Perhaps there will never be the “perfect” case in a FERS Disability Retirement application, and one should not expect to find one. There are “near-perfections” and ones which cannot possibly be denied by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. But it is the imperfect ones — the ones which might be consider tenuous at best, but which are nevertheless approved, which provide greater lessons in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
Further, denial letters issued by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management are instructive for future events and cases, precisely because they indicate the focus, in any particular context or time, of the central and essential concerns expressed by OPM. Inconsistencies are often what is reviewed and scrutinized most closely — between what the doctor asserts in conclusory fashion, in a medical narrative report, as opposed to the daily office and treatment notes; between one’s statement of disability and what the Supervisor observes; between what the applicant for Federal Disability Retirement benefits states, and what the doctor annotates.
Granted, much of it is selectively chosen with a biased and slanted perspective — as if the Caseworker at OPM had already decided to issue a denial. Further, OPM makes unfounded assertions concerning the applicable standard of law all the time, which undermines the very basis of any denial, and puts into question the credibility of the reasons given in a denial letter.
Ultimately, there is no such thing as the “perfect” case; as life provides for inconsistencies and lack of continuum, so a Federal Disability Retirement application often reflects the imperfection of life. Unfortunately, OPM doesn’t have such a philosophical outlook on such matters, and we must deal with it accordingly.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire