Old timers will often smirk cynically and observe: Time will cure them of such a naive perspective. Or, to paraphrase a famous line from a well-know Christmas movie, Youth is wasted on the young (hint: the scene were Jimmy Stewart is throwing a rock at the old abandoned house). Youth and inexperience are often accompanied by enthusiasm and a fresh perspective. Lack of knowledge is compensated — some would say “overcompensated” — by an eagerness which sees no boundaries or obstacles.
There are clearly some new hires at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management as of this date, and their unique approach in viewing and evaluating a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether under FERS or CSRS, must be contended with.
The fundamental problem with newcomers is not that they don’t know what they are doing; rather, it is often the converse — they think they do know what they are doing, and when girded by a list of criteria which is applied in an inflexible fashion, one often gets blinded by the confusion of the forest while having a myopic view of an individual tree. The great equalizer in countering lack of knowledge, fortunately, is the law itself; and while a list of applicable criteria provided to a fresh face may well assist the OPM employee to evaluate a claim, it can never replace the necessity of knowing the law.
For anyone filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, now constitutes the time to employ all of the tools which the compendium of cases decided, and statutes reinforced, accord in arguing one’s case. Time will certainly tell, but for the present, it is advisable to dot all I’s and cross each T, carefully and with great scrutiny.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire