Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is a personal matter. It is personal precisely because it is considered as an admission of a disability; it goes to the heart of what a person does in life — one’s livelihood, one’s means of support; and it goes to the perception in our society of the “worth” of an individual — financial worth, productive worth, worth in terms of the ability to support a family, and worth in terms of one’s contribution to society. Because it is so personal, it is difficult to “objectively” assess and evaluate a disability retirement claim, by the individual who is thinking about filing for such a benefit.
That is often why it is important to have an attorney represent an individual who is considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits. Often, when I am hired at the second or third Stage of the process, I read the initial submissions of the client, and find that the “personal” has indeed overtaken the “objective”, precisely because the very subject of the disability retirement process — the applicant — had to undertake the very personal process himself/herself. Such personal subjectivity cannot see beyond the very personal nature of the medical condition, and when that happens, it is almost too personal for the OPM representative to make an objective assessment of the case.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire