The attempt to predict an opponent’s approach in an endeavor — whether in competitive sports; in debate; in an adversarial forum — is a practice which can have favorable results, or one which ends with disastrous consequences. For the prediction itself must be based upon known factors, such as the applicable standards which the opponent will rely upon, relevant elements which will be utilized, and human, unpredictable quirks which seem to always come into play.
In approaching an opponent, it is always a good idea to study the opposition; but too much reliance upon attempting to out-maneuver the opposition can have the negative impact of taking away from valuable preparation-time one may need in order to prevail.
In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, many Federal and Postal applicants attempt to analyze the questions posed on the Standard Forms (SF 3107 series for FERS employees; SF 2801 series for CSRS employees; SF 3112 series for both FERS & CSRS employees) perhaps too deeply, in attempting to “understand” the opponent — the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
Yes, the questions must be analyzed; yes, there is an implicit trickiness to many of the questions (especially on SF 3112A); and, yes, a cautious approach must be taken in answering the questions. But such caution should never detract from spending the necessary time in preparing the crux and foundation of one’s Federal Disability Retirement application — that of formulating the logical nexus between one’s medical condition and the positional duties which one can no longer perform.
Ultimately, the substance of one’s Federal Disability Retirement application must be given the greatest of focus and effort: attempting to approach the opponent’s thought processes — in this case, that of the “collective” efforts of multiple individuals at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management — may be an act of futility; better to spend the needed hours solidifying one’s own case than to try and understand an incomprehensible entity.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire