In a perfect world, any administrative determination — or any judicial, quasi-judicial or official analysis and evaluation of a “case” of any nature — should be governed by precepts and criteria which are deemed “objective” in the sense that a standard application of a determining calculus would be applied without any subjective, arbitrary elements involved. But this is not a perfect world, and as such, there are always “subjective” elements which become part and parcel of any determination, administrative or otherwise.
In Federal Disability Retirement cases, there are OPM (an abbreviated acronym for U.S. Office of Personnel Management) Claims Representatives, or “case workers”, who have had many years of experience, and those who have just recently been hired, trained, and been “let loose” in order to apply their limited knowledge. There is definitely a change, and quite a noticeable one, in having a case reviewed by a novice at the Office of Personnel Management, as opposed to receiving a determination by a “seasoned” OPM worker.
Issues which are peripheral and do not impact the centrality of a Federal Disability Retirement case are often focused upon and detailed with irrelevant argumentation. But that is the nature of an “administrative process”, where there are multiple layers and levels of appeals and reviews.
Ultimately, that is why there is a “Reconsideration Stage” — to allow OPM to review the decision of the first-level personnel, and to correct any misguided decisions made at that first level. Further, there is the Merit Systems Protection Board, where an Administrative Judge will review the decision of OPM independently. This is a “process“, as opposed to a single filing, and it is wise to remember it as such.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire