Moving forward with the right tools is generally more effective than looking back and trying to correct deficiencies; thus, the age-old adage of being penny wise, pound foolish applies; and in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, it is important to make a determination early on to clearly assess the strength of a case, the needs required to optimize such strengths, and to obtain assistance where necessary.
As to an objective assessment of a case: one is normally not the best evaluator in analyzing the strength or weakness of one’s own Federal Disability retirement case. This is because of a self-evident principle operating in each such Federal Disability Retirement case: the subject who suffers from the medical condition cannot objectively evaluate from a third-party’s perspective the viability of a case in terms of proving by a preponderance of the evidence the coherence and compelling nature of the evidence to be presented.
Most believe that his or her case is a “slam-dunk”; few in actual reality ever are. To get denied by OPM at the First Stage; then at the Reconsideration Stage; then to go pro se before the Merit Systems Protection Board; then to obtain a lawyer — while it is good to get a lawyer at any stage of the process — is it wise to attempt a retrospective correction of one’s mistakes? At what stage does it become too late? Where in the process does “correction” override “mistakes”? Compare that to a prospective affirmation of one’s inadequacies — that it is difficult, if not impossible, to objectively evaluate one’s own case; that an effective compilation and presentation of a Federal Disability Retirement case is necessary in order to win in a Federal Disability Retirement case; and that providing a legal citationin support of one’s case is an essential element of a compelling case: combining it all, it would seem that being wise for the pound is preferable than being foolish for the penny (to make an inverse adage applicable).
Robert R. McGill, Esquire