In preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS, a two-step process (at a minimum) must be engaged in when compiling the foundational presentation of a Federal Disability Retirement application.
First, a thorough reading, comprehension and understanding of the “what” in reviewing the criteria applicable for eligibility and entitlement to a Federal Disability Retirement application: What does it say? What is required? What type of evidence meets the requirements? And sometimes just as importantly: What has previously failed to meet the requirements?
Thereafter, once the conceptual framework of grasping and understanding the “what” of the process, and proceeding to gather the information requested in preparing and formulating one’s Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS, then the pre-filing conceptual stage of the second-order should be engaged in: “Whether”.
Whether what is gathered is sufficient to meet the legal criteria necessary to be eligible and entitled to Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS; whether it is either (or both) qualitatively and quantitatively sufficient to meet the legal criteria for eligibility. The “whether” question is a much more universal one, in that it must encompass the full panoply and compendium of the evidence gathered. Not that it cannot be supplemented at a later date (it can), although there are restrictions and limitations imposed by what is delineated on one’s Applicant’s Statement of Disability (SF 3112A).
Understanding the conceptual distinction between the “what” and the “whether” is an important mental exercise to undertake, if only on a superficial level of making one pause for a moment to consider whether the extensive effort one must endure will be worthwhile.
It is better to take the necessary and sufficient time at the outset, than to find out after much effort has been expended, that both the “what” and the “whether” have been insufficient to meet the basic legal criteria for eligibility for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS from the Office of Personnel Management.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire