Advice and instructions for OPM Disability Retirement Forms:
SF 3112: In Connection With Disability Retirement Under the Civil Service Retirement System or Federal Employees Retirement System
SF 3107: Application for Immediate Retirement (Also needed by Federal and Postal Employees applying for Immediate Medical Retirement)
Standard Forms tend to require tailored responses. That is precisely what it is meant to do. The very appearance of a Standard Form, or of any forms provided and required by the Federal Government, is intended to specifically contain and constrain responses, as well as an attempt to target a wide range of the population of ages and education groups. What statutes, laws and regulations were promulgated by the formulation of the form; the history behind the legislative intent of the form; the extent of court cases, issuances of judicial or executive opinions — all form a compendium of the background in the final issuance of the form itself.
That is why the simplicity of the form itself is often misleading; as with all of literature, philosophy, theology and the countless disciplines indicated by the suffix of “ology”, it is the creativity of the complex manifested by the uncomplicated form which produces an appearance of simplicity from that which is complex. Thus are we harkened back to the age-old question of Plato’s acknowledged differentiation between “Form” and “Appearance”, or of Aristotle’s fundamental distinction between substance and accident, in describing the entity or “Being” of a thing. Forms, whether they be government forms or Platonic entities in the ethereal world, have a similitude not only in designation, but in the reality of our complex and complicated universe.
For the Federal or the Postal Worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact one’s ability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the initial encounter with OPM forms in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, can be a daunting engagement. The Federal or Postal Worker need not know the history of philosophy, or the references to platonic forms; but one should certainly be fully aware that there is an important distinction to be made between substance and appearance.
The initial encounter with an OPM form in preparing one’s Federal Disability Retirement application, will bring one in contact with the SF 3107 series, as well as the SF 3112 series of forms. Issued by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (thus the acronym of “OPM”), both series of SF 3107 and SF 3112 have a long history of statutory, regulatory and legislative history. The Federal and Postal employee may be unaware of such a long history in the development of SF 3107 and SF 3112A; such lack of knowledge, however, already purposes an advantage to the Federal agency, to the detriment of the Federal and Postal Worker. But then, that is the whole purpose of keeping hidden that which constitutes the reality of Being, as in the ethereal Forms identified by Plato throughout his writings, in contradistinction to the appearance of things, which rarely represents the reality of what is going on.
Thus, a word to the wise: Do not let the simplicity of SF 3107 or SF 3112 series of OPM forms mislead you into thinking that the process of obtaining Federal & Postal Disability Retirement benefits is an easy path to travel.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire