OPM Disability Retirement: The Responsibility of the Office of Personnel Management

Perhaps it is an anomaly to even speak about the issue of “the responsibility” of the Office of Personnel Management — at least, from the general consensus of experiences as told by countless individuals who have filed for disability retirement benefits from the Office of Personnel Management, especially in recent years, one might conclude that OPM is slow to respond, or often refuses to respond at all.  However, to be fair, OPM — as with all other Federal Agencies — is made up of individuals; and the “good” or “bad” of an Agency is entirely dependent upon such individuals. 

Most of the disability retirement specialists at OPM are, in my opinion, of the “good” sort.  Without naming names, there are a few of the “bad” sort.  Of course, that says very little, because such a generalized statement could be true of all Federal Agencies. 

Moreover, OPM is presently short-staffed, overworked, and way behind on the processing of disability retirement claims.  What used to be a 60-day wait at the initial application stage is taking 90 – 120 days; and at the Reconsideration (2nd) Stage, what used to take 90 days is now taking 120 – 150 days, in many cases.   More than the “time” it takes, however, just remember that the primary responsibility of OPM is to take a careful and serious look at your disability retirement application/packet.  Also, remember that those disability retirement packets which are streamlined, logically constructed, and coherently argued, are the ones which will likely be quickly processed.  Don’t just strap a volume of medical records onto an application and hope for approval; in this day and age, it might be a wise investment to hire an attorney to “streamline” your packet.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire

2 Responses

  1. I didn’t “hire” anyone to put my medical package together but but my girlfriend is a retired Physical Therapist. I am still awaiting an initial deccision from OPM. I suffer from multiple disabilities and at times have difficulty with thought processes. I don’t know what I would have done if she hadn’t been there to help me. She indexed and colated everything and then wrote a several page summary with everything referenced. We then gave that to my primary care physician who put it on his letterhead and signed it. I have another 20 days to go before my 90 is up and I now have someone in our Personell Dept. pulling for me, so we’ll see how having a medical professional helping works.
    I have read the majority od the information you have on this site and really appreciate what you do.
    Thank You

  2. What happens when your civil service job awards you a disability retirement due to comments from the three physicians that the City of Los Angeles had me to go there for an appointment. How can I tell if my disablity retirement was work related.

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