FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: OPM's Methodology

When the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) approves a federal disability retirement application, a separate page from the approval letter will often be attached, which states the medical basis upon which the disability retirement application was approved. The separate page will often state something to the effect of: “You submitted an application for disability retirement based upon medical conditions, A, B, C & D; however, your application was approved for medical condition B only.”

The concern here, of course, is that if you are later selected to answer an OPM Medical Questionnaire asking you to re-establish your medical disability for continuation of your disability annuity some years later, that you make certain that you answer such a Medical Questionnaire based upon that very medical condition upon which you were approved. This is obviously important. Some have questioned whether or not you can appeal the approval letter based upon the fact that you believe OPM should have approved you based upon a different medical condition. In my view, this is not an appealable issue, and if you question OPM as to whether they should have considered you disabled based upon another medical condition, you may be in greater danger by OPM reversing themselves based upon a re-review of your case. It is best to leave “well enough alone”. Accept the approval letter based upon the identified medical condition, and inform your treating doctor that you may need his input in the future — to address that very medical condition for which you were approved.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

4 Responses

  1. I wantred to know how, I will be affected by FERS disablity, which, I have had since 1998.

  2. i want to put in for my retirement i do not know how to go about it please advise me

  3. I wanted to get Mr. McGill’s thought on what triggers a medical questionaire. I know OPM’s has only said that a questionaire is random! They don’t reveal no details about how that random process is actually put in place. I mean with folks retiring on different dates, times, and with different conditions nothing of substance is revealed about the process. I mean if the process is purely random, with thousands of disability retirees, one would think the odds of anyone getting a medical questionaire is rare indeed. However the award letter includes this sentence: “We may, based upon your medical condition, require medical review of your condition.” Of course the sentence continues but thats the important sentence in that paragraph. This leads me to believe that though the actual selection might be random the process in it’s entireity is not random. In other words some conditions may not ever get reviewed! This brings me to the physician’s statement. I believe if you have a strong physicians statement, that states your condition is chronic and likely to last the rest of your life, then a medical questionaire is unlikely to ever be received. This would explain Mr. McGills exellent work on insuring the physicians statement is exactly they way he wants it to be. Thats my theory what say you?

  4. Another thing that may factor in to the possiblity of getting a medical questionaire is how close the retiree is to their positions minimum retirement age. Maybe that factors in. The one thing I am absolutely sure of is if every single disabilty retiree is just thrown into a computer to be randomly selected then no one should ever worry about getting a medical questionaire because the odds of one single individual in that entire group getting a questionaire is so small it warrants only a passing concern. Of course if you ever get a medical questionaire follow Mr. McGills advice and take it seriously, call Mr. McGill, and together with your doctor he will guide you through the process.. As Mr. McGill says you have to really try hard to lose disability retirement. Good Day, John.

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