As I explain to all potential clients, whether an individual should attempt to obtain Federal Disability Retirement benefits with or without an attorney, is an individual and personal decision, based upon a number of factors.
I place everyone on a spectrum: on the far left side of the spectrum is a Letter Carrier who becomes paralyzed. That person does not need me as an attorney. He/she needs to gather the medical records, fill out the forms, and submit the application. On the far right side of the spectrum is a Supervisor who goes out on “stress leave”. That person should almost definitely hire an attorney, because disability retirement based upon the medical condition of stress alone, is difficult to obtain. Most Federal and Postal employees fall somewhere in-between those two extremes. Further, and obviously, I believe that I am of assistance to my clients, and (hopefully), based upon the years of feedback I have received, my clients firmly believe that my legal methodology and approach were instrumental in obtaining disability retirement benefits for them.
Two further things to consider: First, I rarely accept cases where an individual has filed the application, gotten it rejected, filed for reconsideration, gotten it rejected, and then went to the Merit Systems Protection Board where the Judge upheld OPM’s decision to deny the application: when an individual has gone through all three Stages, and asks me to file a Petition for Review, I will normally not take on such a case. I will, of course, consider being hired to re-file the case (assuming that the person has not been separated from service for over a year); but I cannot take on a case for a Petition for Review and further appeal when I have not been the one instrumental throughout the first three stages of the process. Second, many individuals come to me with barely 30 days left to file. I take on such “emergency cases” on a case-by-case basis, depending upon my time-allowance, my schedule, etc.
The Lesson: Each individual must make the decision as to whether or not to hire an attorney, which attorney to hire, when to hire. From my perspective: Federal Disability Retirement is, when all is said and done, a process to secure the financial future and stability of one’s life. As such, hire an attorney who specializes in Federal and Postal disability retirement, and hire one early on in the process.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire