Because filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS & CSRS is a process which may potentially take the full stages — from the initial application stage, to the Reconsideration Stage, to the Merit Systems Protection Board; then, if denied at the MSPB, to the Petition for Full Review, and if denied there, to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals; as a result, it is a good idea to be represented by a Federal Disability Attorney. Remember that the last two stages of the process only allow for arguing an error of law. To that extent, if one pauses for a moment and reflects — everything ultimately comes down to an error of law. Very rarely is there a misinterpretation of the facts.
In a Federal Disability Retirement case, the medical evidence is fairly straightforward. Yes, there can be some arguments concerning the interpretation of the extent and severity of the medical conditions, but the substantive focus of disagreement between the applicant and the Office of Personnel Management normally comes down to the appropriate application of the standard of law, and whether the application has met the burden of proof and satisfied the legal criteria for eligibility. As such, the essence of a Federal Disability Retirement application comes down to whether OPM — and subsequently the Administrative Judge — has mis-applied the law. Thus, at each stage of the process, it is important to lay the foundation by pointing out where the error of applying the law happened — at each and every stage of the process.
Sincerely, Robert R. McGill, Esquire