From the perspective of an individual Applicant for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS & CSRS, the individual applicant does not normally observe some other person’s Federal Disability Retirement application, and therefore never has the opportunity to see the “greater process” at work, or patterns of behavior on the part of the Office of Personnel Management. Yet, there are indeed patterns, and that is why an experienced attorney who has seen literally thousands of Federal Disability Retirement cases over numerous years, has an advantage in responding to OPM’s denials. Experience lends itself to greater observation. Experience over time reveals certain patterns. And patterns of behavior can reveal important principles.
Certain OPM Representatives provide detailed and (often) irrelevant factual references which can be ignored; others like to “cite the law” and believe that such citations appear irrefutable and authoritative; and still others give scant discussion to laws or to facts. Thus, there often appears to be a great chasm between the types of denials. Whether or not there are such differences, an applicant who has received a denial for his or her Federal Disability Retirement case needs to respond to any such denial with a three-pronged attack: Medical refutation; Factual correction; Legal assertion. Such an attack will cover any chasm which might exist between the different individuals who send out a denial letter. More importantly, it will cover the necessary elements for winning a Federal Disability Retirement case.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire