Each Stage in the process of proving eligibility for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS requires a unique approach and methodology of response. It requires the combination of responding to, and thoroughly completing, forms required to meet the criteria at the initial stage of the process; of responding to any perceived lack of evidence in responding to a denial at the First Stage of the process, issued by the Office of Personnel Management, and therefore requiring a Request for Reconsideration; and finally, an ability to persuade an Administrative Judge at the Merit Systems Protection Board of the completeness of the application for Federal or Postal Disability Retirement, as well as to prepare the case well for submission of further evidence.
There are, in addition to the three stages mentioned, two further stages of the process (a Petition for Full Review to the Merit Systems Protection Board, which is comprised of a panel of administrative judges; and then to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit), but both such appeal stages will only review the issue of whether or not there was an “error of law” committed by the Administrative Judge at the third stage of the process.
The entirety of the process is comprised of inherent complexities — involving issues of medical (obviously), legal, administrative, agency, credibility, etc. — issues impacting each Federal Disability Retirement application in its own unique and specific manner. One can try to simplify the process by breaking each component down into its basic elements, but the complexity of the whole process cannot be avoided.
Understanding each relevant component, addressing the specific issues, dissecting each, then compiling the evidence from each to make up the whole, results in wading through the complexity while maintaining the simplicity of each component part. Keep the application simple, concise, and to the point.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire