It is often a necessity to be reminded that the preparation, formulation, and ultimately the filing of a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS, with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is an administrative process.
By “process” is meant that it involves multiple levels of time frames and stages, and is not merely constituted by a single “filing” of paperwork. It is not a defined “right” to a benefit which is triggered by a certain event — such as age, filing of a form, etc. Rather, it is a benefit which is determined by an administrative process of eligibility.
One must prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that one is “eligible” for the benefits. In order to do that, one must, of course, meet each of the legal and regulatory criteria as set out by statutory authority, regulations propounded by the Office of Personnel Management, and case-law authorities handed down by the Merit Systems Protection Board and the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.
As such, time frames for issuing determinations are made by the agency granted such authority — the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. And, further, the process will often necessarily involve multiple stages — the Initial Stage, the Reconsideration Stage, an appeal to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, then a Petition for Full Review, and if necessary, an appeal to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.
Time frames, stages, applicability of the law, meeting each of the statutory requirements — they all constitute a long and complex “process”, and one which must be dealt with whether one agrees with it, wants to, or is somehow unprepared to do so.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire