Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: The Adversarial Structure

Preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, has inherently an adversarial structure built into the entire administrative process.  This is ultimately unavoidable, but one should not be persuaded into complacency about the bureaucratic side of things, merely because a Human Resources office describes it as procedural in nature, and merely an “administrative” matter.

That is precisely why there are appellate stages built into the system — first, within the administrative procedure itself, of filing a “Request for Reconsideration” within the same agency which denies the Federal Disability Retirement application, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, then the ability to appeal the case to a separate, independent body, the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board; and further to a 3-Judge panel of the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, which is identified as a “Petition for Full Review” (PFR).  Beyond that, there is an oversight mechanism provided via further review, by the ability to file an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which reviews the legal application and its sufficiency through overview of the laws applied.

Indeed, one need only look at the structural mechanisms in place to understand that, far from being merely an “administrative” process, it is adversarial in nature, and should be treated at the outset as such.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire

1 thought on “Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: The Adversarial Structure

  1. Sharon Schrum

    I don’t have a comment to the above but I do have a question or two that I am hoping can be answered here. My husband was retired due to medical problems, he was 57 years old at the time, he is now 61 years old. can someone tell me what the recomputation is all about when he reached age 62. According to his manual, it states that when a medical retiree reaches age 62, his benefit will be recomputed as if he never left federal service at the age of 57 and he will be retired out at age 62. we need to know how this actually works and what to expect. he retired with 20 years of Federal Service non Postal. also does he need to do anythng on his part or will OPM do this on their own.

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