OPM ignores the law. Despite over a decade since the opinion expressed in Reilly v. OPM, Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, 571 F.3d 1372 (Fed. Cir. 2009), the U.S. Office of Personnel Management continues to dismiss the relevance of post-separation medical evidence in a Federal or Postal Disability Retirement application.
OPM will systematically deny cases with the following type of statement: “You doctor stated X. However, the medical report was dated after your separation from Federal Service. Therefore, you did not establish that you were medically disabled from performing your job while a Federal employee.” Huh?
Three things stand out, of course: First, most medical conditions are progressive and degenerative in nature and do not appear on the very day a doctor examines a patient.
Second, the clear logical error of OPM’s argument is so blatant: X exists. X exists after Time-Y. Therefore, because X exists after Time-Y, X did not exist prior to Time-Y. Or: I saw a man named Tom. I saw Tom today and did not see him yesterday. Therefore, Tom was not born before I saw him today. Absurd.
And third: OPM ignores the law as stated in Reilly, where post-separation medical evidence is clearly relevant if a proper nexus is established to a pre-separation time-frame.
Don’t let OPM’s illogical interpretation of the law defeat you. Contact an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement, and beat them back in order to obtain the benefits you are entitled to.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire