In responding to an initial denial of a Federal Disability Retirement application before the Office of Personnel Management, it is important to remain professional, and not to “overload” the response with unnecessary or otherwise irrelevant responses. Initial anger and disbelief over the selective criticisms contained in an OPM denial letter should not be reflected in a response to the denial. Why not? Because there is a good possibility that the case may be denied a second time, and it may appear before the Administrative Judge at the Merit Systems Protection Board. Don’t write things to OPM that you will regret having an Administrative Judge — one who may be deciding your case — look at and read. Thus, the “first rule”: never write an immediate response back, because your anger and emotional disbelief will show itself. If you need to “get rid” of your anger and expiate the emotionalism, then write your emotional response on a separate piece of paper, then set it aside. Your “real” response will come later — when you can with a rational perspective, review the unfair and selectively biased denial letter, and begin to compose the serious response that your case deserves. Or, better yet, get your attorney to do it.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire