Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: The Long, often Frustrating Road to a Decision

It is indeed taking an inordinate amount of time in receiving a decision from the Office of Personnel Management, for a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS.

The problem which has been identified by various personnel at the Office of Personnel Management is that there has been a steady backlog of cases resulting from various factors, including personnel attrition through retirement, transfers, etc., without an adequate rate of substitution or replacement.

This is obviously of great frustration and concern to all Federal and Postal employees who are awaiting a decision from the Office of Personnel Management on his or her Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS, but ultimately it must be accepted as part of the bureaucratic, administrative process of filing for a benefit.  

Each of the Claims Representatives at the Office of Personnel Management, when contacted, are clearly attempting to get through their case-loads, but they must review, evaluate and apply a set of criteria in making a determination on each case.  

A denial of a Federal Disability Retirement application only sets back the case further, because it then is transferred to the Reconsideration Section of the administrative process, and is reviewed anew (assuming that the Federal or Postal employee files a Request for Reconsideration within the 30-day timeframe) by a different OPM Representative.  

Frustration is a part of any and every bureaucratic, administrative process; waiting is part of that process; patience is the virtue which must be retained; and recognizing from the outset that exponential multiplication of the waiting period is the best mathematical calculus to estimate the average waiting time, then to attempt to remain productive and busy during such time, is the best (and only) approach to the long and often frustrating road to a successful outcome in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Attorney

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: Accountability

One often asks the question, “Well, how long can they…” or “Isn’t there some law that can force them to…”   Ultimately, such questions asked, and any similar or related ones, in the entire process designated as “Federal Disability Retirement process under FERS or CSRS” has to do with the question of accountability.  Have you ever noticed that, where X is accountable to Y, X can be subjected to persuasive arguments, and will often be compliant?  But the larger question is, Who is Y accountable to?  And therein lies the problem.  

That Agency to whom all other agencies are accountable, knows no sense of accountability, but will be the first to hold all others accountable.  Thus, the intermediate agency in a Federal Disability Retirement case, the one who employs the Federal or Postal employee, can be persuaded to complete the Federal Disability Retirement packet and to fulfill its obligations, because such an agency cannot “preempt” the statutory authority of the Office of Personnel Management.  But what argument can be made of the final arbiter, the Office of Personnel Management?  

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire