The Office of Personnel Management essentially renders both approvals and denials of a Federal Disability Retirement application with a “template” approach. This is not surprising, but it is little noticed, and this is why: For disabled Federal and Postal workers who file for Federal Disability Retirements benefits under FERS or CSRS, and who are not represented by a federal disability attorney, it is their “one-and-only” exposure to the Office of Personnel Management.
Thus, if an approval is received, that approval is the first and only time of having any correspondence from the Office of Personnel Management. Similarly, if a denial is received, then that is the first exposure and contact from the Office of Personnel Management. There would be no way of knowing whether or not the approval letter, or the denial letter, was or was not a “standard template”. Certainly, in a denial letter from the Office of Personnel Management, there are references to submitted medical documents, or supervisor’s statement, or some other document which was part of the Federal Disability Retirement application; but the remainder of the denial letter is in “template form”.
However, when an attorney represents a Federal or Postal worker and receives an initial denial letter, or a denial at the Reconsideration Stage, it is an obvious issue, because any attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement law has viewed hundreds, if not thousands, of such letters. Why is it important to recognize that the format is in “template” form? For many reasons. The type of template; from whom the template is received; the extent of the template; the issues presented in the format; these are all helpful for any experienced Federal Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement law, to successfully answer such formatted denials.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire