Many Federal and Postal employees get to that Stage — Stage 3 — an appeal to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board. At this Stage, all reasonable attempts to persuade the medical specialists at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management have failed.
At the First Stage of the process, you filed your best shot and provided the utmost of medical documentation, but they denied you, anyway. Perhaps it was because your previous year’s performance ratings were excellent, and you may have even received a cash award. Or, maybe the medical opinions of your doctors were not sufficient. Maybe OPM wasn’t persuaded that your condition would last at least 12 months.
Whatever the reasons, you had to go through the Second Stage of the process — the Reconsideration Stage. You gathered whatever else you could, and submitted it within the timeframe allotted. You hoped for the best. When the denial came — the Second Denial — you knew you were in trouble. The MSPB? How are you going to maneuver through that complex maze before an Administrative Judge?
And this is essentially the “last stop” — for, if you don’t win it here, you will likely not prevail at a Petition for Review, and going to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals is prohibitively expensive, and likely not winnable. Yet, the MSPB opens up a great opportunity — for, what most people don’t realize, is that it is an opportunity for “the Quiet Win”.
Before you ever go to a Hearing on the case; before you have to prepare your Pre-Hearing Submissions — it is an opportunity to listen carefully to the OPM Representative assigned to your case. If you listen carefully, you will have the opportunity to quietly and behind the scenes, submit additional evidence which could result in that 2.5 Stage of the process — between the Denial of the Reconsideration Stage and the Hearing before an Administrative Judge at the MSPB.
Robert R. McGill
Lawyer exclusively representing Federal and Postal employees to secure their Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.