The timeline is an extensive one. Beyond the period from start to finish of the initial process (6 – 8 months minimum for just the First Stage of the process, assuming everything goes “right” in receiving prompt responses from the medical providers, obtaining the records; having the agency process everything in a timely manner, etc.), there is then the possibility of a glitch in the process on the part of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).
Filing for Federal or Postal Disability Retirement benefits from OPM must necessarily entail a recognition and acknowledgement of being prepared for a long and arduous wait. Then, of course, if the case is denied at the First Stage of the process, one must expect a minimum of 90 – 120 days for the Reconsideration Stage of the process; if it is denied a second time by OPM, then a minimum of 120 – 150 days at the Merit Systems Protection Board.
Further, if a Petition for Full Review is filed, it can often taken
10 months 5 years. And an appeal to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals? You don’t even want to consider that…
As such, when one is preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, the operative focus should be upon the first conceptual link in the sequence — “preparing”. The first order of business in a disability claim is in mentally preparing for the long haul. I will reiterate an oft-used quip: Patience is a virtue; ergo, Federal and Postal employees filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS must be by definition be the most virtuous of people.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire