An application for FERS Disability Retirement benefits should always be prepared for the “long haul”. Thus, it should be formulated, argued and prepared as if it will be denied at each stage, and will end up before the Merit Systems Protection Board.
Does this take any “special” preparation? To some extent, the answer is “yes”, inasmuch as the stages beyond the Initial Application stage before the Office of Personnel Management, then the Reconsideration Stage of the FERS Disability Retirement process, then a Hearing before an Administrative Judge at the MSPB, involves whether or not an “error of law” was made.
As such, because each of the preceding three stages of the administrative process would essentially involve foundations for a later stage of an administrative appeal, it is obviously important to know what “the law” is. One can hardly argue in the later stages what “errors of law” were made if one is not familiar with what “the law” is comprised of in the first place.
By establishing certain key foundations, and inserting legal precedents and arguments throughout the process, one has a better chance at arguing that legal errors were made by the Administrative Judge. While a Federal or Postal worker should certainly expect that his or her Federal Disability Retirement application should be approved at any given level because it has been properly prepared, it is always wise to look beyond the present, and prepare for future contingencies.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire