Disability retirement, as I have often written about, is a process. Each stage of the process has certain “requirements” which should be met — by “requirements”, I mean that each stage of the process (the Initial Application Stage, the Reconsideration Stage, and the Third Stage of the Process, a Hearing before an Administrative Judge at the Merit Systems Protection Board) has certain aspects of proof, certain methods of approaching the level of satisfying the burden of proof, etc. There are, of course, the further stages of Appeal — at the Full Review at the MSPB, and the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals — but these appellate stages deal only with whether or not the Administrative Judge applied “the law” properly or not.
Thus, at the first three stages of the process, there is the necessary requirement of “winning” by submitting the proper medical and other evidence, to persuade the Office of Personnel Management and the Administrative Judge that your Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS meets the legal criteria for eligibility. This is the season for Reconsiderations; the Office of Personnel Management will often make many of its decisions just before Christmas, and just before the end of the year. If an applicant under FERS or CSRS gets denied at the Initial Stage, just make sure that you hire an attorney who knows what he or she is doing, and isn’t just a “general practice” lawyer who is as blind as the next person, and will merely be one blind person leading the blind. Each Stage of the process requires a level of expertise to meet the “requirements” necessary to satisfy that particular level; just make sure that you will be led by an attorney who not only knows what those requirements are, but further, knows how to meet those requirements.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire