In order for an SSA approval to have an impact upon a Federal disability retirement application, the Social Security Administration’s decision letter granting benefits must provide a detailed explanation as to the basis for the approval, delineating the medical basis, the medical conditions upon which the decision was made, etc. Thereafter, the applicant can submit the decision letter, but this is where it is important to have an attorney provide the proper legal & foundational argument — to provide the contextual applicability.
The legal basis, to start with, is found in Trevan v. Office of Personnel Management, 69 F.3d 520, 526-27 (Fed. Cir. 1995), in which the Federal Circuit Court found that in making a determination of eligibility for disability retirement, the Board (and thus, by analogy, OPM) must consider an award of SSA disability benefits together with medical evidence provided by the appellant to OPM, and other evidence of disability. This is when an attorney’s tools of “argument by analogy” and pointing out the significant contextual language in an SSA decision letter comes in handy. Next: What if an SSA decision letter is not immediately forthcoming, or does not address the same medical conditions as that applied for in one’s disability retirement application?
Robert R. McGill, Esquire