OPM Disability Retirement: After Separation from Service (Part 2)

Of course, it is always the separation from service based upon reasons delineated other than medically-based reasons which give rise to concerns in a federal disability retirement case.  Understand, however, that the “Bruner Presumption” is essentially a “scale-tipper” for the Office of Personnel Management (supposedly) and for the Administrative Judge at the Merit Systems Protection Board (of somewhat greater certainty).  By this, I mean merely that, with or without the Bruner Presumption, a Federal Disability Retirement applicant under FERS or CSRS must still prove by a preponderance of the evidence that he or she is eligible and entitled to federal disability retirement benefits. “Preponderance of the evidence” is essentially proof such that it is “more likely the case than not”.  Thus, when all things are equal, the Bruner Presumption is supposed to tip the scale in favor of the federal disability retirement applicant. 

On the other hand, if an individual was removed for reasons other than medically-based reasons — i.e., as a hypothetical, let’s say he was removed “for cause” — an act of dishonesty; failure to follow certain agency procedures; or whatever the case may be.  Does such a removal tip the scale the other way?  Not necessarily; however, it makes gathering the proper medical evidence that much more important, and what I often do is to try and tie in the underlying behavior which resulted in the removal “for cause”, with the medical basis — if at all possible.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

One thought on “OPM Disability Retirement: After Separation from Service (Part 2)

  1. I’ve been browsing the website that popped up during an unrelated search this evening and I’m becoming more anxious with every minute and every paragraph that passes. I was (underline WAS) a fed. I had a career in law enforcement that was cut short by both an injury and a complaint of discrimination, sexual harassment. The harassment caused such suffering and hardship that I developed a psych condition that I’m continuing to struggle with today. The injury was aggressively treated with surgery but has not been resolved to date and I’m waiting for another surgery to be authorized by US DOL OWCP. Ive been suspended recently for noncompliance, this is truly a matter of opinion. Ive been compliant for 18 years ! I didn’t attend a second opinion appt only because I was given the dates incorrectly. Also, the two appts were one day after the other and located in Portland Oregon which is a 2.05 hour drive from where I live. My disability makes public transportation nearly impossible, both the medical and psych conditions. I’m agoraphobic. I become violently ill at times when I must leave my home. This is NOT being treated because there are no psych Mds in my city that accept ACS as an insurer. I cannot pay out of pocket because im already paying pretty much out of pocket for diabetes and thryroid disorders which take a good 4 to 500$ per month out of my budget.

    Those two are frequently the ‘Peters’ who pay ‘Paul’ after being robbed at gunpoint, knife point, beatings etc (some blood is usually involved). Its good to see an attorney who is devoted to representing us. We are stomped on too much. I’m fearful about going into this process because all involved can be so arbitrator have been given way too much discretionary power. I’m just hours away from utility shut offsband eviction because one man didn’t like the way I answered him over the phone. It shouldn’t have be so easy for any one individual to make such decisions that can have such life changing ( or ending) consequences. Ive been fighting the desire to eat a bullet for 20 year’s now. I didn’t think id ever lose the fight. I guess I should’ve been clearer about what the word ‘losing’ has always meant. Thank you for helping those who are able to access you as a resource and advocate.

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