Perhaps it is an anomaly to even speak about the issue of “the responsibility” of the Office of Personnel Management — at least, from the general consensus of experiences as told by countless individuals who have filed for disability retirement benefits from the Office of Personnel Management, especially in recent years, one might conclude that OPM is slow to respond, or often refuses to respond at all. However, to be fair, OPM — as with all other Federal Agencies — is made up of individuals; and the “good” or “bad” of an Agency is entirely dependent upon such individuals. Most of the disability retirement specialists at OPM are, in my opinion, of the “good” sort. Without naming names, there are a few of the “bad” sort. Of course, that says very little, because such a generalized statement could be true of all Federal Agencies. Moreover, OPM is presently short-staffed, overworked, and way behind on the processing of disability retirement claims. What used to be a 60-day wait at the initial application stage is taking 90 – 120 days; and at the Reconsideration (2nd) Stage, what used to take 90 days is now taking 120 – 150 days, in many cases. More than the “time” it takes, however, just remember that the primary responsibility of OPM is to take a careful and serious look at your disability retirement application/packet. Also, remember that those disability retirement packets which are streamlined, logically constructed, and coherently argued, are the ones which will likely be quickly processed. Don’t just strap a volume of medical records onto an application and hope for approval; in this day and age, it might be a wise investment to hire an attorney to “streamline” your packet.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire