FERS Disability Retirement: Supervisors, Agencies and H.R. Personnel

Last Updated on January 9, 2023 by Federal Disability Lawyer

I am sometimes pleasantly surprised at Supervisors — ones who actually recognize that an individual filing for FERS Disability Retirement does so out of necessity, and not out of any personal or professional spite against the Supervisor or the Agency, and that the proper response to convey is one of support, empathy, and cooperation, without needing to compromise the goal and mission of the Federal Agency or Postal Service.  Further, I am often taken aback by the unprofessional and utterly unhelpful attitude of many Human Resources personnel in the processing of a disability claim.

Too often, the H.R. person finds it his or her mission in life to be an obstacle to the smooth processing of an OPM Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS.  Yet, the law is clear (though not to many of the H.R. Departments at various agencies):  it is the Office of Personnel Management which has the sole legal authority to make a positive or negative determination on a Federal or Postal Employee Disability Retirement application; at the agency level, the role of the Human Resources person is to try and expedite and efficiently process the Federal Disability Retirement application.

Hopefully, those who have the positional designation of “Human Resources” will come to realize in the future what it all actually means:  he or she is supposed to be a “resource” (a positive one, for that matter) with a “human” emphasis.


Robert R. McGill
FERS Disability Attorney


2 thoughts on “FERS Disability Retirement: Supervisors, Agencies and H.R. Personnel

  1. Question about agency role:

    -I have a pending disability retirement application that is currently located in the “Disability, Reconsideration, and Appeals Group at OPM, Wash. DC; my application was submitted by my agency (NIH) on May 9.

    -For all disability retirement applications submitted by NIH, it is standard operating procedure to have the Medical Director of the Office of Occupational Medicine review the application and write a summary on the strength of said case. This summary is then submitted to OPM and included in the pending application.

    – The summary review of my application stated that the diagnoses presented by my physicians are “justified in accordance with established diagnostic criteria…and conclusions and recommendations are consistent with accepted medical principles and practice and…disability retirement is supported by the documentation provided.”

    – My question is whether a summary review such as this one written by my agency, is taken into consideration by OPM in their decision-making process?

    Thank you.

  2. Pingback: CSRS & FERS Medical Disability Retirement: The Silhouette Man – Federal Disability Attorney

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