Alas, a batch of decisions has obviously been sent out to many disability retirement applicants in the last couple of weeks, because I have gotten many calls from those who attempted to try and obtain disability retirement benefits without legal representation. In reviewing the denial decision from the Office of Personnel Management, many who have called have observed some rather amusing things, such as: “It seems like most of the decision is just boilerplate language”; “There were so many typos and grammatical errors in the decision”; “The OPM specialist referred to a doctor whom I never treated with”; “The decision said that I suffered from medical condition X, which I never claimed!” “To err is human…” is a true enough adage; but to point out the mistakes of an OPM decision for the sake of pointing out the mistakes, is a pointless exercise.
Do not fret; yes, much of the language of a decision is indeed boilerplate; OPM representatives are human, and do indeed make mistakes, and insert names of doctors and medical conditions which are not part of an applicant’s narrative; and other mistakes as well. But don’t overlook the obvious by fuming about such mistakes: if your disability application was denied, you need to take the decision seriously, identify the substantive issues which were the primary basis for the denial; ignore the tangential errors made; then proceed to address the concerns brought to light by the Office of Personnel Management. Time is of the essence, and those 30 days to file for reconsideration, and the additional 30 days given to obtain further medical documentation, come and go quickly. Don’t fume about irrelevant details; focus upon strategizing a substantive approach to getting your disability retirement application reconsidered, and approved.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire