Last Updated on January 23, 2023 by Federal Disability Lawyer
Types of reconsideration decisions denying an applicant his or her Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS can and do span the entire spectrum, depending upon the OPM representative who writes up the decision: from half a page (barely giving a passing, respectful review to a packet which took multiple hours to put together) to over 3 pages long (in the “Discussion Section”); from merely listing general principles of law and generalized, template-like denials to apparent detailed (but very selective) references to various medical reports submitted by the applicant as part of the disability retirement packet — they all boil down to the same thing: a denial at the initial application stage.
Often, an initial reaction to the denial encompasses a myriad of responses, ranging from incredulity, to resignation, to anger, to indignation. Set aside the emotionalism. Further, there is often the reaction to that “one piece” of medical information which the applicant believes should have turned that “denial” into an “approval” — that “one piece” of medical note, statement, sentence, or paragraph which the OPM representative conveniently disregarded or chose not to reference. Don’t ruminate over it. It may well be that it was deliberately disregarded; it may even have been overlooked. More than likely, the OPM representative was fully aware of it, but decided to selectively choose his or her basis as the more “important” and “substantive” evidence, forming the core rationale of the denial. Don’t waste time. More work is needed — both medical as well as legal.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire
I applied for OPM disability retirement in January 2013 and then received a CSA # in July 2013. I had also applied for SSDI the same time and I was approved for SSDI in June 2013. I waited 3 months like the letter from OPM instructed to check on the status of my OPM disability claim. I called OPM September 2013 (couldn’t believe it a person answered, because the phone is always busy) and she said that my claim was sent to Washington DC and had a review date of January 25, 2014. I kept calling after January 25, 2014 and only received a busy signal, so I sent an email and received an auto reply that someone would answer my email in 30-45 days. February 27, 2014 I received an email that my claim was located in the Disability Reconsideration and Appeals group. The email also stated that they were determining my entitlement. I cannot reach anyone at this department either. So I have turned the internet to find answers and found this site. I am very confused. I have never received a denial letter and I am wondering why my case in a the Disability Reconsideration and Appeals group when I have never been told that my claim was denied. I am so confused. Is it normal for a claim to go to the Disability Reconsideration and Appeals group when I have never received a letter of denial. Everything I have read on the internet states that I should have received a letter of denial and then I have 30 days to file a reconsideration to get assigned to this group. Please can anyone advise me what to do or if they have encountered this? Is this process normal? I had no problems with SSDI being awarded to me and they have deemed me 100% disabled.
I also have this situation. Did you discover what was/is going on?
No not really. But shortly after this post I received a denial letter. I have appealed and hope for the best. I understand they are very busy and short staffed according to what an email they sent me. I wish I could tell you more. I guess being approved for SSDI has no bearing on their decision. I sent them more medical records as requested by the denial letter and hope that will help them reconsider my case.
I received my OPM approval today. SSDI was denied, waiting on appeal.
Congratulations Rodger. I still have not received an approval for OPM. Was your disability fibromyalgia?
I applied for retirement disability back in January 2016. Today is October 14, 2016 and I haven’t gotten a response yet. I got a letter back on May 14, 2016 stating my package was incomplete and other documents were needed. These documents were sent to them on May 18, 2016. I called today and after waiting 55 minutes to speak to someone, I was told the status in the computer shows my claim was still waiting on the “Missing” documents…really? I was given the number of the individual working my case, but I couldn’t get her..in fact, it was the wrong number. VA and SSDI has approved my claims. I was determined to be Totally and Permanently Disable and Unemployable. Social Security had their doctor to examine me and I was determined disable as well. But as of today, USDA and OPM has not made any kind of decision. I’ve called so very many times and I just can’t get any type of answer at all. I have not been denied or approved. I am confused as why it is taking so long to make a decision and I don’t understand to difficulty of finding out what’s going on
I also have had the same exact scenario. Became 100percent ssdi over a year ago got opm’s denial and put the appeal in right away. It has now been a year and I have not heard from them. I was trying to find a good fax number because I have emailed twice. I very frustrated and feel like I cannot advocate for myself very well. I am wondering if it worth it to go to a congressman or hire a lawyer.?
My case has not been approved or denied. In fact, it hasn’t been assigned to anyone for review and I applied on January 2016. I have been approved by Social Security and VA has found me to be totally and permanently disabled and has granted me 100% and unemployable status. But, as of yet, I haven’t heard anything at all from OPM in DC….go figure.
I called again today as I was instructed to see the status of my claim. I was told the person that had been working my claim is no longer in that department and that my case was still in the hold status waiting for paperwork that was sent by United States Department of Agriculture, ARS/AFM/HRD/Retirements and Benefits Section back on May 16, 2016. I have an email confirmation dated May 18, 2016 at 1:55pm that the requested documents were faxed to them. I was then told that Gloria Silvers would be working my claim and was in the process of being transferred to her when the phone was hung up. I tried for over an hour to call back. When I finally got through and had to wait for another hour to speak to someone, I still didn’t get anywhere. An operator named A.J. answered the phone and I explained to him the situation and he told me my case was still waiting to be assigned to someone and wanted to transfer me to the main line (that I had already called over five times and left messages that has NEVER been responded to over the last six months) but I asked him to let me speak to a supervisor of that department. A.J. transferred me to the same main line that I asked not to be transferred too…REALLY….is this the customer service that is common in this branch of OPM?!! I am going to contact the Director directly to see if I can get anywhere.
I applied for disability retirement Feb 2016. In August 2016 I received a denial letter because I only met 5 of the 7 criterias. That was because my reasonable accommodation paper was done wrong due to bad information from my Regional HR Office and the other reason was because my medical doctor didn’t say verbatim “my condition would last longer than a year”. Within 2 weeks I returned reconsideration papers along with tge new paperwork. Here it is Jan 2017 and still have not had a decision made even with a congressional inquiry.
Dear God! me too am waiting.. have been waiting and I am still working thought its getting tougher and tougher everyday. I fell off my porch Easter sunday because my work injured knee gave out and I lost my footing…fell over backwards from the top step…hit my tailbone first then my head and my brain jolted foreward… I haven’t been the same since…owcp wont acknowledge it as a consequential injury… so I was on lwop because walking became progressively worse… They did approve an mri and ct of my hip… anyway…I am not improving and since nothing was coming in I had no other choice after a month and a half of rest to go back to work… I’m on light duty now because I will never be able to get my initial job back…why does it take so long for this process..how frustrating..ssd was ready to approve me but because I went back to work my income was too high……
I applied opm medical retirement and ssdi on October 2016,SSDI got approved on January 2017.Jan 11,2017,received a letter from OPM telling me that on the first business day of February 2017,payments will be directed to my financial institution that I provided to them but unfortunately nothing came in.I emailed OPM to follow up but they only sent me an automatic reply, not until on Feb 14, received an email saying my application is located at Disability reconsideration and appeals group and gave me a number to contact.I had been contacting that number but it’s always busy or just a recording.I’m confused!
What is the fax no for reconsideration branch?
The OPM Reconsideration Branch fax numbers are….202-606-1957, 202-606-1686, 202-606-0578. Best of luck!