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