When a Federal Disability Retirement applicant under FERS or CSRS receives an unfavorable response from the Office of Personnel Management (translated: an initial Denial), you have the right (which must be asserted in order to move forward in the future, i.e., to the MSPB and beyond) to file a Request for Reconsideration. If you receive a second denial, then the only response required (and which should and must be asserted) is an appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board. A response to the initial denial, however, should include a reply to the (often) detailed “discussion” section of the denial letter.
Normally, when I file a response (in addition to obtaining additional medical documentation from the doctors, and any other substantiating documentation which may be relevant), I normally write up a 5 – 7 page responsive legal memorandum rebutting the denial letter. Now, this is where “discretion” is necessary. Upon an initial reading of a denial letter, one’s first response is normally not that which one should act upon, because it is often a reaction of, “What???” Discretion is a virtue to follow; there must be a proper balance between responding to every single criticism from OPM (not a good idea), to ignoring everything in the denial letter (also not a good idea), to choosing two or three of the more substantive issues brought up and addressing those issues. How to address them, with what tone, what manner & style, etc., is what an attorney is for.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire
Federal Disability Retirement Attorney