The Unresponsive Agency

The complaints abound; the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is still way behind on its evaluation, review and decision-making process for all characters of retirements, disability retirements included. And now with all of the pressure to become more “efficient” under this current Administration, I am receiving reports from multiple sources that OPM is denying more and more FERS Disability Retirement applications.

It is a given that filing for Federal or Postal Disability Retirement with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, must necessarily have an expectation of a time-consuming administrative process, precisely because of the encounter with a Federal bureaucracy.

At each step of the way, OPM has become more and more unresponsive, and with new cases coming in, the length of time at every stage, and “between” stages, has been extended. The process itself contains inherent milestones of delay: from filing the entire disability retirement application to a facility in Boyers, Pennsylvania, which merely annotates the receipt of the case and inputs the case into the computer system; to thereafter sending the disability retirement application, with all of its evidentiary submissions and attachments down to Washington, D.C., where it must first await assignment to a caseworker; then, upon assignment, for the caseworker to even get to the applicant’s submission for review and evaluation. Then, of course, there is the possibility that the entire packet will be selected to be sent out for review by a contract doctor.

The delays are beyond the control of the applicant, his or her FERS Disability Retirement attorney, or the Federal agency for whom the applicant worked. It is, ultimately, an administrative process which can be tedious, time-consuming, and fraught with delays and extended periods of silence.

Patience may well be a virtue, but the unresponsive manner in which the U.S. Office of Personnel Management has handled the delays, fails to engender much confidence in a system which should be most responsive to those in greater need.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire
Federal Disability Retirement Lawyer

Any articles viewed on this blog are intended to provide information only and are not intended to be legal advice.  As laws are always in a state of change, we can’t guarantee the accuracy of the information.  For current updates of laws, rules, the current proposal for the elimination or replacing of the Office of Personnel Management, and to get a personalized assessment of your individual disability claim, please contact the author for a free first-time consultation.

The Priority of Your Health

We must always take a pause and consider those things which we often take for granted, but which form the foundation of a productive life and career.  Health is indeed one of those “things” which are taken for granted. It is somewhat like automobile insurance: one never thinks about it, until one gets into an accident.

For Federal and Postal employees who are considering filing for FERS Disability Retirement benefits, health often becomes an issue with greater and increasing focal emphasis, precisely because the corresponding ratio between “effort expended” and “result obtained” becomes out of balance, where the chronicity of pain, discomfort, and inability to physically or cognitively engage in certain duties or activities, becomes pronounced the more one attempts greater efforts.

What to do?  Preparatory work in setting the foundation for a successful future formulation of a Federal Disability Retirement application begins with a good doctor-patient relationship. It is often a good idea to begin to confide in one’s treating doctor, for that is the basis of a future formulation in considering a FERS Disability Retirement application.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire
FERS Disability Retirement Lawyer

The information presented in this blog does not constitute legal advice.  This and other articles may or may have not been previously published in other websites including but not limiting the FERS Disability Retirement website, the OPM Disability Retirement blog, the Federal Disability Attorney blog, and/or other resources in third-party websites.

FERS Disability Retirement Applicants

FERS Disability Retirement applicants are especially “vulnerable” because of the inherently precarious financial situation that an applicant often finds him/herself in, and often desperate need for an approval from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).  Most of the cases that I represent are approved at the First Stage; upon a denial, however, it is necessary to go to the Second Stage, or the “Request for Reconsideration Stage.”  An individual has 30 days from the date of the denial letter to file a request for reconsideration, then another 30 days to obtain and submit additional medical and supporting documentation.

If it is denied a second time, then an applicant has a right to file an appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB).  While the MSPB will hear the case de novo (meaning, “anew” without consideration of OPM’s prior decisions), neverthess, it is important to look upon a disability retirement case as a “case in progress”, and that is why hiring an attorney at the outset is often important.  While most “mistakes” made by an applicant are minor and correctable, everything that is submitted — the applicant’s statement, any records or reports submitted — become part of the record as a whole and cannot be retracted or erased.  That is why a thorough review by a competent attorney is important in filing for FERS Disability Retirement.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire
OPM Disability Retirement Attorney

The content provided in this article has been updated and previously published in other resources such as the Federal Disability Lawyer website, the OPM Disability Retirement blog and/or the Federal Disability Attorney blog.