Being denied for Federal Disability Retirement can be discouraging but don’t give up– you still have a lot of options for your future.
If you were denied Federal Disability Retirement and missed the reconsideration deadline, you can reapply for Federal Disability Retirement as long as your case has developed since your last application. However, you can only submit one application after being separated. If you have already submitted your application and are subsequently separated prior to receiving a decision, you can still reapply.
The MSPB follows the legal theory of “res judicata” meaning something about your case must have changed in order for you to refile for Federal Disability Retirement. This helps to keep applicants from filing over and over if they are denied.
This article will outline the appeal and reapplication process, and how to avoid being denied again.
If you get an initial denial from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) on your Federal Disability Retirement case, you can request a reconsideration of that decision.
The OPM must receive your request for reconsideration within 30 days of the date of your initial decision letter. Based on the OPM’s reasoning for denial, you can submit additional documentation or information to support your case. If you are not able to provide the additional information within that period, you can ask for an extension. The extension would allow you an additional 30 days and the OPM must receive that request within that first 30-day time limit.
Once the OPM receives your appeal, a new Medical Specialist will be assigned to your case to review the previous decision and any new evidence provided. They will either uphold the initial denial or overturn it and issue an approval.
If your denial is upheld, you will move on to the MSPB stage where a judge will hold a telephonic hearing to determine if you are eligible for this benefit. You can file a petition for review following this hearing if the MSPB judge upholds the OPM’s denial. Learn more about Federal Disability Retirement Denials.
If you miss the appeal deadline
If you receive a denial at the initial level, are already separated from your agency, and don’t request a reconsideration, you have lost your ability to appeal.
However, if you are still on your agency’s rolls when you are denied, you may start over and file for Federal Disability Retirement again.
In order to file for Federal Disability Retirement again, you must still apply within the one-year deadline after separation, and you must prove that your condition has changed or worsened since your last application.
How do I prove my condition has worsened?
In order to reapply, something about your condition must have changed to now prove to the OPM that you qualify. A change in condition could look like:
- An increase in a VA rating
- A doctor or treating medical professional stating that your condition has worsened or is degenerative
- You have been diagnosed with a new condition
- You have started new treatments or medications
- Your prognosis is now over a year
What about other benefits?
If you were denied Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) the first time you applied for Federal Disability Retirement, you can reapply for that as well. If you are approved for SSDI this time, that could potentially benefit your case. Being approved for SSDI can prove to the OPM that your disability is preventing you from useful and efficient service.
If you were injured on the job, and were denied Federal Disability Retirement, you could potentially qualify for OWCP workers’ compensation. Receiving workers’ compensation could also benefit your Federal Disability Retirement application by showcasing an occupational disability. However, if you are approved for both of these benefits, there will be an offset.
Avoid being denied again
Ideally, you would never be denied for Federal Disability Retirement, but denials happen and it’s important to know how to avoid them. To qualify for Federal Disability Retirement, remember
- Your prognosis must say it’s expected to last at least one year
- You must have in-depth documentation from your doctor and should still be treating with your doctor
- You must show how your disability is affecting your ability to perform your job
It is recommended to seek legal guidance in order to avoid being denied again and to make the process significantly easier.
It’s important for your case to be as strong as possible from the initial application, but if you are denied, you still have options. Our firm is here to help you through any stage of the process whether you are just applying, appealing to the OPM, or are reapplying. Having the right legal representation can be life-changing and take the stress off your shoulders.
Schedule a FREE consultation with our office today and let us help secure the future you deserve.