What is the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB)?

Oct 25, 2016

Federal workers who can no longer perform their job duties may be eligible for Federal Disability Retirement. If you apply and are denied twice through the OPM, you can appeal that decision. This time, your case is reviewed by the MSPB. This is a much more formal process than dealing with the Office of Personnel Management.

What is the MSPB?

The MSPB is a quasi-judicial body. This means it’s a tribunal board of a public administrative agency and has powers and procedures resembling those of a court of law or a judge. They are obligated to objectively determine facts and draw conclusions from them so they can provide a basis for an official action. Those actions are able to remedy a situation or impose legal penalties and may affect the legal rights, duties, and privileges of specific parties. They also protect federal merit systems against partisan political and other prohibited personnel practices and ensure adequate protection for federal employees against abuses by agency management. Their organizational values are Excellence, Fairness, Timeliness, and Transparency. Another aspect to the MSPB is that they review significant actions of OPM to assess the degree to which those actions affect merit.

How does the MSPB play a part in Federal Disability Retirement cases?

If your case is denied at the Reconsideration level, you can appeal that decision. Your appeal must be filed within 30 days after the date of the decision, or 30 days after the receipt of the decision, whichever is later. There is an e-file system in place that makes it easier to appeal within the allotted time. In your denial packet, you will be provided with the address of the MSPB. Make sure to verify this address! You want to ensure your appeal is sent to the correct office. At this point in the process, the OPM has no control over your case. That falls to the Administrative Judge (AJ).

Your employing agency receives an acknowledgment order and a copy of the appeal filed by you. The AJ’s decision must identify all issues of fact and law, include a summary of the evidence submitted by both you and your agency, and provide a reason as to how they came to the conclusion they did. Either party is then allowed to petition the decision to the Clerk of the Board. This is a three-member panel who will hear the case and issue a final decision. The losing party of the decision by the AJ can elect to forgo the petition for review by the Clerk of the Board. In this case, that party would petition the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

The appeal process is complicated. It is extremely difficult to navigate this on your own especially at the MSPB stage. Hiring an attorney from the beginning gives you the best chance for an approval. However, getting a denial in a previous stage does not mean you can’t get an approval at this stage. Harris Federal Law Firm has been helping federal workers for over a decade. If you are applying for Federal Retirement Disability, or have had your case denied, please don’t hesitate to call us! There are very strict deadlines to meet and we want to help you as best we can. Call us at 877-226-2723 or fill out this inquiry form for a FREE consultation.

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