This article will serve as the first of two parts about the MSPB and the Appellate Process.
It is important for Federal Employees to be familiar with their rights and how the appellate process for their Federal Disability Retirement claim works. Initially, a Federal Employee (called a claimant at this stage) applying for Federal Disability Retirement will submit their application to the Office of Personnel Management or OPM. There are three main eligibility requirements for Federal Disability Retirement, you must be a FERS career employee, you must have 18 months of creditable service, and you must have an injury or illness that is preventing you from fully performing your job duties. The OPM will decide whether or not to approve your application based upon their examination of the submitted documents and pertinent facts.
Once submitted, and if the initial submission is denied, (based upon OPM’s claim that there is a burden the claimant is said to have not met), the next step in recourse for the claimant (now called appellant) is to seek reconsideration of the denial. Reconsideration is part of the appellate process and commonly referred to as step two. At this point, the appellant can submit additional medical evidence in an attempt to have the initial decision “reconsidered” and overturned.
However, if the reconsideration step does not overturn the initial decision of denial for Federal Disability Retirement, the appellant can submit an appeal to the Merit System Protection Board (herein referred to as MSPB). If the MSPB has accepted the appellant’s case for review, it is assigned to an administrative judge. At this point, both the agency and the appellant will be informed of MSPB’s decision to consider the appeal. The agency will receive an Acknowledgment Order and a copy of the appeal filed by the appellant.
The agency has the ability to file a response to the appeal filed by the appellant whereby the administrative judge will review the responses of both parties and direct either or both parties of any subsequent pleadings necessary to qualify this step in the appellate process.
To Be Continued…