Good news for any federal employees waiting to hear from OPM regarding an MSPB Petition for Review for your Federal Disability Retirement application, the machine is back up and running and now begins to work through the backlog after a long hiatus. MSPB has been unable to hold a quorum since January of 2017 due to not having enough members on the council. The Board needs to have at least two of the three seats filled in order to have a quorum.
On Tuesday March 2nd, 2022, the United States Senate approved two out of three nominees put forth by President Joe Biden. Raymond Limon is now expected to have a term lasting until March 1st, 2025, and Tristan Leavitt will be with the board until the expiration of his term on March 1st, 2023. A third nominee, Cathy Harris was also presented and was approved in June of 2022 to complete the quorum.
This means that with the seats now filled, MSPB can now begin to work through the backlog of over 3,500 petitions that accumulated over the last five years. Though nominees under former President Donald Trump never submitted, they received a floor vote within the Senate. Last month, dozens of organizations wrote to leaders of the Senate to urge them to confirm Biden’s nominees for the MSPB seats.
What does this mean if you are one of those petitions?
This is merely the first step on getting through these cases, but it does mean that you can hopefully be expecting some movement on your petition over the course of the next year. The new council members have stated that getting through the backlog is their number one priority. With this massive of a backlog, it is likely that their first year will be used trying to make properly informed decisions on these cases, rather than rushing through them. It is vital to note that if your petition was submitted before January 7th, 2017, now that the quorum is restored your petition is now in line to be reviewed. If your petition was submitted after this date, your petition will be reviewed in the order they were received, following the cases submitted prior to January 7th.
The increased financial strain that this backlog has caused many federal employees to experience is also something the MSPB board is now being forced to think about. Backpay for cases pending final decision is still accruing as the board makes their way through them.
If you have recently received an appeal denial and are beginning the process of submitting a petition to MSPB, please note that you must file your petition for review within 35 days of the initial decision. This time frame is crucial in getting your petition considered. If you have questions regarding this process our team is here to help. The wait time for appeal hearings for these new petitions will still likely remain high during this time while they review the petitions in the backlog.