MSPB: What Role Does It Play?

Oct 23, 2013

The Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) plays a major role in a federal employee’s disability retirement claim… but only if the applicant has been denied twice by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). What does that mean?

If a federal employee is injured, ill or develops a medical condition or conditions that prevent that employee from fully performing his/her job duties, then they may be eligible for federal disability retirement benefits. Think of it as an early retirement due to your disability or inability to perform your job. Of course there are other eligibility requirements that must be met and proven, but this post is about the MSPB!

An employee’s claim for disability retirement benefits is always initially considered by the OPM. Once the application arrives at OPM, it is assigned to a legal administrative specialist who ultimately will make this initial decision. If the claim is denied, the applicant can appeal and have the application reconsidered by a different legal administrative assistant in the same office. If the claim is denied again, then the applicant next appeal option is to the MSPB.

If a claimant does elect to appeal the reconsideration decision and is successful at getting their case before the court, their claim to the MSPB will feel much more formal. The appeal will be assigned to an administrative judge who will facilitate this appeal. The perspective of your claim for disability retirement benefits will change significantly. You will now be you trying to prove that the OPM made an incorrect decision and the OPM will be trying to prove they made an accurate decision.

Remember that this post is how the US Merit Systems Protection Board applies to a federal disability retirement appeal. The MSPB is an independent, quasi-judicial agency in the executive branch that serves as the guardian of federal merit systems. The MSPB is used for resolution purposes with the EEOC, FLRA, OPM, OSC, FBI and OARM. Its mission is to “Protect the Merit System Principles and promote an effective Federal workforce free of Prohibited Personnel Practices.

Harris Federal Law Firm, has successfully represented federal employees through these stages of appeal for federal disability retirement claims for over 10 years. If you or someone you know if considering applying for federal disability retirement or already has and needs help, call our office today! We are here to help.

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