OPM’s claim process is changing in response to COVID-19

Apr 6, 2020

OPM's claim process

For many of us, “social distancing” has brought our daily lives to a screeching halt, and you might expect an even slower pace at government offices. From teleworking to shutdowns, there is much uncertainty on the horizon for feds. Many are wondering about OPM’s claim process during this time and we hope to provide some clarity on this subject.

As of this posting, the OPM is still operational, and processing claims. Many at the OPM have moved to telework, which has allowed for their office to continue to function. Much of the OPM’s ability to maintain operations during these unprecedented times has come from the move to Boyers, PA, in 2018.

Unexpected efficiency

Since the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) moved its retirement processing operation to Boyers, it has had a new focus on efficiency. For years we have worked with the awareness that there was a large backlog of OWCP Workers Compensation and FERS Federal Disability Retirement claims. Those would take on average nine months to receive an approval/denial decision.

Now, the OPM – Boyers’ office has adapted their processes, become more efficient, and caught up on the backlog of applications. Not only are they up to date, but they are also focusing on making faster decisions on every case. Lately, we see decisions within weeks, and a byproduct of this has been an increase in initial denials.

What does this mean for you?

Your initial application needs to be bullet-proof. It needs to be supported by the correct medical evidence and strong legal arguments. The need for a near-perfect initial application has always been necessary, but faster decisions also mean your overall timeline is shortened. Deadlines approach more quickly, and if you don’t have experience with these types of claims, you can be left without many options.

Haven’t applied yet?

Good. Now is the time to hire an attorney. Specifically, one that has experience with federal retirement benefits and knows how to get you approved. Hey, that sounds like us.

Applying on your own might seem reasonable, but you could easily put yourself and your future at unnecessary risk. We’ve seen it too many times. Once your initial application is submitted, there is no going back. That is the application that you will have to use through any appeal at reconsideration or MSPB. Hopefully, you can see that a correct initial application is critical throughout the entire process.

Many of our clients stand to receive hundreds of thousands of dollars through disability retirement benefits. An amount of money that significant deserves the proper representation to mitigate risk. Professional athletes don’t negotiate valuable contracts without representation. Why should you?

We are blessed to have a large firm that can have team members focused on consistently communicating with the OPM about critical changes and updates. Quickly reacting to the evolving process allows us to protect our clients and maintain a 99% success rate.

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