The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) adjudicates federal disability retirement claims on the initial and reconsideration levels. When making a decision on a specific file, the OPM Legal Administrative Specialists have to make a determination based on seven different criteria. If the applicant satisfies all of the qualification standards and supports it with adequate evidence, then the claim is approved. If the evidence is insufficient, or the applicant doesn’t understand what the requirements are, a denial decision is issued. If the claim is denied at reconsideration, the applicant must file their appeal with the Merit Systems Protection Board. The MSPB is a more formal process that is overseen by an Administrative Judge to determine if the OPM’s decision was correct.
The Importance of Legal Help
Working with an experienced representative, like Harris Federal Law Firm, can give you a trusted resource to ensure that your case is presented in the most positive fashion possible, and give you the best chance for success. Anyone is allowed to represent themselves, but for most federal employees, it will be their first time dealing with these specific forms and agency procedures, as well as working with the medical providers and understanding what kind of evidence is necessary.
OPM Requirements for Federal Disability Retirement
The seven main questions that a federal employee must answer are:
- “You became disabled due to a medical condition that resulted in a deficiency in performance, conduct, or attendance.” Sometimes a deficiency has not fleshed itself out yet, as you have been ignoring symptoms, or your doctor’s orders. In that case, you may still qualify. Call us to get your free case consultation to determine if you are ready to apply.
- “A medical condition is defined as a disease or injury.” This one is pretty self explanatory. If you have not been diagnosed with a medical condition, this benefit may not be for you.
- “The relationship between your service deficiency and your medical condition(s) must show that your medical condition caused your service deficiency.” If you have a medical condition, but it isn’t the cause of your inability to do your job, it won’t satisfy the requirements.
- “Your disabling medical condition must be expected last for one year from the date you file your application for disability retirement.” If your disability is temporary, this is not for you. Your physicians must believe that your problems are of a more permanent nature.
- “Your inability to render useful and efficient service began while serving under CSRS or FERS.” This doesn’t mean that the condition has to be work related, only that you were not disabled when you began your federal career.
- “Your employing agency was unable to make reasonable accommodation for your medical condition.” This can be complex, speak with a professional to discuss accommodation options or request them from your agency.
- “You did not decline an offer of reassignment to a vacant position within your employing agency and commuting area at the same grade or pay level and tenure for which you are qualified.” Modified duty does not count as a vacant position, so don’t let a limited or light duty job offer deter you from pursuing your rights.
Call or email us to get more information about how we can help you determine if it is time to begin your application. Having a professional on your side can make the process be a little easier.