All federal workers have the right to apply for Federal Disability Retirement if they have an illness or injury that prevents them from doing their essential job duties. Furthermore, if you are denied at the initial stage through OPM, you also have appeal rights. The stage that this post will focus on is the Reconsideration stage.
You will be sent a denial letter if OPM denies your case initially. In that letter, it will state that your request for reconsideration must be received by the OPM within 30 calendar days of the date of the letter. This is very important! The denial letter also gives specific reasons why your case was denied. This is helpful so that you know what type of evidence you need to submit in the Reconsideration stage. To that point, once your Reconsideration request is submitted, you do have the option of requesting an additional 30 days to submit evidence. This is beneficial when it’s medical records you need to submit.
You have three options when requesting a reconsideration.
- Have OPM make a decision based on the evidence included, along with the request form and documentation already in your file.
- Ask for a reconsideration based on the original documentation already in your file. Essentially you wouldn’t be adding any supplemental documentation. Since your case is assigned a new Legal Administrative Specialist in this stage, there is a chance that new LAS could approve your application as is.
- Request a reconsideration of the initial decision along with a 30-day extension to gather and submit additional evidence.
Seeking representation at this stage would be a good idea if you didn’t already have it. However, if you choose to do this, don’t wait long. You only have that 30-day window to submit the request for reconsideration. Applications get denied. Therefore, another reason to request a reconsideration is because if your case gets denied at this level, you do have the opportunity to appeal once more. The flip side to this is if you do not appeal at this stage and your case if denied, you have lost the right to appeal further.
The team at Harris Federal Law Firm has over a decade’s worth of experience with the appeals process. If you’re facing an initial denial, please remember that you have a tight deadline to make. Feel free to give us a call at 877-226-2723 so we can discuss the specifics of your case. You can also fill out this inquiry form for a FREE consultation.