Remember, You Have Appeal Rights

by | Feb 28, 2018

Last Updated July 10, 2024

appealRecently, nearly 600 retired federal law enforcement officers received notification their Annuity Supplement was being reapportioned to provide a former spouse with extra income. So, why is that? Why did the Office of Personnel Management do this unexpectedly? Let’s look and find out why.

Special Provisions for Federal Law Enforcement Officers

Federal law enforcement officers have special provisions allowing them to retire earlier than other federal employees. That also allows them to receive the Annuity Supplement longer.

So, let’s say you retired as a FLEO at age 50 because you met the requirements to do so. You’ve been receiving the FERS Annuity Supplement for the last few years because you’re not eligible to receive Social Security yet.

Now, let’s say a few years before you retired, you and your spouse divorced, and you’ve been paying alimony ever since. Everything is going fine, then you receive a notification from OPM telling you they are reapportioning $10,000 from your Annuity Supplement to provide your former spouse with additional income. To make up for this, the government is reducing your monthly Annuity Supplement check by $250 for the next 40 months. This may cause you to be unable to pay bills.

This is the actual scenario for those 600 retired FLEO’s mentioned earlier. The notifications came without earning and the reductions in pay were almost immediate.

Some fought back by filing appeals with the Merit Systems Protection Board saying they didn’t think those supplements would be reapportioned to their former spouses after their divorces had been finalized unless a court ordered it. After those appeals, OPM claimed they rescinded the retroactive payments, however, annuitants say their paychecks still reflect the deduction.

This highlights the importance of anyone receiving FERS benefits to speak up if you notice anything negative happening to your retirement checks. Regardless of how long you’ve been retired from federal service, you are afforded the right to appeal OPM decisions that adversely affect you and your annuity.

Filing an Appeal

You should first file an appeal with OPM requesting a reconsideration of the initial decision if it states in writing there is a right to reconsideration (normally it will). Appeals to OPM for reconsideration must be made within 30 calendar days of receiving the initial decision in writing. If OPM takes up the recon, it must issue a final decision in writing to the retiree, competing claimants, and the retirees’ former agency.

In this case, OPM’s notifications were written as final decisions, meaning there no appeal right to them. When this is the case, you should appeal directly to MSPB. Appeals to MSPB are the same for retirees as active federal employees. These appeals need to be filed at the nearest regional or field MSPB office within 30 days of OPM issuing its final decision. If MSPB accepts the appeal, it will assign an administrative judge to hear the case and issue a ruling.

If either side is dissatisfied with the judge’s decision, the case can be appealed to the full MSPB Board (currently there isn’t one because of the lack of quorum) or to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

Should the ruling be against you at the Full Board, you still have the option of filing an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

The moral of this story is to know you have appeal rights and what they are. You don’t want to be paying into the retirement system all the years you worked just to have OPM decisions adversely affect your FERS benefits if they don’t have to.

Message us & find out if you qualify today!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Recent Articles

Yes, You Can Work after Federal Disability Retirement

Have you looked at your Federal Disability Retirement annuity, a knot of uncertainty coiling in your stomach as you question - will it be enough? Have you ever wondered if you could keep working after being approved for Federal Disability Retirement? You can work...

The 4 Key Benefits of Federal Disability Retirement

Imagine a lifeline, a beacon of hope for your future when you're struggling with an injury or illness that’s impacting your federal job. That lifeline is Federal Disability Retirement. If you can't perform at least one of the essential functions of your role, you...

6 Key Reasons Why Your Disability Retirement Application Was Denied

Have you recently applied for Federal Disability Retirement, only to receive a denial? The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is denying more initial applications than ever. However, it's important to understand that a denial does not mean the end of the road for...

Federal Employee Resources

Our ever growing library of federal employee resources give you the knowledge you need to make smart choices about your future.


Frequently Asked Questions

Get the answers you need on-demand, from a team of federal employee benefits professionals.

View FAQ

Federal Benefit Webinars

Twice per month we host webinars to help federal employees better understand their benefits and answer their questions LIVE.

See Webinar Schedule

Benefit Guides

From guides to detailed charts, these educational resources will help clarify confusing federal employee benefits topics.

See our resources