To be eligible for a disability retirement annuity under FERS or CSRS, you must be able to show that:
1) Eligibility. You completed at least 18 months of creditable service in a position subject to FERS, or five years of creditable service in a position under the CSRS,>
2) Disability.You became disabled because of a medical condition, resulting in a service deficiency in performance, conduct, or attendance (if there is no such actual service deficiency, the disabling medical condition is incompatible with either useful and efficient service or retention in her position)
3) Continuity. The disabling medical condition is expected to continue for at least 1 year from the date the disability retirement application is filed; Accommodation of the disabling medical condition in the position held must be unreasonable; and,
4) Reassignment.You must not have declined a reasonable offer of reassignment to a vacant position.
5) Appeal. If your initial request and request for reconsideration were timely, and were denied by OPM, you may have an appeal right to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB).
These elements are outlined in full at 5 C.F.R. § 844.103. By far, the second element is the most difficult to prove. If OPM denies your application and your request for reconsideration, the MSPB can consider all of the following in making the determination required by Element #2:
a) objective clinical findings, diagnoses and medical opinions,
b) subjective evidence of pain and disability, and
c)any other evidence relating to the effect of the applicant’s condition on her ability to perform in the grade or class of position last occuppied.
If you fail to submit this medical evidence, it won’t be the sole reason for the MSPB upholding OPM’s denial of your disability retirement, but it will be a reason in the analysis.
Moreover, your subjective evidence of disability and pain (i.e., written statements and testimony) will only be given evidentiary weight when it is supported by competent medical evidence. For that reason, I recommend a well-prepared medical analysis of your condition and its effect on your ability to perform the job duties of your position.
No post on this website is legal advice, is meant to be legal advice, and certainly does not serve as a substitute for legal advice. Information is power, and we are providing this information to give you, the federal employee, with some power. This information is not widely or easily accessible to Federal Employees.
The Law Offices of Eric L. Pines, PLLC represents Federal employees under FERS or CSRS in their applications for disability retirement to OPM. If an application for disability retirement is denied, the Firm represents Federal employees under both FERS and CSRS in their MSPB appeals of denials of disability retirement applications by OPM.
It is best to consult with a lawyer familiar with Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) appeals to discuss the facts and law of your particular case. If you have questions about disability retirement under FERS or CSRS, or OPM’s denial of your applications for disability retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS, contact an MSPB attorney at the Law Offices of Eric L. Pines, PLLC to schedule a telephone consultation.