When OPM denies the federal employee or postal worker application for federal disability retirement, the applicant has the opportunity to appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB). Often, during the course of an MSPB appeal, OPM will withdraw its denial of disability retirement and tell the MSPB it will grant the federal employee the benefit. When this happens, the MSPB appeal is mooted, and the MSPB Administrative Judge dismisses the appeal. Typically, within 2-4 weeks of that dismissal becoming final, OPM makes an interim payment and then begins paying the monthly annuity to the federal employee or postal worker.
In some situations, however, OPM takes forever to pay out the annuity and/or interim payments, and it can seem that OPM has forgotten about the matter. If your MSPB Initial Decision has become final, you have waited 2-4 weeks for your annuity to start, and nobody at OPM will give you a straight story, there are two courses of action you can follow:
1) File a “Petition for Enforcement” with the MSPB Administrative Judge that dismissed the appeal. The MSPB Administrative Judge will issue an Acknowledgment Order, to which both parties respond; if the Administrative Judge believes that OPM is not in compliance, then he/she will issue a compliance recommendation to the MSPB Office of General Counsel, who will then issue an Acknowledgment Order directing OPM to produce evidence of compliance, etc. This process can take several weeks to a couple months.
2) The second option is to refile your appeal. MSPB decisions and case law indicates that OPM‘s failure to issue a new decision letter granting federal disability retirement after a mooted appeal is tantamount to the issuance of another denial letter, given rise to a renewed appeal to the same MSPB AJ. The Administrative Judge will issue an Acknowledgment Order, possibly a Jurisdictional Order, and likely set a status conference with OPM and the federal employee or postal worker to find out what is going on. In total, this process can take up to 4-5 months.
There are advantages and disadvantages to both options, and to understand what those are for you, it is best to consult with a lawyer that handles federal disability retirement for USPS and federal employees.
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 Office of Eric Pines represents Federal employees under FERS or CSRSin their applications for federal disability retirement to OPM. If an application for federal disability retirement is denied, the Firm represents Federal employees under both FERS and CSRS in their MSPB appeals of denials of federal disability retirement applications by OPM.
It is best to consult with a lawyer familiar with Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) and federal disability retirement appeals to discuss the facts and law of your particular case. If you have questions about federal disability retirementunder FERS or CSRS, or OPM’s denial of your applications for federal disability retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS, contact an MSPB attorney or a Federal Disability Retirement Lawyer at the Law Office of Eric Pines to schedule a telephone consultation.