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Federal Disability Retirement: Can I use medical evidence after my separation to support my disability retirement application?

Federal Disability Retirement: Can I use medical evidence after my separation to support my disability retirement application?

Can you use medical evidence, developed after your separation from civil service, to establish entitlement to disability retirement? A Federal Circuit decision says yes. In Reilly v. Office of Personnel Management, 571 F.3d 1372 (Fed. Cir 2009), the Federal Circuit Court held that post-separation medical evidence can be probative of whether the appellant became disabled while serving in a FERS or CSRS position “[w]here proximity in time, lay testimony, or some other evidence provides the requisite link to the relevant period.”

Prior to this decision, the MSPB held that medical opinions rendered after a federal employee’s separation from a FERS or CSRS position are admissible evidence in his or her disability retirement appeal only if they are based on pre-separation tests, observations, interviews, and medical examinations, and address the employee’s pre-separation condition. The Federal Circuit over-ruled the MSPB holding; it said that the MSPB‘s prior holding contradicts the general rule that OPM and the MSPB must consider all competent medical evidence for a FERS or CSRS disability retirement applicant.

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 CSRS in 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) appeals to discuss the facts and law of your particular case. If you have questions about federal disability retirement under FERS or CSRS, or OPM’s denial of your applications for federal disability retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS, contact an MSPB attorney at the Law Office of Eric Pines to schedule a telephone consultation.