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Blog Posts in 2010

  • Federal Disability Retirement: What medical conditions can the MSPB consider if you are denied?

    A recent Initial Decision of the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) reminds us of a key tenet in filing disability retirement applications. When you file your application for disability retirement under FERS/CSRS with the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), make sure that every condition that interferes with your work is listed or identified in the application for disability retirement. If ...
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  • MSPB & EEOC: What are Requests for Interrogatory and how does the Federal Employee use them in discovery?

    Both the MSPB and the EEOC afford Appellants (or Complainants) the opportunity to pursue discovery. While the timelines and the amounts of discovery allowed are quite different, the basic ideas of what discovery is and how it should be used are very similar. There are six (6) primary types of discovery in litigation in the U.S (click on the links below for the particular type of discovery you want ...
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  • MSPB: Can an Agency remove me for medical inability to do my job?

    Generally, the answer is yes. An agency may remove a FERS or CSRS civil service employee if he or she is unable, because of a medical condition, to perform the duties of the position. But, to sustain the removal at the MSPB, the Agency will need to make a pretty convincing proof. To sustain its charge, the Agency will need to prove: a) that the federal employee has a medical condition; b) that ...
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  • 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 ...
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  • Pines Firm Successfully Litigates Reinstatement for VA Canteen Employee with Backpay

    VA Canteen Employees Have Grievance Rights! Case name: Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Houston, TX and AFGE, Local 1633 ,FMCS Case Number 100915-04342-1 (2/2/2012) Ruling: Attorney Pines and AFGE 1633 were victorious in having the arbitrator find that a VA Canteen employee was wrongfully removed, and therefore should be put back to work and paid back pay for over a year and half of ...
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  • MSPB: Federal Employee's removal mitigated to 30-day suspension

    The Full MSPB issued a decision reversing the removal of an employee of the Department of Veteran’s Affairs. Suggs v. VA, 2010 MSPB 99 (June 1, 2010). Initially, the VA removed the employee for charges of disrespectful conduct, among other things. The employee had previously received a 3-day suspension for failing to follow instructions and inappropriate conduct. The Suggs decision is a good ...
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  • Federal and Postal Employee Disability Retirement: Can the MSPB order OPM to reimburse my attorney fees?

    If a Federal or Postal employee succeeds in their MSPB appeal challenging OPM’s denial of federal disability retirement benefits, can the Federal or Postal employee recover their attorney fees? The short answer is generally yes,. To recover attorney fees before the MSPB, a Federal or Postal employee must show the following elements: 1) There was an attorney-client relationship exists pursuant to ...
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  • Federal Disability Retirement: Mental Health Conditions and late-filed Disability Retirement Applications

    This blog often references the fact that the MSPB loves its deadlines. OPM is no different. The general rule is that a Federal employee or USPS employee must apply for federal disability retirement no later than one year after separation from Federal Civil Service. In some situations, however, the Federal employee or USPS worker will not have the mental competence to file an application for ...
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  • Federal Disability Retirement: What happens when your medical condition prevents you from timely filing an MSPB appeal for disability retirement?

    The Federal employee or postal worker applying for FERS or CSRS federal disability retirement has thirty (30) days from receipt of the OPM reconsideration to file an MSPB appeal challenging OPM‘s denial of federal disability retirement Benefits. Often, the federal employee or postal worker who cannot or has not hired an attorney runs the risk of missing this deadline if their medical condition ...
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  • Federal Disability Retirement: Can absence, alone, be enough to qualify a Postal or Federal Employee for CSRS or FERS disability Retirement through OPM?

    Can absence, alone, be enough to qualify a Postal or Federal Employee for FERS or CSRS disability retirement through OPM? Generally, no. In many situations, a Postal worker or Federal employee’s medical condition is so severe that they cannot even attempt the attendance required of them. In this cases, the employee’s absence from work due to a medical condition will be a factor in deciding whether ...
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  • Federal Disability Retirement: How does a Postal or Federal Employee meet their burden of proof at the MSPB?

    Assuming that a postal worker or federal employee meets all the basic eligibility requirements for FERS or CSRS federal disability retirement, they will have to persuade the MSPB Administrative Judge that their medical condition renders them unable to provide useful and efficient government service. How exactly do you persuade the MSPB of this? There are five (5) ways a USPS or Federal employee ...
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  • Federal Disability Retirement: Do I need to hire an attorney for my disability retirement application?

    By far, the most common question that applicants for FERS or CSRS disability retirement ask the Law Office of Eric L. Pines is whether and when a federal employee or postal worker should hire an attorney. There is no easy answer to this question. No case or situation is the same, so there is no way that any attorney can give you a “standard” answer to this question. Here is the general guidance ...
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  • Federal Disability Retirement: Seeking Reinstatement of Benefits

    In some situations, OPM will grant your FERS or CERS disability retirement benefits, and later, make a determination that you are restored to earning capacity. At that point, they will stop paying your federal disability retirement benefits. Many times, this happens in the case of annuities granted for mental health conditions like depression, PTSD, anxiety or stress disorders, etc. The annuitant, ...
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  • Disability Retirement: Can obesity form the basis for an application for disability retirement?

    The subject of today’s post is whether obesity, or morbid obesity, might qualify you for FERS or CSRS Disability retirement through OPM. Obesity is a well-recognized medical condition. Unfortunately, too many MSPB judges view this condition as one that is the “fault” of the person with obesity. Medical experts have identified hundreds of medical conditions, or physical or genetic factors, which ...
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  • Federal Employee Disability Retirement: When to apply for disability retirement.

    When is the best time to apply for federal disability retirement as a federal employee or a postal worker? The quick and easy answer to this question is “when you can no longer work because of your medical condition”. If you have medical conditions, however, and you still want to work, then federal disability retirement may not be the first or most ideal step for you. Under the Americans with ...
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