One can put in all of the necessary and requisite effort into preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS, obtain a comprehensive medical narrative report with supportive office and treatment notes, verifying MRIs and other diagnostic evidence, follow the informational guidelines from various research sources — and provide a compelling case based upon rational and reasoned argumentation — and still get a denial from the Office of Personnel Management.
This happens often enough, and one must conclude that, even when a Federal Disability Retirement application is prepared with the utmost of care and effort, a decision of denial can be issued against reason, or the reasons provided are selectively chosen and manufactured. It is therefore well to understand the entirety of a Federal Disability Retirement process as necessarily involving multiple stages, with internal checks and balances to ensure the “fairness” of the administrative procedure.
Thus, the first two stages of the process (the Initial Stage; then the Reconsideration Stage) are internally reviewed by the Office of Personnel Management. The Third and Fourth Stage of the process (an appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board; a Petition for Full Review) may be considered as “administrative judicial review” stages. Then, an appeal to the U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.
Each stage allows for a “check” upon the other stages of the process, and by imposing the right of the disability retirement applicant to access such “checks”, it allows for the “balance” of the process — thereby (hopefully) negating and nullifying what may have initially been an irrationally-based decision.
As Western Culture has a history of recognizing the power of rationality, it is well that an institutionalized process of “checks and balances” attempts to supersede legal decisions which go against reason.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire