Rarely in life does one have a second chance; in important matters, an opportunity will often present itself, and depending upon the option chosen, one must live with the consequences of such a choice, or live the remainder of one’s life with grumblings of quiet regret and remorse.
In the legal arena, the process of what the public views as “endless appeals and procedural maneuvers” allows for the litigant to have multiple chances, and not just a “second bite at the apple”, but often a third, fourth…and seemingly infinite opportunities.
For Federal and Postal employees filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, there are multiple chances at filing for and obtaining Federal Disability Retirement benefits. The only obstacle is if the Statute of Limitations has come and gone — the filing deadline of 1 year from the date of separation from Federal Service. Even that hurdle contains some exceptions — as in a Federal or Postal employee being deemed incompetent by a psychiatrist to file within the timeframe.
For those who have filed and been denied, and for some reason failed to file for Reconsideration or an appeal to the MSPB — you can refile. For those who filed and were denied at every level — you can refile. Does OPM still keep your previous file? Yes. Will they review your old file along with the new filing? Yes. But if the new filing is stronger and better prepared, you stand the same chance as a Federal or Postal employee who has just submitted an initial application.
Rarely does one get a second bite at the apple; fortunately, under our system of legal procedures, the taste of the fruit is within reach for another time, and often the taste is more satisfying than the first encounter.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire