When a denial is received at the first stage of a Federal Disability Retirement application process, the initial, reactive response is often one of two avenues, both of which are the wrong paths to venture down: either a Federal or Postal employee immediately writes an angry, emotional response or he/she gives up and decides that the statements made, the reasons given, etc., in the denial letter from the Office of Personnel Management are too powerful and overwhelming to overcome.
Both responsive avenues constitute the wrong approach; neither responsive approach reflects the true state of the case.
While there may be cases where the applicant has failed to make even a minimal attempt at meeting the burden of proof in a Federal Disability Retirement application, such a case is one in which the undersigned attorney has never encountered. For, there is a presumption (a truthful one, I believe) that filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is never out of choice, but always out of necessity.
Federal and Postal workers don’t file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits without good cause. In a denial letter from the Office of Personnel Management, the statements made and the claims of rational discourse as to the reasons for the denial, do not mean that they are true. Just because OPM says so, doesn’t make it true. Careful thought, reflection, and thoughtfulness of strategy in responding to an OPM denial is what is needed. Do not react — at least, not initially.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire