There is a singular focus when preparing for a Hearing at the Merit Systems Protection Board: that of persuading and convincing an Administrative Judge that you have proven, by a preponderance of the evidence, that you are entitled to Federal Disability Retirement benefits. Of course, as I have often pointed out in the past, the full and complete preparation for an MSPB Hearing should have come about throughout the first two stages of the process — in the initial application for Federal Disability Retirement, and in responding to the Office of Personnel Management at the Reconsideration Stage of the process. The fact that the Office of Personnel Management denied a case twice does not mean that the Applicant or his/her attorney did anything “wrong”; rather, it merely means that the Office of Personnel Management was wrong twice over. Beyond the singular focus upon the MSPB Administrative Judge, there must be a multiple focus before the actual day of the Hearing: Prepare, prepare, and prepare. That means: Go through the Agency records with a fine-toothed comb; prepare by anticipating any cross-examination questions which OPM may have; prepare the witnesses; prepare the closing argument. Preparation is the key to every litigation, and a Hearing before the MSPB Administrative Judge is no different.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire