As in all areas of law, a truism which may be applicable to a particular kind of practice of law applies both generally, as well as specifically to the process spoken of. That is the nature of what constitutes a universal truth. In filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS & CSRS, the governmental agency which makes the decision in a case (the Office of Personnel Management), will often communicate directly with the applicant regardless of whether the applicant is or is not represented by an Attorney.
Indeed, OPM will often go so far as to completely ignore the attorney, thereby failing to send a copy of the decision letter, or to request additional documents. All such communication is directly to the applicant/client first and primarily, without regard to the representing attorney, in many cases. With that in mind, it is very important that the applicant communicate with the attorney.
Further, because the Office of Personnel Management is a Federal Agency which oversees thousands of cases, files will often sit dormant on some desk, or letters and decisions will be sent out without checking on updated addresses, etc. Because of this, it is important that a total effort in communication be engaged in, which means: communicating with one’s attorney on any correspondence or contact with the Office of Personnel Management.
A Federal Disability Retirement case under FERS or CSRS must be a “total effort”; it is ultimately the responsibility of the applicant, in the eyes of OPM, to respond properly. The attorney in a Federal Disability Retirement case may have the technical knowledge on how best to approach a case; it is the applicant who must still continue to be engaged in the process, in order for the entirety of the process of be workable.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire