The problems inherent in filing a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS are multi-fold and multi-tiered. Even today, after years and years of practicing in this particular area of law, there is rarely a day which goes by that I haven’t learned something new — whether a slight wrinkle in opm disability law; whether in a nuance of a description of a particular medical condition; or in simply how a doctor has described a specific condition and its particular and unique impact upon a patient. Experience comes from making mistakes; mistakes can be human, technical, or a combination of both.
Unfortunately, for the Federal or Postal worker who is filing, or contemplating filing, for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS, the process itself is essentially a “one-time” endeavor. Yes, a person can theoretically file, then refile at a later time (side-stepping the issue of res judicata, which can, in most instances, be gotten around); but for the most part, a Federal or Postal employee who is filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is doing it once, and only once. As such, it is NOT the time to obtain “experience” — i.e., there is little room for “learning” from “mistakes”. There is “good experience” and “bad experience”, but both are experiences nonetheless. In filing an application for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS, however, it is the former which needs to be experienced, and not the latter, and in such a filing process, there is indeed a difference between the two.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire