It is always striking (and suspicious, of course) when an individual tells me that his or her Agency has said that they will “OK” the Federal disability retirement application. I always remind the individual that it is not the Agency; rather, it is the Office of Personnel Management which approvals or denies an application for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS. In many ways, the Agency attempts to assert for itself greater influence and impact than it really has. I try and remind people all the time that a Federal Disability Retirement application is a medical retirement application — it is not an Agency retirement application; it is not a Supervisor’s disability retirement application; it is not up to the Human Resources’ Department of the Agency. The ultimate arbiter of the entire process is the Office of Personnel Management; and the criteria for eligibility is based upon a set of statutory requirements, which must be met by a preponderance of the evidence; and the overwhelming focal emphasis concerns the medical eligibility. Agencies are too often given too much credit for the success or failure of a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS. In my view, the influence, input and power of an agency is almost always overstated.
Sincerely, Robert R. McGill, Esquire