OPM Disability Retirement: Stages

Life brings about natural “stages” — paralleling certain age requirements, with subsets and parenthetical footnotes as to each.  As the queried riddle posed by the Sphinx (“What has four legs in the morning, two legs in the afternoon, three legs in the evening, and no legs at night?”) brings about clarity of identity, so the stages of life provide a glimpse into the inherent complexity of man’s psyche.

It is, in part, an inevitability; but to say that all such epochs of behavioral vicissitudes are pre-determined or otherwise inevitable, is to ignore man’s free will, and the capacity to adapt, change and recognize the surrounding environment and realign accordingly. Do artificial stages reflect or parallel man’s natural stages?  One wonders.  For, as man is the creator and inventor of such artifices, do we recognize the inevitable parallelism between that which we mold, and from which we conform the substratum of life?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Service Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the administrative process identified as “Federal Disability Retirement” presents itself in multiple potential stages, also.

There is the initial application stage; then, if it is denied by OPM, one has the second Stage to have it “Reconsidered” (and thus the name, the “Reconsideration Stage”); if denied a second time by OPM, then one can appeal the Federal Disability Retirement case to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board; and further, if the Administrative Judge at the MSPB rules against the Federal or Postal employee in a Federal Disability Retirement case, one has the further appellate right to file a Petition for Full Review, then an additional appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, or to bypass the Petition for Full Review and go directly to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

Somewhat like the Riddle of the Sphinx, there are normally 4 (sometimes 5) stages to most administrative processes, and Federal Disability Retirement is no different.  The difference is found in the fact that, unlike those complex stages in natural life, we have the capacity and opportunity in engaging the artificial stages presented, to add, make corrections, and supplement the mistakes made previously.  But that we could do more of that in our natural lives!


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


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