Covid-19 Update The Federal Government is operational; the U.S. Office of Personnel Management continues to make decisions on Federal Disability Retirement cases, whether at the initial level of determination or at the Reconsideration Stage. Further, because Federal Disability Retirement hearings at the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board have always been conducted by telephone, there has […]
Category: OPM Status & Legal Updates
Preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be ultimately submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is often mistakenly thought to be a straightforward administrative process. The keyword here, of course, is “effective” — as opposed to “ineffective” or even “doomed at the outset.” What we do not know and what we assume to be true can often come back to bite us.
The recent case of Vanieken-Ryals v. OPM, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, decided on November 26, 2007, cannot be overemphasized for its importance to the Federal Disability Retirement process. It is, in my view, a landmark case which will greatly advance potential OPM Disability Retirement applicants who base their disabilities upon psychiatric conditions. In representing my clients, I have repeatedly argued that the Office of Personnel Management’s insistence upon “objective medical evidence”,…
I have often discussed the legal advantages of being separated from Federal Service for one’s “medical inability to perform” one’s job, which results in what is commonly known as the “Bruner Presumption”, where such a termination results in a prima facie showing of his or her burden of proof. What this means is that, with such a termination, the “burden of production” shifts to the Office of Personnel Management, who must disprove your entitlement to disability retirement.
The Office of Personnel Management is constantly and aggressively attempting to change the laws concerning Federal Disability Retirement, to make these disability retirement laws more difficult to overcome. Such attempts at changing the law always comes in incremental steps, and may not seem like “blockbuster” cases at the time; but the reverberating effects of such cases can be far-reaching, and impact upon Federal and Postal Workers for years to come.
I am again updating you with this informational sheet concerning Disability Retirement. Remember that disability retirement is an entitlement based upon your Federal Service. Once you have met the necessary time-requirements, it is a benefit accorded to you in the event that your medical condition renders you unable to perform the essential elements of your duties.