US Postal Disability Retirement: Making the Right Decisions before Ending up At the Merit Systems Protection Board

     Long before a Federal Disability Retirement case reaches the Merit Systems Protection Board, there were multiple decisions, reviews and considerations engaged in – both by the Applicant, as well as by the reviewing Agency, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).  Why a particular disability retirement case ends up for an Administrative Hearing before an Administrative Judge at the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), as opposed to one which gets approved at the Initial Application Stage, or at the Reconsideration Stage, depends upon a number of factors.  Who makes the decisions, considerations, and reviews such decisions at each step of the way, can often make the difference between whether a case gets approved at the OPM stage, or whether a case must go to a Hearing before the MSPB. 

     As an attorney who specializes exclusively in representing Federal and Postal employees to obtain Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS (Federal Employees Retirement System) and CSRS (Civil Service Retirement System), I have reviewed and been involved in all aspects of a Federal Disability Retirement application.  From Psychiatric conditions (ranging from Major Depression, Anxiety, panic attacks, Bipolar Disorder, Agoraphobia, etc.) to physical conditions (chronic and intractable Cervical and Lumbar pain, failed back syndrome, degenerative disk disease, plantar fasciitis, bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome, Lyme Disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, chemical sensitivity issues, Hepatitis, chronic liver and kidney diseases, visual impairment, to just name a few), as well as the combination of both (and, as an aside, many times depression becomes secondary to chronic and intractable pain precisely because of the profound and overwhelming fatigue which occurs on a daily basis), I have been able to obtain Federal disability retirement benefits for almost every medical condition there is.  This is because disability retirement is not so much concerned with a particular diagnosed medical condition, but rather, with the impact that such a medical condition has with one’s Federal or Postal job.

     At each stage in the process – from the initial application stage; if denied, then at the Reconsideration Stage; if denied, then on to an appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board —  decisions were made as to what to submit, how to respond, and what information to provide in order to satisfy the legal criteria under the reviewing eyes of the “Disability Specialist” at the Office of Personnel Management.  Such decisions are crucial and critical, at each stage of the process, in terms of whether or not a Federal Disability Retirement application will or will not be approved.  Who makes the decision; how the decision is made; what is the right decision to make – these are all important considerations to take a seriously look at, for each stage of the process. 

     When a case ends up at the Merit Systems Protection Board, it is fair to say that somewhere along the line, a decision was made (or perhaps more than one decision) which did not persuade or convince the personnel at OPM to approve the case.  That is why it is important to hire the advice and counsel of an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement law.  Yes, money and expense is always a consideration.  But how much money and expense is lost if a case is denied, then denied again, and the case ends up at the Merit Systems Protection Board?

     Long before a Federal Disability Retirement case reaches the Merit Systems Protection Board, there were multiple decisions made.  It is important to make the “right” decision before it reaches the MSPB, and an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement law is helpful to that decision-making process.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire

3 thoughts on “US Postal Disability Retirement: Making the Right Decisions before Ending up At the Merit Systems Protection Board

  1. i work in chgo. all job related injuries;in 1999 from constant work with lifting trays i developed carpal tunnel in both wrist; in 2002 i injured myself;2 herniated disc, in 2007 i injured myself;cubical tunnel in rt arm. i had a modified job that worked, but because of the nrp i was reassigned, the new assignment caused me to reinjure myself and now i’m off for six months. i have filed for social security and i’m filing for fers retirement disability, my doctor and supervisor is in agreement with me, but i’m afraid i’ll mess up my part.

  2. Hello, I returned to work after bilateral carpal tunnel and arthritis surgery as letter carrier in 2014, just to wind up diagnosed with severe tendinitis in both elbows in same year. I filed workers comp claim recently, and supervisor already told me (before being approved or disapproved) that they would have to offer me another job. My doctor said there is no cure or surgery for tendinitis. Do I have any chance of getting disability retirement before this job completely ruins my body? My doctor is putting me on modified duty. But I have been on vacation, and just washing dishes gives me pain. I am 56 years old, with 25 years in the postal service. I think I need legal representation. My employer is the bullying type and I believe I am already seeing indications of retaliation for filing this claim.

  3. Hello, I have served in USPS for 17+ years. I suffered an on the job injury in early 2008,(to my arm) which resulted in my having surgery with a 5% disability rating end result. In 2012 I was diagnosed with Lupus(SLE),Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia. I have an FMLA for this. I however suffer on a daily basis with these ailments. Recently because of reconstruction, and jobs being abolished, I was forced to bid and take another job. Within a month after starting the job I was experiencing even more pain and eventually I injured my shoulder and reinjured the area where I had the surgery years before, because of the type of movements I had to make to do the job. As of result of injuring that shoulder, I was diagnosed with degenerative arthritis, tendinitis and bursitis, which were aggravated and activated by the injury. The injury also aggravated and activated the injury had in 2008. My doctor had stopped me from working and has now limited what I can do at work. My doctor has also told me that my condition is not going to get better, but it is going to get worse. There is no cure. I am totally depressed about all of this, and live daily in pain. I want to file. I am 59yrs old. Where do I start?

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