What is the processing time for FERS disability claims?
Under the Federal Employment Retirement System, federal employees who are unable to work due to a medical condition may qualify for disability benefits.
However, if you are looking Irons Benefits, you may be wondering: “What is the processing time for the FERS disability pension?” After answering this question, you may be wondering, “Why is it taking so long?” Is there a way to speed up the process? »
While there are many intricacies and pitfalls to be aware of when researching FERS benefits, this article will help answer some of the most frequently asked questions about FERS disability retirement processing time.
Processing time for FERS disability pension
Applications can sometimes be processed by the Office of Personnel Management in as little as three months after receipt. Sometimes it can take more than a year. However, OPM decisions often take six to nine months.
Worse still, if an employee does not have a timely response and is fired or placed on unpaid leave but does not have significant savings, the loss of work capacity could cause him significant financial difficulties and/or generate concerns about health insurance and treatment costs required for their condition.
As mentioned earlier, a number of factors can affect how quickly your request is processed. The main contributing factor is that the OPM, which is responsible for processing these requests, generally reviews them in the order in which they are received. It may take some time for your application to be processed, let alone forwarded to a specialist for review and decision, since the OPM is responsible for all federal employees.
Even if you can’t make it to the front line, following the OPM protocol when submitting all your documents the first time can help ensure that you won’t have to wait in line again.
Another important factor that can impact how quickly you get to a decision is your employment status within the organization. When you submit your application, if you have been out of federal employment for more than 30 days, it may be reviewed more quickly.
This is because you send your application directly to the OPM in Boyers, Pennsylvania, where it is processed and assigned a public service pension number. Following issuance of a CSA number, the application is forwarded to an OPM specialist for review.
Compare that to the application process for someone who is currently employed or will be removed from their position within 30 days. In such cases, a request must pass through numerous offices of the individual’s agency before it even arrives at the OPM. Your application is first processed by the local institution you work for. The local institution may be responsible for completing certain forms required as part of the application before the package proceeds.
Additionally, many agencies will then forward your application to their HR department for processing and completion of any additional information required, for example, certification of service time, leave taken and balances, accommodation efforts, and any relevant job descriptions. Following this, your file will be sent by your agency to the OPM in Boyers for a CSA number and a determination.
Is there an appeal if I don’t receive a timely decision?
Based on more recent case law, you have 18 months from the date of the retirement decision to file an appeal with the United States Merit Systems Protection Board alleging an implied denial by the OPM. All of the above will likely be thrown out by the judge without prejudice as the OPM has not made a final decision. They will have you re-file once you have a final decision.
There is usually an additional administrative appeal to the OPM called a “Request for Reconsideration” or RFR, which must be made before you can appeal a denial judgment to the MSPB. To file an RFR with the OPM Reconsideration Branch, you have 30 days from the date of the initial denial. You can attempt to reverse the denial by submitting additional medical information and explaining the reasons for the PMO’s denial. The review could take another 6-9 months.
After you receive this RFR decision, you will have 30 days from the date of the decision to file an MSPB appeal.
After you file your appeal, the MSPB will assign a case number and judge, and the OPM will appoint a representative from its headquarters in Washington, DC. Unlike the medical specialist who decided your case, this appointee is usually a paralegal or legal administrative professional.
A list of witnesses who can back up your claims should also be prepared at this stage, along with all of your supporting evidence. It will be more difficult to have your evidence accepted in your file later on when you provide it in the MSPB procedure.
The OPM’s designated representative will be responsible for supporting the OPM’s decision in court at this hearing. This is also your chance to counter the OPM’s reconsideration decision with supporting arguments and data. After the hearing, the judge will make a decision, which could take months.
The decision will take effect after 35 days if authorized, and the OPM will then have an additional 20 days to send you a letter approving your Federal Disability Retirement. Once your file is settled, you will receive any eligible arrears to which you are entitled.
Applying for a disability pension can take a while, but there are ways to speed up the process. The application package is lengthy and requires a variety of forms, letters, and other documents from your agency, doctor, and/or office.
The OPM will be more likely to approve an application that is properly completed, well organized, and contains all the necessary information that the OPM will be looking for. This will also speed up the review process.
Amanda Smith is a partner in the Buffalo office of Tully Rinckey PLLC, where she focuses her practice on federal and state labor and employment law.
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