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FERS Disability
Reasons Your FERS Application May Be Denied

If the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) denies your Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) disability retirement application, you can reapply if there has been a material change in your circumstances.

But getting a denial isn’t always the end of the road. You may have options to ask for reconsideration, or you can appeal a refusal of benefits. And the help of a good attorney can protect your rights during the application and appeal process.

If you are looking for a good FERS disability attorney, you are on the right page. The Federal Employment Law Firm of Aaron D Wersing PLLC exclusively handles employment law cases.

We provide award-winning advocacy. Please contact us for help with your federal employment needs. 

Why Was My Disability Retirement Application Denied?

The FERS disability retirement application process is detailed and complex. There are also several rules regarding who can and cannot receive disability retirement benefits.

The OPM might have denied your retirement disability benefits because it believed you were not eligible or because you did not submit an adequate application.

1. Denial Because of Ineligibility

Can you be denied retirement benefits? The answer is yes. The OPM can deny your FERS disability retirement benefits if one of the following circumstances applies to you:

  • You don’t have a disabling condition that is expected to last for at least one year from the time you filed your disability retirement application;
  • You haven’t completed at least five years of creditable civilian service;
  • Your disabling condition is still compatible with your ability to keep your job and hasn’t caused a deficiency in your performance; or
  • Your federal employer is able to accommodate you. 

The OPM might also deny or dismiss your application if you don’t adequately explain how you meet each eligibility requirement. Our skilled and knowledgeable federal employment lawyers can ensure that your application clearly reflects your right to receive benefits.

2. Denial Because Your Application Was Late

Your disability application must be timely. You must file your application while you are still federally employed or within one year of separating from your federal job. The application process requires a lot of documentation and statements from several individuals.

As soon as you notice that your medical condition is affecting your ability to work, you should contact one of our experienced attorneys.

We can help make sure you gather all the necessary information and meet the deadline for requesting benefits.

3. Denial Because of an Inadequate Application

Your disability retirement application requires detailed information from you, your employer, and healthcare professionals who have treated you or have information about your condition.

And all statements in your application should corroborate each other. If there is a lack of detail or there are discrepancies, the OPM may refuse to give you benefits.

You can prevent discrepancies and a lack of detail by: 

  • Thoroughly understanding the requirements of your job,
  • Thoroughly understanding the nature of your condition, and 
  • Effectively communicating these elements of your job and the nature of your condition to your healthcare providers and on your application. 

We can help you with all of this.

Along with your disability retirement application, you must also apply for Social Security Disability (SSD)  benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA).

To prove that you applied for SSD benefits, you must give OPM a copy of your application receipt and a copy of the SSA’s notice of approval or disapproval of your SSD application.

If you do not take these steps or provide proof of your application status, the OPM may dismiss your FERS disability retirement application. 

What You Can Do After a Denial

You have a handful of options to obtain a better result if the OPM denies your request for benefits. These options include the following.


Generally, you have only one chance to apply for disability retirement based on the same circumstances. However, you can reapply for disability retirement if there is a material change in your circumstances, such as a deterioration of your condition.  

Requesting Reconsideration

In many cases, the OPM gives applicants a written initial decision regarding their right to benefits. After the OPM makes the initial decision to deny your retirement application, you have 30 days to ask the OPM to reconsider its decision.

After reconsidering your case, the OPM issues a written final reconsideration decision that includes its findings and conclusions and information about your right to appeal.

Appealing the Denial

You can appeal your denial to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) if the OPM does not grant you disability retirement benefits after a reconsideration. And if the initial decision you receive is an initial final decision, you must appeal directly to the MSPB. In general, you have only 30 days to file your appeal, and it must be in writing.

Any attempt to seek benefits for retirement disability must include detailed documentation, a clear explanation of your circumstances, and timely filings. We can handle these tasks for you and maximize your chances of receiving your well-deserved benefits.

Speak to Attorneys Who Can Turn a No Into a Yes

Whether you are on the first, second, or third bite at the apple in your request for retirement benefits, the Federal Employment Law Firm of Aaron D Wersing PLLC can champion your rights.

We handle only federal employment cases, so our knowledge and experience are extensive. An award-winning attorney leads our firm, and we are passionate about protecting federal employees.

You can contact us for help today by calling or reaching out on our website.  

Author Photo

Aaron Wersing, Attorney at Law

Aaron Wersing is the founder of the Law Office of Aaron D. Wersing. Mr. Wersing graduated from the Georgia State University College of Law with a Doctorate in Jurisprudence and was the recipient of the CALI Excellence for the Future Award. Mr. Wersing previously attended the University of Georgia, where he received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Accounting. Mr. Wersing is an active member of his local community. Mr. Wersing acts as a volunteer attorney with Houston Volunteer Lawyers, the pro bono legal aid organization of the Houston Bar Association. He is also a member of professional legal organizations such as the National Employment Lawyers Association and the American Inns of Court. To reach Aaron for a consultation, please call him at (833) 833-3529.

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