Monthly Archives: November 2012

Harris Federal Law Firm – Our Story

For over ten years we have been helping injured federal workers with their workers compensation claims, federal disability retirement cases and various other benefits available to federal employees.

Our first federal employee case was a USPS letter carrier injured on the job. Not only did he become a close family friend, he even worked for us assisting other federal employees after we success

fully represented him. Since then, our family has invested years researching and educating ourselves and others on federal employee rights. We have added staff and grown to the point that we can proudly report that we have helped thousands of federal employees around the nation to get the benefits they deserve.

The laws associated with the federal government can be complex and confusing and we know it is difficult for federal employees to find experienced individuals to help. Your work as a federal employee has been important to you and your service has been valuable to our country. Because of this, we take pride in helping federal employees. Our team focuses on providing the quality service necessary to earn the trust our clients place in us every day.

We Fight For Federal Employees

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There’s More to it Than Just Objective Medical Evidence

This claimant was an employee of the U.S. Postal Service from 1974 through 1999. He was a Supervisor of Computer Mail Forwarding Operations for most of his employment and still occupied that position when he first applied for federal disability retirement. After that first application for disability retirement was denied, he was reassigned to the position of Supervisor of Distribution Operations. Not one to be dissuaded, claimant filed again! But because he had been reassigned, his application was deemed to have been withdrawn and he was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. This means that he was denied because the OPM didn’t think it had power to grant anything since claimant’s first application for disability retirement was thought to have been withdrawn.

Claimant still did not give up! He filed a new application for federal disability retirement, stating that he was unable to perform his job duties because of a number of physiological and psychiatric disabilities, including chronic and severe neck and back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, major depression, and an inability to concentrate. When he appealed to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), he was denied by order of the administrative judge, despite the fact that the OPM hadn’t even bothered to show up at the hearing.

He appealed using a petition for review, arguing that the MSPB administrative judge had made a mistake. He also attached additional evidence for the Board to consider, but the evidence was not considered because the Board won’t consider evidence submitted for the first time with a petition for review unless it’s shown that the evidence was unavailable before the record was closed despite the claimant’s due diligence. Even without the aid of new evidence, the Board found that the claimant had indeed established that he had met the requirements for federal disability retirement.

Claimant had supplied testimony from his physician, psychologist, and himself as to the medical and psychological conditions that prevented him from working. While there was no documentary evidence of objective clinical findings, the Board found that it was error for the administrative judge to deny the application solely because of that. Objective medical evidence is only one of several factors to be considered by the Board. The failure to submit objective medical evidence cannot be the one and only reason for denying disability retirement.

This case teaches us that lack of objective medical evidence is not a complete bar to federal disability retirement benefits. The Board must consider other evidence that an applicant produces, and such other evidence may be sufficient in proving medical disability.

– Harris Federal Law Firm

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