A former IRS employee whose disability retirement annuities were cut off after nearly a quarter of a century of payments, has lost a bid to have those disability payments restored.

The U. S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld a Merit Systems Protection Board decision that backed the Office of Personnel Management in canceling her CSRS disability retirement annuity.

The former employee received disability retirement annuities for nearly 25 years until OPM determined that she had been restored to earning capacity. The following year, the employee applied to reinstate her disability annuity arguing that her same medical condition persisted, rendering her disabled again. OPM rejected her application saying that she presented no evidence indicating her condition still existed or was of the same severity. MSPB affirmed, but on different grounds, holding that her current medical condition did not prevent her from working as an administrative assistant.

The former IRS aide appealed, asserting that to restore her annuity she needed only to demonstrate that her condition recurred, and that the MSPB erred when it upheld OPM’s decision on a different ground.

The Federal Circuit rejected her arguments finding that to be disabled within the meaning of CSRS, she needed to demonstrate that her condition not only resurfaced, but that it prohibited her from rendering useful and efficient service. After finding she did not meet her burden of proof, and mentioning that the appeals court does not review the factual underpinnings of disability determinations, the court also rejected her argument that it was improper for the board to uphold OPM’s finding on different grounds. Because MSPB itself reviews the factual issues in a disability determination, it was free to sustain OPM’s decision as it did, said the court. Get Full Text