Q & A Session: Letter from Congress considered official notice of OPM retirement decision?



In November 2013, I sent my local US Representative a Privacy Act Release and with a letter, I asked him to send to OPM for a letter regarding my retirement.  I did not receive a response to that letter.  I subsequently sent him additional letters to send OPM.  In these letters to OPM, I specifically stated for them to send all correspondences to me regarding my retirement.  I had been trying to get OPM to issue decisions on the type of retirement and other annuity issues.  I know once you received a decision from OPM you only have 30 days to file a request for reconsideration on an initial decision and 30 days to file an appeal on a final decision.  On May 6, 2014, I received a letter from my Congressman stating that he did a Congressional Inquiry on my behalf.  In response, OPM sent him a letter stating that they finalized my retirement on April 3, 2014.  However, I did not receive any decision directly from OPM with reconsideration or appeal rights.

Is the letter from my Congressman considered an official notice of a final OPM retirement decision, of which I had only had 30 days to file an appeal?

Doesn’t OPM have a responsibility to send decision notices with reconsideration and appeal rights directly to me?


Presumably OPM responded to your member of Congress, and not to you, because OPM was contacted directly by your member of Congress. If you have questions or concerns regarding your retirement, you should contact OPM directly. OPM’s contract information for retirement matters can be found here: http://www.opm.gov/retirement-services/contact-retirement/. You may also request and obtain from OPM records relating to you via the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552a. A Privacy Act request of information should be sent directly to OPM.

You are correct that an individual may request for a reconsideration of an OPM initial decision within 30 calendar days of the initial decision. See 5 C.F.R. § 831.109 (for CSRS) and 5 C.F.R. § 841.306 (for FERS). “A decision shall be considered an initial decision when rendered by OPM in writing and stating the right to reconsideration.” See 5 C.F.R. § 831.109(c) (regarding CSRS); see also 5 C.F.R. § 841.305(a) (regarding FERS). Upon receipt of a request for reconsideration, OPM will issue a final decision. A final decision must be in writing, must fully set forth finding and conclusions of the reconsideration, and must give notice of the right to request an appeal. See 5 C.F.R. § 831.109(f) (regarding CSRS); 5 C.F.R. § 841.306(e). An individual may appeal an OPM final decision to the Merit Systems Protection Board within 30 calendar days. See 5 C.F.R. § 831.110 (for CRSR); 5 C.F.R. § 841.308 (for FERS).

his response is written by Christopher J. Keeven, supervisory attorney of Shaw Bransford & Roth P.C., a federal employment law firm.

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Shaw Bransford & Roth

Shaw Bransford & Roth provides legal representation on a wide range of employment and federal employment law issues. For more information visit us at: http://www.shawbransford.com


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  2. Pamela Section on

    I’m retiring in FERS and OPM has not given me all my years in federal service including reserve. I wrote them a letter no response yet. Do I need a lawyer?

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