ANSWER: By not making the mistakes you're going to make.
According to an OPM CHCO Academy Session in 2012, these are the roadblocks to moving a case forward.
44. Why do application packages take as long as 9 months?
Processing time is affected by a number of factors including, but not limited to:
- Incomplete preliminary application and need for additional documentation;
- Delays in applying for Social Security disability or providing evidence of application or denial of Social Security disability (CSRS Offset and FERS only);
- Incomplete Final package; and,
- Evidence of workers’ compensation receipt. I would add number 5. And that is sometimes OPM adjudicators can't even find my client's file.
A lawyer can help you sail past these roadblocks. My take is that these are complex actions which federal employees applying for Disability Retirement often avoid just because of their complexity, or the employee's lack of knowledge as to how to fulfill them. For instance, so many clients have come to me who have been rejected because their applications are incomplete. You would think that just filling out the form makes it complete, but that's just not so. I could go on and on about why it's not so, and have done so in other parts of this blog. A lawyer who has a good deal of prior experience in taking the necessary actions and taking them in the best way to favor his client is always going to be more successful than the client going through the process on their own.