Federal Judge Rules in Favor of Retired Air Traffic Controller

In a recent ruling, Merit Systems Protection Board Administrative Law Judge James A. Kasic ruled in favor of a retired Air Traffic Controller (ATC) who was directly impacted by a June 2016 decision by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management to change the apportionment of divorced federal law enforcement officers’ Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) Retirement Annuity Supplement (RAS).

Under OPM’s change, some retired federal law enforcement officers faced large unexpected bills, with OPM’s decision made largely without notice and applied retroactively.

Indeed, according to the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA), which brought the issue to the public’s attention and helped represent the impacted Air Traffic Controller, OPM “began apportioning this supplement to former spouses and assessing overpayments from annuitants, even in those cases where a divorce decree did not expressly divide the FERS annuity supplement between the spouses and the decree was wholly silent regarding the division of the annuity supplement. Moreover, OPM also retroactively applied its ruling and collected substantial monies from annuitants who could not have anticipated such an indebtedness and could ill-afford payment.”

In his recent ruling, which FLEOA is careful to note is only an initial decision of the MSPB, Judge Kasic stated, "I find that the appellant has proven by the preponderance of the evidence that OPM, in its December 12, 2017 reconsideration of consideration decision, improperly included the appellant’s FERS annuity supplement in its computation of the court ordered division of the FERS annuity.”

 

 

 

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