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Miranda v. Office of Personnel Management

U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit


January 11, 1999

FELICIANA MIRANDA, PETITIONER,
v.
OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT, RESPONDENT.

Before Plager, Clevenger, and Rader, Circuit Judges.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Per Curiam.

DECISION

Feliciana Miranda appeals from a decision of the Merit Systems Protection Board ("Board"), No. SE-0831-98-0006-I-1 (Feb. 6, 1998), which affirmed the decision by the Office of Personnel Management ("OPM") denying her request for a survivor annuity under the Civil Service Retirement Act ("CSRA"). Because the Board's decision, which became final on July 30, 1998, was not arbitrary, procedurally deficient, or unsupported by substantial evidence, see 5 U.S.C. § 7703(c) (1994), we affirm.

DISCUSSION

On appeal, Mrs. Miranda claims that she is entitled to a survivor annuity based upon her late husband's federal service from December 23, 1947 through January 15, 1955. See 5 U.S.C. § 8341 (1994). As a claimant to a statutory benefit, Mrs. Miranda bears the burden of demonstrating that the statutory requirements for entitlement have been met. Cf. Lindahl v. Office of Personnel Management, 776 F.2d 276, 277 (Fed. Cir. 1985) (holding that the Board correctly allocated the burden of proof to the voluntary applicant for disability retirement).

We apply the version of the CSRA in effect at the time of Mr. Miranda's 1955 separation from federal service in order to determine his eligibility for a civil service annuity. See Avila v. Office of Personnel Management, 79 F.3d 128, 131-32 (Fed. Cir. 1996). Under the 1955 version of the CSRA, a federal employee is entitled to a retirement annuity upon serving five years if, within the two-year period immediately preceding separation, the employee completed at least one year of civilian service in a position subject to the CSRA. See 5 U.S.C. § 707 (1952 & Supp. III 1955) (current version at 5 U.S.C. § 8333 (1994)).

From August 11, 1951 through January 15, 1955 Mr. Miranda held the same position as a laborer for the U.S. Air Force. The record shows that in both 1951 and 1955, Mr. Miranda's position was not subject to the CSRA. Therefore, the Board's inference that there was no CSRA coverage of Mr. Miranda's job in the two years preceding his separation from service is supported by substantial evidence. Furthermore, we agree with the Board that the lack of evidence that retirement deductions were ever taken out of Mr. Miranda's pay is additional circumstantial evidence that Mr. Miranda's service was not covered by the CSRA. Consequently, we find no error in the Board's Conclusion that Mrs. Miranda is not entitled to a survivor annuity under the CSRA.

19990111


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