Understanding the Applicant’s Statement of Disability

Oct 13, 2022

Applicant's Statement of Disability

When you apply for Federal Disability Retirement, one of the most important pieces of your application is your disability statement. This statement will be used by the OPM to make a decision on your case, so it is crucial that you write it carefully and accurately.

In this article we will go over all the components of the disability statement for Federal Disability Retirement. We will discuss what should be included in your statement and provide some tips on how to make it as effective as possible.

What is a Disability Statement?

In order to apply for Federal Disability Retirement, you must fill out the Standard Form 3112. The 3112 is the documentation that serves to support Federal Disability Retirement. A major part of the SF 3112 is the SF 3112 A- The Applicant’s Statement of Disability.

This statement is your chance to prove to the OPM why you should qualify for Federal Disability Retirement. Your case may fall apart if you don’t provide the proper information here. Learn more about mistakes to avoid when filling out the 3112.

The OPM will use your disability statement as a reference throughout the entire decision-making process. Anything you write here will be used to make the determination on your case, so it is important to be clear, concise, and accurate.

Breaking down the 3112 A

The SF 3112 A is broken down into multiple parts that you will have to answer in their entirety in order to be approved.

A large part of the 3112 is like any other agency document– you fill in answer boxes with things like your name, date of birth, job title, and so on. But there are a few questions that require more thought and planning.

Questions 4, 5, and 6 specifically, ask about your disability and its effects on you and your daily life. Your answers to these questions are critical to your application. If your responses do not fit within the boxes provided on the form, you can use a continuation sheet.

Your disability statement must work in conjunction with the rest of the documents included in your application package, including your supervisor’s statement and Physician’s statement. There should be no inconsistencies when writing your disability statement.

It’s important to keep in mind the OPM wants all supportive evidence of your disabling condition, both subjective accounts of pain and objective clinical findings.

The Components of a Disability Statement

When answering the questions posed on the SF 3112 A, it’s important to keep in mind that the OPM will only consider the information you include in this section. As we mentioned, questions 4-6 are extremely important to your application, and you need to answer them properly in order to be approved for Federal Disability Retirement.

Question #4

This question asks you to fully describe your diseases or injuries, which can be a lot of information to include. You should consider any mental or physical condition you have that is preventing you from performing your job duties.

You will be able to add information into this section after you submit, but you will not be able to remove anything you have already added. So, it’s important to only include supportive evidence here.

Question #5

Question number 5 asks how your condition affects you at work. The OPM is looking for service deficiencies that would further prove your inability to complete your job.

Additionally, if your condition is pre-existing, or did not start while employed in your federal position, you must show that it has worsened.

Question #6

This question asks how your condition affects you outside of work, which may seem irrelevant to Federal Disability Retirement, but it’s surprising how much the OPM considers when looking at your case.

While not common, the OPM can research your online profiles to find any information that may contradict your statements. If they find any contradictory information, it could jeopardize your Federal Disability Retirement case.

It is recommended to seek legal guidance when writing your Disability Statement and submitting your application so that the most supportive evidence can be included to ensure a strong application to the OPM.

Tips for making your statement as strong as possible

We want your disability statement to be impenetrable, so there is no doubt that you qualify for this benefit. Here are some final tips to help you write the best disability statement possible:

  • A statement of disability should be written to reflect information found in medical documentation, such as history, progress notes, and test results.
  • Having your medical evidence and job description readily available while writing your statement can be beneficial.
  • OPM should consider your own subjective evidence along with objective clinical findings and medical opinions based on symptoms described by you. See Beeler-Smith v. Office of Personnel Management, 109 LRP 63649, 112 MSPR 479 (MSPB 2009). So, your opinion matters here too!

Writing a disability statement can be tricky, and we don’t want you to miss out on any benefits– with over 6,000 happy clients, we know a thing or two about getting our clients the disability retirement they need and deserve.

Don’t go at this alone! We will help you compile only the most beneficial evidence for your application, so that you are able to submit the ideal Federal Disability Retirement application.

Give our office a call today and schedule a free consultation to secure your future.

Message us & find out if you qualify today!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Recent Articles

Federal Employee Resources

Our ever growing library of federal employee resources give you the knowledge you need to make smart choices about your future.


Frequently Asked Questions

Get the answers you need on-demand, from a team of federal employee benefits professionals.

View FAQ

Federal Benefit Webinars

Twice per month we host webinars to help federal employees better understand their benefits and answer their questions LIVE.

See Webinar Schedule

Benefit Guides

From guides to detailed charts, these educational resources will help clarify confusing federal employee benefits topics.

See our resources