Pros and Cons of Filing for Federal Disability Retirement

Feb 20, 2023

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Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit that is available to Federal employees who become disabled. While it can be difficult to be approved for, Federal Disability Retirement offers many benefits that can make life much easier for those who become disabled. In this article, we will discuss the pros and cons of filing for Federal Disability Retirement to help you decide if it is the right option for you.

What Is Federal Disability Retirement and Who Is Eligible for It?

Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit included in your FERS package that can allow federal employees struggling with a disability to retire now. There are a lot of qualification and eligibility requirements that you must meet in order to be approved for Federal Disability Retirement.

To be eligible for Federal Disability Retirement, you must be a FERS federal employee with at least 18 months of creditable service, and a disability that is preventing you from performing at least one of the essential functions of your position.

Additionally, your disability must be expected to last at least 12 months and it must cause a service deficiency in performance, attendance, or conduct.

You must prove that your agency is unable to accommodate you or reassign you to an existing, vacant position, at the same pay and grade level, within your commuting area, that you are qualified for.

Keep in mind that you must apply for Federal Disability Retirement within one year of separation from your agency and you must also apply for Social Security Disability Insurance.

The Pros of Filing for Federal Disability Retirement

There are a lot of pros to Federal Disability Retirement, but the four main benefits are;

  • A secure monthly annuity- Your Federal Disability Retirement annuity will be based on your high 3 average and is paid at 60% of your high 3 for the first year and 40% of your high 3 for every year after until age 62.
  • Creditable years of service- While on Federal Disability Retirement you will continue to gain creditable years of service until age 62 which can increase your regular FERS retirement pension for the rest of your life.
  • The option to maintain your health and life insurance- Having the option to maintain your insurance elections can provide peace of mind for many annuitants, especially with rising medical costs.
  • The ability to work in the private sector- You can work in the private sector and make up to 80% of your previous position’s current salary, on top of your Federal Disability Retirement annuity. This provides you with the ability to make even more money than you were while in your federal position.

These benefits can set you up for financial security and a stress-free future.

The Cons of Filing for Federal Disability Retirement

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement can be confusing and overwhelming. The process can be long and there will be periods of time where you don’t hear anything about the status of your application.

Additionally, there is the chance that your case will be denied, and you will have to appeal your application, which requires more documentation and time invested into this process.

You will have to stop working in your current federal position if you are approved for Federal Disability Retirement. This can be a pivotal moment for a lot of federal employees who have built their career in the federal government.

Finally, choosing the right attorney can be stressful but is highly recommended. An experienced Federal Disability Retirement attorney can simplify the application process, removing a lot of the cons of Federal Disability Retirement.

Is It Worth It?

The pros of filing for Federal Disability Retirement vastly outweigh the cons. We have seen clients earn over a million dollars on this benefit, which is a life-changing amount and is not worth risking.

This benefit can completely change your future, providing you and your family with financial security for the rest of your lives.

There are resources to help you through every stage of applying, to ensure your application is as strong as possible. We recommend hiring legal representation during the process to help make sure your application is complete and accurate before submission.

Harris Federal has helped over 8,000 federal employees apply for this benefit, and we are passionate about getting you the benefits you deserve. Schedule a FREE consultation to learn more.

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