Can I Qualify for Federal Disability Retirement with my Illness?

Sep 26, 2016

A federal employee with an illness


One of the qualifications for Federal Disability Retirement is that you must have an injury or illness that is causing you to not perform your essential job duties at an efficient level. Many federal workers sustain injuries, whether on the job or not, and they are unable to continue their job duties. However, did you know that developing an illness (or an existing one) can qualify you for disability retirement benefits as well? It certainly can provided that it hinders you from being able to complete your essential job duties as outlined in your official job description. In this two-part series, we will look at some common illnesses and psychological disorders that can qualify you for Federal Disability Retirement. This post will cover illness.


Cancer can occur from many different factors and can affect almost every part of the body. Not only can the illness itself cause you hardship, but the treatments can affect you seriously as well. Chemotherapy and radiation are two typical treatments associated with cancer. They can put your body under just as much stress as cancer itself.


This is recurrent seizures that can alter your brain function. Epilepsy can be caused by a stroke, brain tumor, and even an infection. The symptoms can be controlled with medication or, in serious cases, surgery.

Parkinson’s Disease

This disease affects nerve cells in your brain and causes impairments in speech, tremors, and rigid muscles. There is no cure. However, there are medications and therapies that help with the symptoms.

Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s Disease is a lifelong disease that affects mainly your intestines but can affect anywhere in your digestive system. It is an Inflammatory Bowel Disease that causes you to have ulcers. The causes are unclear, however, bacteria and viruses in the intestines may play a role. Crohn’s Disease can cause severe diarrhea and stomach pain. Treatments vary from medication to surgery depending on the severity of the symptoms.

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) does not have a set list of illnesses it follows when considering to award Federal Disability Retirement benefits. The illness must be clinically supported with the proper medical evidence.  This can include, but is not limited to MRI or CT scans, X-Rays, blood work, mental health records, and physical exams and treatment reports. These reports and exams must be recent and include documentation beginning with the onset of the condition. If you suffer from one of these or one not listed, please don’t hesitate to call us at 877-226-2723, or fill out this inquiry form, to discuss the details of your case. We have helped countless Federal workers get their disability retirement benefits.

The next post will cover Psychological disorders.

*For more information on these illnesses, click here.

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