Qualifying Conditions for Federal Disability Retirement

Aug 2, 2018

First thing’s first: There is no exhaustive list of medical conditions that determine if you qualify for Federal Disability Retirement. They can be physical or mental, and both are treated with the same seriousness. The important thing is not the diagnosed condition(s), but how it affects your ability to perform your job.

be a candidate for Federal Disability Retirement:

  • You need to have worked in a federal job for at least 18 months 
  • You need to have a disability that stops you from doing at least one essential responsibility of your job. 
  • You must be a career FERS employee, meaning you must be enrolled in the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS). This applies to most federal employees. 
  • You must still be on your agency’s rolls or be within one year of your separation.

If you’re an eligible candidate, the following must be true for you to apply:

  • You must have a health problem caused by a disease or injury. This includes mental health conditions.
  • This health problem must be expected to last for at least 12 months.
  • Your health problem must be creating issues in performance, attendance, or conduct, after a period of doing your job well.
  • The reason you’re having trouble at work must be directly because of your health problem.
  • Your health problem doesn’t need to be caused by your job, but it must have started or gotten worse while you were working in your federal job.
  • Your workplace must not be able to make changes – or “reasonable accommodations” – to help you keep doing your main job duties. 
  • Your workplace must not be able to move you to a different job that you can do, which pays the same and is at the same level and is close enough for you to commute to.
  • You must apply for Social Security benefits; however, approval is not required. If you withdraw your application for Social Security benefits for any reason, OPM will dismiss your Disability Retirement application. 

ederal Disability Retirement doesn’t require total disability, it requires
occupational disability. This means your medical condition prevents you from performing at least one essential function of your current job, so even if you are still capable of doing some work, you may qualify. And again, both physical and psychological conditions are equally valid when filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Though far from exhaustive, we see physical conditions ranging from cancer, degenerative disc disease, lyme disease, neuropathy, HIV, diabetes, seizures, and much more. Psychological conditions can include major depressive disorder, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, PTSD, and many others.

Your injury or illness must be supported with medical evidence like MRI’s, X-Rays, mental health records, and treatment reports that show there is a direct correlation to the illness/disease and your inability to perform your jobs’ essential functions. Having a supportive doctor that you’re currently treating with is extremely important in strengthening your case.

If you’re unsure if you’re eligible for Federal Disability Retirement, or have specific questions about your injury or illness, contact our experienced legal team today to schedule a free consultation. We’re here to help you secure the financial future you deserve. 

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