As a federal position, being a United States Postal Worker comes with a lot of perks. There are a few early retirement options for federal employees, but the most unknown and underutilized option is USPS Disability Retirement.
USPS Disability Retirement (also known as Federal Disability Retirement) is a benefit available to career FERS employees with at least 18 months of service and a medical condition that prevents them from fully performing their job. This benefit has completely changed the lives of so many postal workers– if you are struggling in your job, keep reading to see if you qualify for this benefit.
Qualifying for USPS Disability Retirement as a Postal Worker
USPS Disability Retirement allows you to retire now while maintaining your federal benefits like health and life insurance and your retirement package. This benefit is available to disabled federal employees who are struggling in their job due to a medical condition.
You must apply for Social Security Disability Insurance in order to receive USPS Disability Retirement.
In order to be eligible for USPS Disability Retirement you must meet the following 3 basic requirements:
- You must have 18 months of creditable civilian service
- You must be a FERS career employee
- You must have become disabled, because of disease or injury, for useful and efficient service in your current position
Additionally, to qualify, you must meet the following 7 requirements:
- You must have a diagnosed medical condition, which is defined as a health impairment resulting from a disease or injury, including a psychiatric disease.
- Your medical diagnosis must be expected to last 12 months or one year
- Your disability must cause a service deficiency in performance, attendance, or conduct, after a period of useful and efficient service
- There must be a relationship between the service deficiency and the medical condition such that the medical condition has caused the service deficiency.
- Your disability does not have to be work related, but it does have to have arisen or worsened while in your federal position
- Your agency must be unable to accommodate you without removing any of the essential functions of your job description
- Your agency must be unable to reassign you to a vacant position, at the same pay and grade level, within your commuting area, that you are qualified for
Getting Started on the Process
If you are interested in applying for USPS Disability Retirement, there are many steps throughout the process that can be overwhelming and confusing.
First, you must request accommodation or reassignment and start compiling medical documentation from your provider to support your case. If you do not have clear work restrictions and a prognosis that lasts at least 12 months, you will not be approved for USPS Disability Retirement.
You must fill out the SF 3107– Application for Immediate Retirement and the SF 3112– Documentation in Support of Disability Retirement. Both of these forms will stand as your application for USPS Disability Retirement that will be submitted to the OPM along with any supporting documentation.
As a postal worker, your application must go through your agency, the HRSSC, and the postal service finance center in Minnesota.
And on top of all this, you must stick to all of OPM’s deadlines.
There is a Deadline to Apply
If you have been separated there is a strict deadline to apply for USPS Disability Retirement. You must apply within one year of separation from your agency. Knowing your official date of separation is important especially if you have been out of work on workers’ compensation or leave without pay.
If you miss this deadline, you will no longer be able to apply for USPS Disability Retirement.
The Benefits of Early Retirement
USPS Disability Retirement provides four main benefits that last until age 62, when you will start receiving your regular FERS retirement benefits.
While on USPS Disability Retirement, you receive;
- A secure monthly annuity based on your high-3 average
- Creditable years of service until age 62
- Health and Life Insurance
- The ability to work in the private sector
Retiring early can take a huge weight off your shoulders. It gives you peace of mind about your future and your federal benefits. You will have more time to focus on your health and more time to spend with your family.
We strive to help all federal employees receive their benefits. If you are a postal worker who is struggling with a medical condition, schedule a FREE consultation today to see if you qualify for USPS Disability Retirement.