True or False: Federal Disability Retirement Edition

Oct 17, 2018

falseRetirement is often a confusing time, especially in the federal government. Do you retire on a regular retirement, early retirement, phased retirement, or deferred retirement? Then, what happens if you are hurt or become ill and can no longer perform your job duties? Now you throw federal disability retirement into the mix. That’s a lot to think about, especially if you’re faced with an injury or illness.

So, let’s look at some true and false statements regarding federal disability retirement.

If I go out on a disability retirement, that means I’m disabled, so I can’t work anymore.

FALSE. When you are approved for a disability retirement, you are proving you can no longer perform your job duties for that specific position. It’s an occupational disability, not a total or permanent disability. In fact, if you are approved for federal disability retirement, one of the great benefits is that you can work in the private sector, doing pretty much anything you want, and earn up to 80% of your previous positions’ current salary.

I can keep my health and life insurance benefits with federal disability retirement.

TRUE. If you’ve carried coverage for the 5 consecutive years immediately leading into retirement, or for all periods eligible if less than 5 years, you can continue into federal disability retirement.

I will not receive a Cost of Living Adjustment if I go out on federal disability retirement.

FALSE. In fact, not only will you receive a COLA after the first 12 months of being on disability retirement, but you’ll also receive it every year after, so long as you’re eligible. Regular FERS retirees only start receiving COLA’s once they reach age 62.

I must be approved for Social Security Disability.

FALSE. It’s true you must apply for SSD when you apply for federal disability retirement from the Office of Personnel Management, but you do not have to be approved. These 2 disability programs are quite different and have very different qualification standards.

My medical condition must last for at least a year.

TRUE. You must have a documented medical condition that you are currently treating for and it must last longer than 12 months.

To be eligible, I must’ve worked for the federal government for years, right?

FALSE. While this technically true for CSRS employees (5 years of civilian service), there aren’t many CSRS employees out there that would still qualify for federal disability retirement. Under FERS, you only need to have 18 months of civilian service to qualify.

I have more than one chance to get approved.

TRUE. If you are denied at the initial stage with OPM, you have another shot at the Reconsideration stage. Here, you can submit new evidence. The process here is similar but the deadlines to file are much stricter. You even have another stage of appeal should you get denied at this level. Next, it will move to the Merit Systems Protection Board, which is a much more formal process, again with strict deadlines.

There are just a few of the most common questions we get from clients and potential clients. Learn more about qualifying for Federal Disability Retirement in 2022.

If you have any questions about these or other questions, please feel free to reach out to us at 877-226-2723 or fill out this INQUIRY form. We’d be happy to set you up with a FREE consultation and help in any way we can.

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