Where Can I Work While on Federal Disability Retirement?

by | Mar 27, 2023

Last Updated March 6, 2024
woman working in the private sector

Once you are approved for Federal Disability Retirement, one of the greatest benefits is the ability to work in the private sector. Federal Disability Retirement can provide a great financial safety net for years to come but working in a new job, in addition to your monthly annuity payments, can make an even bigger difference for your future.

Working While on Federal Disability Retirement

Like we mentioned, the ability to work in the private sector is an amazing benefit of Federal Disability Retirement. You can find a job in the private sector and earn up to 80% of your previous position’s current salary.

You will be able to make this on top of your Federal Disability Retirement annuity payments, which means you can make more money than you were making while in your federal position.

Earned vs Passive Income

Keep in mind that only earned income counts towards the 80% income cap while working in the private sector. These are wages you earn in exchange for goods or services.

Passive income does not count against your Federal Disability Retirement income cap, and this is things like annuities, pensions, withdrawals from your 401k or TSP, unemployment compensation, and gambling earnings.

It’s important to speak with an experienced financial advisor to understand your income, so you do not accidentally exceed the earning cap and lose your annuity.

Employment Opportunities

We have seen federal workers find a new passion while exploring jobs after Federal Disability Retirement, but you are also able to find jobs within your niche in the private sector.

Remember, your new job cannot have the same essential functions of the job that you retired from, as you proved to the OPM that you could not perform that job due to your disability.

We will provide some examples of jobs that Federal Disability Retirement annuitants could pursue. This is not an exhaustive list of jobs but more an idea-list to help you find something that you might enjoy after retirement.

For Disabled Federal Workers on Federal Disability Retirement

Here is a short list of possible job opportunities in the private sector based on feedback from previous Federal Disability Retirement clients.

  • Teacher– If you find yourself struggling to perform the essential functions of your job, the best solution may be to teach those functions
  • Child Care Provider– Civil servants often find passion for providing in other ways, like childcare and daycare services
  • Real Estate Agent– Real estate agents require high levels of communication and commitment to a job, which could be perfect for federal employees
  • Paralegal– If you have legal experience or are interested in law, a paralegal could be a fulfilling job
  • Bank Teller– Bank Tellers require high attention to detail, communication, and mathematics skills that could come from many federal positions
  • Insurance Agent– Insurance agents require strong customer service and finance skills
  • Writing Assistant– If your federal job required you to produce well written documents and reports, a writing assistant may be a perfect fit

For Disabled Law Enforcement Officers

Retired law enforcement officers often have a harder time finding meaningful work in the private sector, as their federal jobs were so important and demanding. But there are a few positions that would require the specific skills that may come naturally to law enforcement officers, like–

  • Private Security Officer
  • Private Investigator
  • Forensic accountant

For Disabled Postal Workers

If your calling was a postal worker and you want to continue delivering and providing for the public, there are a lot of jobs today that are looking for your specific set of skills that also may be able to accommodate your disability.

  • Private Sector Delivery Drivers
    • Instacart
    • Uber
    • Door Dash
    • Amazon
  • Office Assistant
  • Customer Service Specialist

*Important Note

The OPM will send out annual income reviews to ensure that you are not exceeding the 80% earning cap. If you are found to be making more than the income limit, you will be considered administratively recovered and your annuity payments will stop.

While these ideas are not your only options by any means, we strive to provide Federal Disability Retirement annuitants with as many resources as possible, so you can feel confident in the choices you make for your future.

If you are looking to apply for Federal Disability Retirement, schedule a FREE consultation with our firm to learn how we can help.

Message us & find out if you qualify today!

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