Yes, You Can Work after Federal Disability Retirement

by | Jun 24, 2024

woman working after federal disability retirement gardening

Have you looked at your Federal Disability Retirement annuity, a knot of uncertainty coiling in your stomach as you question – will it be enough? Have you ever wondered if you could keep working after being approved for Federal Disability Retirement?

You can work after Federal Disability Retirement. And we’re here, ready to unveil the complexities of securing a fresh career post-disability retirement, one step at a time.

While we know not every federal employee’s medical condition allows them to continue working, for those that can, it can be the exact income and fresh start they need to move forward.

You no longer have to struggle through your federal job, potentially making your medical conditions worse. You now have many valuable and viable opportunities.

Join us as we debunk myths and pave the way for a vibrant second chapter in your career journey.

How Much Can You Make?

Possibly the most important question is how much money can you really make working in the private sector? The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) will set an income cap to determine how much you can earn. You will be able to earn up to 80% of your previous position’s current salary while working in the private sector. This is an important distinction to make as your previous position could receive annual raises that would increase the amount you are able to earn in the private sector.

Keep in mind that Federal Disability Retirement isn’t meant to completely replace your income. This can be difficult to come to terms with, and we encourage you to ask as many questions as you possibly can, this is a big change. But working in the private sector on top of your disability annuity would allow you to earn more than what you were making in your federal job alone.

While we understand not everyone will be able to continue working full-time, there are other benefits, like Social Security Disability Insurance that could provide some financial security.

Annual Income Reviews

The OPM will perform annual income reviews to ensure you are not exceeding the 80% income cap. You will have to report all earned income on this review. Earned income is anything you make from working, like wages, tips, and bonuses. Passive income will not count towards this limit; things like stocks, bonds, and investment income are passive.

Once you turn 60, there will no longer be an income cap on your earnings. You will be able to work and earn as much as you want after the age of 60.

It’s important to remember that if you do go over the 80% income cap, OPM will consider you “administratively recovered” and will not only stop your benefits but will wipe away any creditable years of service you received while on the benefit.

What Kind of Jobs Can You Get?

Another important question to consider is, “What kind of jobs can you get post-approval?” There are limitations, yes. However, they’re not restrictive enough to significantly dim your ambitions. You must stay within your medical restrictions, while also not performing any of the essential duties of your previous federal position that you retired from. For example, if you were a letter carrier and you had to lift up to 70lbs, you cannot find a job in the private sector that requires you to lift up to 70lbs. But that does not mean you cannot lift 20lbs at a job, or work a job that does not require lifting at all!

There are plenty of private sector jobs that won’t disqualify you from your Federal Disability Retirement benefits. After approval, lots of our clients get creative with their career choices, using their annuity payments as a safety net. Some even start their own businesses. This way, you can manage your workload and work around any medical restrictions you have.

Another option is pursuing additional education or training in a field that aligns with your interests. This would open a world of new job opportunities.

While there is no definitive list of jobs that you can work in post-approval as it depends on your medical condition and the specific duties of each job, you cannot return to work in the federal government. If you return to work in the federal government, your annuity payments will be significantly reduced or stopped altogether.

Don’t risk the stability and security of your annuity payments by working in a similar job to your federal one, or earning close to the 80% income cap. You should always be aware of how much money you are earning; the OPM is very strict and will find out if you are less than 100% truthful on your income survey.

The ability to work in the private sector while receiving your Federal Disability Retirement annuity can be exactly what you need to overcome the income hurdle. We understand how important this benefit is and we urge you to not risk your future by applying alone. Our team of experienced Federal Disability Retirement case managers and attorneys have helped over 10,000 federal employees apply for this benefit, at a 99% success rate. We know how stressful it can be when considering the future of your finances while dealing with a medical condition, and we want to help you secure your future. Give our office a call at 877-226-2723 or schedule a free consultation now to learn the next steps.

Message us & find out if you qualify today!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Recent Articles

The 4 Key Benefits of Federal Disability Retirement

Imagine a lifeline, a beacon of hope for your future when you're struggling with an injury or illness that’s impacting your federal job. That lifeline is Federal Disability Retirement. If you can't perform at least one of the essential functions of your role, you...

6 Key Reasons Why Your Disability Retirement Application Was Denied

Have you recently applied for Federal Disability Retirement, only to receive a denial? The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is denying more initial applications than ever. However, it's important to understand that a denial does not mean the end of the road for...

Federal Employee Resources

Our ever growing library of federal employee resources give you the knowledge you need to make smart choices about your future.


Frequently Asked Questions

Get the answers you need on-demand, from a team of federal employee benefits professionals.

View FAQ

Federal Benefit Webinars

Twice per month we host webinars to help federal employees better understand their benefits and answer their questions LIVE.

See Webinar Schedule

Benefit Guides

From guides to detailed charts, these educational resources will help clarify confusing federal employee benefits topics.

See our resources