Q. My spouse is dealing with health issues that may require a disability retirement under FERS. He has 4½ years of actual service with four years of additional military academy time which he bought back. First, would this time count toward the five-year minimum retirement requirement? If not, and he is running out of leave, would he be allowed under the Office of Personnel Management to enter a “leave without pay” status in order to meet the mandatory five-year requirement prior to retirement.
A. To be eligible for disability retirement, a FERS employee only needs to have been employed for 18 months, not five years. Therefore, your husband could apply at once for disability retirement. When he does that, he must also apply for a Social Security disability benefit. Otherwise, his application won’t be processed by OPM.