Q. I am completely out of annual leave and sick leave and have recently received a cancer diagnosis. My local human resources department has informed me of two options: voluntary leave transfer program and advance leave request. However, I don’t want to have to worry about losing my job, etc., and may not feel good enough to come back to my old job. What are my options? Are there any disability benefits available to me? What is early retirement for someone like me who is only 48 years old and has eight years of service with the Veterans Affairs Department?
A. Your HR department has offered you the two most reasonable options. You aren’t eligible to retire on an immediate annuity and, unless you are judged to be incapable of useful and efficient service in your current position, you aren’t a good candidate for disability retirement. Having said that, there’s nothing that would prevent you from applying for it. And your agency HR is required to help you complete the paperwork.