Disability retirement


Q. I’ve been with the U.S. Postal Service over 16 years under FERS and am 63 years of age. I injured myself on the job and am currently on workman’s comp and working part-time. I injured my back and was diagnosed permanent for my back injury. My question is what would be more beneficial: disability retirement or regular retirement. Would I lose my retirement benefits choosing disability retirement?

A. Because of your age, you aren’t eligible for a disability retirement benefit. That’s because FERS disability annuities are automatically converted to regular annuities at age 62. Therefore, if you want to leave, your only option is to retire on an immediate annuity.


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Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to fedexperts@federaltimes.com.


  1. …..And also since your 63 you should apply for Social Security Retirement benefits at the same time since your no longer able to work more than part-time!

  2. This is not correct, you CAN apply for disability retirement after age 62; however, the annuity is calculated the same as a regular retirement. I am currently undergoing the disability retirement process at age 62 years and 4 months. Although I applied for SSDI, it was not a requirement after age 62 as it is prior too. This type of retirement becomes relevant for disabled veterans who also wish to apply for TDIU. Being forced to retire regardless of age due to being unable to work.

    • Thanks for you informative email. I’d never encountered a case where being approved for disability retirement after age 62 would have any meaning.

      • There’s also the added benefit if needed (but not available with regular retirement), to utilize your sick leave (regardless of age). I had over 1000 hours, and while they will now add the time to your FERS service computation, if instead you use it, you will draw your full salary for that time, (and it still ends up being counted), plus in my case I will also earn an additional 13 days of annual leave. This results in a positive net of approximately 29K over retirement alone. There’s also no offset for SSDI or any other income after 62. So besides the possible aid with obtaining the VA’s TDIU, there may be a financial benefit as in my particular case.

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