Sick leave


Q. I am a federal employee of 17 years at the age of 55. My husband is sick and needs my care for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Can I retire on disability since my husband is sick?

A. No, you can’t. Because you aren’t the one who is disabled, you aren’t eligible to retire on disability. You can, however, use up to 12 administrative work weeks of sick leave each year to care for your husband who has a serious health condition. If you don’t have enough sick leave stored up, your agency may at its discretion advance you a maximum of 30 days of sick leave for that purpose.


About Author

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


  1. I am submitting my application for retirement..l resigned about 10 years ago where do I send my documents to apply? Tnx.

  2. Johnna Liggins on

    I am a nurse at VA I will be 59 this year September 2020. I have filed for disability retirement because my COPD I am not able to work the physical acuity of my job w/o distress. I gave HR a date that end of September I would retire but I have not heard anything on my retirement and flu season is here. Can I use my sick leave hours after I depart from VA? Thank you.

    • Sick leave hours may only be used while you are an employee. If you retire on disability, your unused sick leave hours would be recorded in you official personnel folder and would only be available for use if you were to return to work for the federal government.

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