Q: I work for the DHS/TSA. I am 58 and have worked there for seven years. I fell at work four years ago and have been on workers’compensation since that time. I get cortisone injections but it is becoming more difficult to overcome the pain. I have been working most of the time since then. I am at home now waiting for another injection. Can I retire early and if so, where do I start? Would I ‘retire early’ or apply for disability?
A: Even if your agency was offering an opportunity to its employees to retire early, you don’t have the right combination of age in service to do that. Nor do you meet the age and service requirements for regular retirement. Therefore, your only option is to apply for disability retirement. However, even if your application is approved, you may still want to stay on workers’ compensation because it provides the higher benefit. If OWCP later found that you were recovered and stopped your disability comp payments, you would be able to ask OPM to activate your disability retirement benefit.