Medical disability retirement


Q. I am 51 and have been diagnosed with chronic PTSD causing mental lapses and focus deficiency issues. I am considering a medical disability retirement, as I am having a very hard time doing contract administration work. I am a FERS employee, GS-09, with 14 years of federal service — 1½ in my current position. I need to look at my total potential income picture before I decide.

I understand I will need to apply for Social Security when/if I apply for disability, but how does getting Social Security work with getting disability payments? Would I draw from both (assuming I qualify for Social Security)? If so, how much? Also, I am a 50 percent Air Force veteran and am looking to apply for 100 percent based on being employable. How will this play into my income picture? And where can I go for more research on these topics?

A. To find out how to apply for disability retirement and what the criteria are for receiving it, go to and scroll to Subpart 60B. To find out how disability benefits are calculated and how they interact with Social Security, go to and scroll to Subpart 61B. As a rule, retiring on disability will not affect your entitlement to VA disability payments. However, it would be a good idea to check with VA to be sure there isn’t some wrinkle of which I’m unaware.


About Author

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

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