Returning to work after disability retirement


Q. I am 50 years old and was just approved for retirement on disability. I have deep vein thrombosis and a history of phlebitis. I have had a pulmonary embolism. Mentally, I am not ready to retire, but my conditions and body tell me otherwise. If I decide I want to continue working, can I reapply later? What would happen?

A. Once your disability retirement has been approved based on submission of all the necessary medical evidence, you couldn’t just say you’ve changed your mind and go back to work. You would have to submit new evidence to the Office of Personnel Management, and get a decision that you have recovered and are fit to work. If you did return to work, you could always reapply for disability retirement at a later date, but you would have to prove it all over again.


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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

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