Disability retirement


Q. A friend of mine left his federal job due to a knee injury. He says he hurt his knee on the job (I believe this is documented). He has been unemployed for about three years and collects Social Security benefits due to the knee injury. He did not know to put in for federal disability retirement. At this point, is there anything he can do to receive something from the government?

A. Applications for disability retirement must be made either before an employee separates from the government or within one year after that date.


About Author

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. I have applied for medical retirement from civil service and still waiting for decision with OPM. My question is if I submitted a letter of resignation before my medical retirement is approved will this affect my medical retirement approval process? In simpler terms, will this cancel out my medical retirement?

    • No, it wouldn’t. However, you’d be betting that you application for disability retirement would be approved. If it wasn’t, you’ll be out in the cold.

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