VERA and disability retirement


Q. My agency is offering Voluntary Early Retirement Authority/Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay. I have been approved for both. However, I have become disabled (chemo damaged my nerves, resulting in severe peripheral neuropathy). I thought I could leave via the early-out option for much needed relief and rest, then file for my federal disability.

My human resources department advised that, per the Office of Personnel Management, if I take the VERA, I cannot file for disability later, e.g. within one year.

I consulted with a lawyer, who specializes in federal disability retirement, and he advised that he has many clients who took the VERA option and later filed for disability within the one year.

A. Your attorney is correct. You can file for disability retirement within one year of your separation, whether by resignation or retirement.


About Author

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


  1. Reg, is this still true now, in 2017/2018? I have recently filled out the mountain of paperwork to file for Disability Retirement and run all of it up OPM’s proverbial flagpole. (Still awaiting a response).
    I was also told by HR that my boss can offer me a VERA so I can ‘hit the door’; after which I could then file for Disability Retirement. Essentially, I did things [in reverse]. I was advised; again by HR; to submit my Disability Retirement paperwork [first]; then submit VERA paperwork. As of this posting, I’m still waiting to hear [something] from [somebody].

    • Have you found a answer to your question?. I’m 54 1/2 with 33 years of postal service time. I’m being told they will be offering a Vera to us soon. It sounds like if I take the Vera i will be able to still file for disability retirement after I leave the postal service. My question is how does that effect how much I will recieve from social security. Will the disability increase my social security supplement and will it altar what my retirement pay will be from the postal service.

      • Yes, you can apply for disability retirement after you retire, as long as you do it within one year. However, because you are covered by FERS, you must also apply for Social Security disability insurance. If approved for FERS disability retirement, your regular FERS benefit would end, as would your entitlement to the special retirement supplement. Your disability annuity for the first 12 months would equal 60 percent of your high-3, minus 100 percent of any SSDI. After the first 12 months, you’d receive 40 percent of your high-3, minus percent of any SSDI.

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