Disability retirement


Q. I first applied for OPM disability retirement in 2008, submitting in a statement of disability, but nothing else. An OPM time-stamped copy was sent back to me. A few years passed, and I applied for Social Security disability. I was approved in 2014. I sent my Social Security disability approval documents to OPM to complete my OPM disability and was assigned a case number. What are my chances for approval?

A. Excellent, because the criteria for receiving Social Security disability benefits are much higher than those for disability retirement. In the former, you must be unable to perform any gainful employment. In the latter, you must only be unable to perform the duties of your current position or one at the same grade or pay level for which you are qualified.


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. Louis, I have a disability retirement from usps under csrs, got approve for disability retirement medical and non medical from SS, Social security rep. Told me I could not get money payments from SSDI, when I paid into it from being active service and retired reservist, private sector and the usps. Please help me

    • To receive Social Security Disability Insurance you have to apply for it and be approved. The standards for approval are much more stringent than they are for CSRS disability benefits. Under CSRS you only have to unable to carry out the requirements of your current job or of another job for which you are qualified at your grade or pay level. To be approved for SSDI, you must be disabled for any gainful employment.

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