Social Security disability


Q. My wife is 60 years old, has 28 years FERS service with the Internal Revenue Service, and has been offered a VERA and a VSIP effective Dec. 31, 2017, Can she then apply after December 31 for Social Security disability?

A. No. The Social Security disability program exists to provide disability benefits to those who are unable to work as a result of their conditions and who are too young to draw their retirement benefits. In this sense, Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) can be thought of as a retirement benefit for those who are forced to retire early. Your wife doesn’t meet that definition because she is already eligible for an immediate unreduced annuity (age 60 with at least 20 years of service).


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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