Disability retirement

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Q. I resigned from the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2015 to pursue a new career in the private sector, but am now unemployed. Being born with profound hearing loss – both ears – I just found out I should qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance. If approved, can I apply for FERS disability? I’m 53 with 28 years federal service.


A. No. You can only apply for disability retirement if you are an employee. That’s because you’d have to prove that you’re disabled for useful and efficient service in your current position and any other vacant position at the same grade of pay level for which you are qualified.

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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 fedexperts@federaltimes.com.

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