Disability retirement


Q. I have a progressive disease and am slowly reaching the end of my ability to do my job due to decreased mobility and fatigue. As of July 2018, I have worked for the federal government for 18 years. I will reach my minimum retirement age in February 2019. If I were to apply for a disability retirement, are the benefits better if I do so before or after reaching my MRA+10? Also, if I were granted a disability retirement under age 60, would I be penalized 5 percent for every year under age 62?

A. Whether you’ve reached MRA+10 or not is irrelevant. Disability benefits are calculated in the same way for anyone who has at least 18 months of service and qualifies for that benefit. Assuming that you continue to qualify for that benefit, at age 62 your disability benefit would be converted to a regular retirement. That benefit would be calculated as if you had worked to age 62.


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. When I am asked what my pension is, I tell the person that my disability retirement is 1750 monthly. The person then tells me that retirement disability and pension are 2 different things. Is this true? I was employed by the U.S. Postal Service.

    • They are two different things, but not the way your “person” understands it. The U. S. Government has two kinds of retirement. One of them is regular retirement. The other is disability retirement. There are criteria for determining which is appropriate in each case. As a rule, regular retirement is permanent. On the other hand, most disability retirements continue unless the retiree recovers from that disability. The amount of the annuities paid under the two retirement protocols and when they can end are different for CSRS and FERS.

  2. Q. I have over 30 years as a Guardsmen, and 25 years as a dual status MRT. I will be 56 in Dec 2020. I was severely injured in a car accident that has left me with physical limitations that will get me pushed out of the guard. My ETS is Oct 2021, so with the Flags on my Military side, and my age, I’m pretty sure the guard will not retain me. The Qualitative Retention Board (QRB) is this year and I’m sure I will be boarded, or, they will not let me reenlist in OCT, 2021. This will terminate my dual status as a technician. Can I pursue a disability retirement or will I be pushed out with voluntary retirement. I was trying to get to Mandatory Retirement Date (MRD) on the guard side which is 59.

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