Applying for OPM Disability Retirement
You should consider applying for disability retirement only after you have provided your employing agency with complete documentation of your medical condition and your agency has exhausted all reasonable attempts to retain you in a productive capacity, through accommodation or reassignment.
You must meet all of the following conditions to be eligible for disability retirement:
- You must have completed at least 18 months of Federal civilian service which is creditable under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS).
- You must, while employed in a position subject to the retirement system, have become disabled, because of disease or injury, for useful and efficient service in your current position.
- The disability must be expected to last at least one year.
- Your agency must certify that it is unable to accommodate your disabling medical condition in your present position and that it has considered you for any vacant position in the same agency at the same grade or pay level, within the same commuting area, for which you are qualified for reassignment.
- You, or your guardian or other interested person, must apply before your separation from service or within one year thereafter. The application must be received by either OPM or your former employing agency within one year of the date of your separation. This time limit can be waived only if you were mentally incompetent on the date of separation or within one year of this date.
- You must apply for social security disability benefits. Application for disability retirement under FERS requires an application for social security benefits. If the application for social security disability benefits is withdrawn for any reason, OPM will dismiss the FERS disability retirement application upon notification by the Social Security Administration.
Applying for FERS Disability Retirement
You must complete the following forms:
- SF 3107, Application for Immediate Retirement, and
- SF 3112, Documentation In Support of Disability Retirement
If you are under age 62, documentation that you have applied for social security disability benefits after you separated from your agency.
If you have been separated from Federal service for 31 days or less
Your employing agency will help you complete these forms and will forward the completed forms to OPM. However, it is your responsibility to obtain all of the information necessary for OPM to make a decision on your claim. This includes providing all of the required forms and documents.
If you have been separated from Federal service for more than 31 days
Your application for disability retirement must be received by OPM within one year after the date of your separation. If you have been separated from Federal service for more than 31 days, your former employing agency may no longer have your personnel records and may not be able to recover them in time to process your disability retirement application and submit it to OPM within the one-year time limit. Therefore, you should submit your application directly to OPM rather than to your agency.
Retirement Operations Center
Post Office Box 45
Boyers, PA 16017
Ask your former supervisor and employing agency to complete SF 3112B, SF 3112D and SF 3112E and give them to you so you can send them to OPM. If you think you will not have the completed package in time to meet the one-year time limit, send OPM the completed SF 3107 and SF 3112A, along with the name, address and telephone number of the person(s) you have asked to complete the remaining forms.
If you’re considering applying for OPM disability retirement, you should contact OPM Disability Retirement Attorney Gregory A. Hall for legal assistance. If you retain Mr. Hall to assist with your application for benefits, he can help you avoid many of the pitfalls that cause applications for medical retirement to be denied by OPM.
Gregory A. Hall
Law Office of Gregory A. Hall
3570 E. 12th Avenue, Suite 200
Denver, CO 80206