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Some federal employees may view Federal Disability Retirement with trepidation. These remain tough economic times and there are understandable concerns that you won’t be able to make up your former income after retirement.

A disability retirement annuity under FERS or CSRS represents a more significant pay cut than if you have the larger percentage of pay under OWCP-DOL benefits.

But there are also significant advantages to Federal Disability Retirement under FERS or CSRS.

A federal employee can earn up to 80 percent of their former salary after retirement. At the same time, someone who takes Federal Disability Retirement can find a new opportunity that helps them work around their disability. Part-time work or work from home may prove to be a happier alternative that will also be beneficial to the health of the former federal employee. There are many stories about how disability retirement has offered a new lease of life to those who have struggled with an illness in their federal job.

Retirement can offer greater freedoms and you will not be under the ever present scrutiny of the workers’ compensation system.

The existence of Federal Disability Retirement is an advantage of taking a federal job that few employees think of at the outset. But it represents a considerable advantage over the private sector.

If you develop a medical condition that impacts your job, suddenly the fine print in the documents you didn’t read all those years ago, becomes very important. The disability retirement option becomes peace of mind and another good reason to work for a government agency.

The basics of applying for Federal Disability Retirement are highlighted by the Office of Personnel Management website and a number of other sources.

Disability Retirement requests must be filed within a year of termination or resignation. Your agency Human Resource Specialist should work with you to assist you in filing the claim. However, it often helps to work with an attorney who can assist you with preparing and reviewing your documentation to assure that you meet the standards OPM has set out in order for one to qualify for disability retirement.

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Eric L. Pines is a nationally recognized federal employment lawyer, mediator, and attorney business coach. He represents federal employees and acts as in-house counsel for over fifty thousand federal employees through his work as a federal employee labor union representative.

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