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FERS disability retirement: The basics

Federal employees who are unable to work due to a medical condition may qualify for retirement within the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). The following provides some basic information about this system.

Who can qualify for FERS disability retirement?

This form of retirement is generally available to those who have a medical condition that makes it impossible to complete their work. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) defines a medical condition as a health impairment that results from a disease or injury. The agency also notes the definition extends to include psychiatric diseases.

To qualify, the applicant must establish that their agency “exhausted all reasonable attempts” to provide an accommodation or reassignment.

How does a federal employee apply for FERS disability retirement?

First, the applicant must complete SF 3107, the Application for Immediate Retirement. After this is complete, the next process is the completion of SF 3112, Documentation In Support of Disability Retirement. The SF 3112 process is a three-pronged effort. Proper completion requires the efforts of more than just the applicant. The agency and a medical professional will also need to complete paperwork.

The applicant will then complete SF 3112A, the personal statement of disability. The physician completes SF 3112C, the physician’s statement. The agency completes SF 3112B, the supervisor’s statement, SF 3112D the agency’s certification of reassignment and accommodation efforts and SF 3112E, the checklist.

What if my application is denied?

Those who receive a denial have options. Employees in this situation can seek legal counsel to help with a request for reconsideration. If the results from reconsideration are unfavorable, the applicant can move forward with an appeal.

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