OPM suggests that 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
- You must have completed at least five years of creditable Federal
- You must, while employed in a position subject to CSRS, have become
disabled, because of disease or injury, for useful and efficient service
in your current position. (Useful and efficient service means fully
successful performance of the critical or essential elements of the
position-or the ability to perform at that level-and satisfactory
conduct and attendance.)
- 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, and 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 of your separation. The
application must be received by OPM within one year from the date of
your separation. This time limit can be waived only in instances
To apply for CSRS disability retirement you must complete
SF 2801, Application for Immediate Retirement, and
SF 3112, Documentation in Support of
- If you are still employed or have been separated from your employing
agency for 31 days or less your employing agency may help you complete
these forms and if you are still on the agency payroll, will forward the
completed forms to OPM. However, it is your responsibility to obtain all
the information necessary for OPM to make a decision on your claim.
This includes providing all of the required forms and documentation.
- If you are covered by the CSRS Offset Retirement System you must
document that you applied for Social Security disability benefits after
you separated from your agency. OPM cannot pay you a disability
retirement without this information.
- 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.
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- 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 2801 and SF 3112A, along with the
name, address and telephone number of the person(s) you have asked
to complete the remaining forms.
When OPM approves your application for disability retirement, they may
determine that based on your medical condition you will periodically have to
provide them with current medical information in order to continue receiving
benefits. You are responsible for paying for any medical exams that are
needed. If you do not fulfill the request for evidence of continuing
disability, it is likely that your benefit payments could be suspended until
your continuing eligibility is established.
You are entitled to an “earned” annuity computed under the CSRS general
formula. However, the law guarantees a minimum annuity to employees who
retire because of disability. The guaranteed minimum applies if you are
under age 60 when you retire and your earned annuity based on your actual
service is less than this minimum.
The guaranteed minimum is the lesser of the following:
- 40 percent of your “high-3 average salary”, or
- the regular annuity obtained after increasing your service by the
time between your retirement and your 60th birthday.
Exception: The guaranteed minimum does not apply if you
are receiving military retired pay and/or compensation from the Veterans
Administration in lieu of all or part of the military retired pay.
However, if your earned annuity plus your military benefit (or compensation)
is less than what it would have been under the guaranteed minimum, the
annuity is increased to bring it up to that level.
Reductions in Disability Annuity
Your basic annual disability annuity will be reduced for:
- survivor benefits - If you are married, your benefit will be
reduced for a survivor benefit, unless your spouse consented to your
election of less than a full survivor annuity. It will also be reduced
if a former spouse survivor benefit is required by a court order.
- Unpaid Service - If you have creditable civilian service performed
before October 1, 1982, during which no retirement deductions were
withheld from your salary and for which you have not paid a deposit,
your annuity will be reduced. The annual reduction is 10 percent of the
total deposit due. Nondeduction service performed on or after October 1,
1982, cannot be used to compute your annuity unless the deposit is made
- Refunded Service - If you had creditable civilian service for which
you took a refund, but did not pay a redeposit, the service cannot be
used in the computation of your annuity.
- CSRS Offset - If you had service that was subject to withholding for
both the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and Social Security, you
are subject to a reduction in your annuity if the Social Security
Administration (SSA) can pay you a benefit based on the portion of your
Federal service which was under both systems. This is called “CSRS
Cost of Living Adjustments for CSRS Disability Retirees
- Your disability annuity will be increased by cost-of-living (COLA)
increases that occur after you retire. Your first COLA increase will be
prorated based on how long you have been retired when that COLA is granted.
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