Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

Early retirement vs. disability retirement

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Q. Does it take about the same amount of time to start receiving early retirement pay as disability retirement pay? If so, is there any advantage to applying for both when you qualify for both? I’m under FERS, age 59 with 20 years of service.

A. If your agency offers you an opportunity to retire early and you accept it, it will forward your application to the Office of Personnel Management, which, after a few weeks, will put you in interim pay status until it can finalize your annuity. If you apply for disability retirement, it will take time for you to provide the medical evidence and for you and your agency to complete the paperwork.

After your application is forwarded to OPM, it will take even longer for them to review your case and make a decision. If they decide in your favor, you will start receiving your full annuity. If they decide against you, you’ll be back to square one.

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