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If you become disabled during your Federal career, you may be entitled to a disability annuity under CSRS. If you apply for disability retirement:

  • You must have completed at least 5 years of creditable Federal civilian service.
  • 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 1 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 can apply while you are employed or after you are separated. If you apply after you are separated, your application must be received by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) within 1 year of your separation. This time limit can be waived only in instances involving incompetency.
  • Your disability retirement application must be approved by OPM.


  1. Read Information About Disability Retirement and Information for Prospective CSRS Retirees.
  2. Request an estimate of your retirement annuity if you have not previously received one. You are entitled to an earned annuity computed under the CSRS general formula. However, the law guarantees a minimum annuity if you retire because of disability. The guaranteed minimum applies if you are younger than age 60 when you retire and your earned annuity based on your actual service is less than the minimum. The guaranteed minimum is the lesser of:
    1. Forty percent of your high-3 average salary (highest average basic pay over any 3-year period), or
    2. The regular annuity obtained after increasing your service by the time between your retirement and your 60th birthday.
    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.
  3. Complete the SF 2801, Application for Immediate Retirement.
  4. Complete the SF 3112, Documentation in Support of Disability Retirement Application.
  5. If you are waiving retired military pay to receive credit for military service under CSRS, complete the Waiver of Retired Military Pay and send it to the military component 60–90 days before your planned retirement date.

    If you have made a deposit, you should attach the receipt that shows your deposit has been paid in full. The receipt can be a copy of a Leave and Earnings Statement or payroll letter showing the deposit has been paid.

    If you have not made a deposit for your post-1956 active military service, you still have the opportunity to do so, but it must be paid in full to your payroll office prior to your retirement.

    If you are retired from active military duty, made a deposit for your military service, and have decided that you will not combine your military and civilian service for CSRS retirement, you must apply for a refund of your military deposit by completing an SF 2802, Application for Refund of Retirement Deductions.
  6. If you are enrolled in the Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) program and meet the 5-year requirement for continuing coverage after retirement, complete the SF 2818, Continuation of Life Insurance Coverage as an Annuitant or Compensationer. If you are not enrolled in Option A, B, or C, check the "I do not have" block. The FEGLI Calculator helps you determine the current value and cost of your life insurance and how it will change after you retire. The premiums shown on the SF 2818 have not been updated by OPM. Correct premiums are available on the OPM Web Site.

    If you do not meet the 5-year requirement to continue your life insurance, your retirement specialist will provide information about converting to a private policy.
  7. If you are enrolled in the Federal Employees Health Benefits program, your coverage automatically continues if you meet the 5-year requirement; no additional action is required. If you do not meet the 5-year requirement, your retirement specialist will provide information about electing Temporary Continuation of Coverage.
    If you want to make a Benefits Open Season election and will retire before the effective date (the first day of the first pay period in January), you cannot make your election using the Employee Benefits Information System. You must complete a SF 2809, Health Benefits Election form between Monday of the second full work week in November and the Monday of the second full work week in December and send it to your retirement specialist.
  8. If you are enrolled in the Federal Dental and Vision Insurance Program, your coverage will automatically continue. It may take a few annuity cycles before dental and/or vision premiums are withheld. After the first successful deduction from your annuity, BENEFEDS will adjust your deduction to catch up for the payments that were missed during the transition. You will receive a letter from BENEFEDS informing you of the amount of the adjusted deduction.
  9. If you are currently enrolled in the Federal Flexible Spending Account Program (FSAFEDS), your eligibility automatically terminates when you retire. You should contact an FSAFEDS benefits counselor for information about your account.
  10. If you are enrolled in the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program, you must contact Long Term Care Partners to notify them that you are retiring so they can coordinate with OPM to set up deductions from your annuity.
  11. If you participate in the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), no action is required if you want to leave your money in TSP. If you want to withdraw your money from TSP, you should wait 30 days from the effective date of your retirement before submitting your request. Additional information is available on the TSP Web site. The TSP can assist you with your questions about your withdrawal options.
  12. If you have a CSRS Voluntary Contribution account, complete RI 38-124, Voluntary Contributions Election 60 days before the effective date of your retirement. You should read RI 38-125, Voluntary Contributions Notice and RI 37-22, Special Tax Information for Employees and contact OPM to discuss your options. You may call OPM at 888-828-9451 or 202-606-0706 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Eastern Time, except on Federal holidays. You may also email OPM at VoluntaryContributions@opm.gov.
  13. Your retirement annuity payments will be directly deposited to the same financial institution that currently receives your salary deposits. If you want to make a change, complete a SF 1199A, Direct Deposit Sign-Up Form and attach it to your retirement application, or make the change after you retire using Retirement Services Online.
  14. Federal tax will be withheld from your retirement annuity in the amount currently withheld from your salary. If you want to change the amount of Federal tax withheld, complete a W4-P, Withholding Certificate for Pension or Annuity Payments and attach it to your retirement application, or make the change after you retire using Retirement Services Online. You can calculate how much Federal income tax should be withheld from your retirement annuity by using the Federal Tax Withholding Calculator.
    Part of the retirement annuity you receive is a tax-free recovery of your contributions to CSRS; the remainder of your annuity is taxable. You can figure the tax-free portion using the OPM calculator. Information about taxation of your annuity is explained in IRS Publication 721, Tax Guide to U.S. Civil Service Benefits.
  15. State tax is not automatically withheld from your annuity. OPM has agreements with some States to allow the withholding of State income tax, but you must specify the dollar amount ($5 or more) you want withheld. After your retirement has been finalized, you can use Retirement Services Online to start, change, or stop the State tax withholdings. If your State does not participate, you should contact your State tax office for information or assistance.
  16. Review your designation of beneficiary for FEGLI, CSRS, and TSP and update as necessary.
  17. Ensure all retirement application forms are signed and dated.
  18. Make a copy of all forms for your records.
  19. Mail the original retirement application to the Civilian Benefits Center. Since original signatures are required, faxed or e-mailed forms are not accepted.
  20. Your retirement specialist will review your retirement application, contact you concerning agency accommodation, and send you a CBC 12830-73, Employee Statement Regarding Accommodation to complete.
  21. Once preliminary pay information is received from the payroll office, the application will be mailed to OPM.
  22. OPM will review the application to determine if the documentation meets the eligibility criteria for disability retirement. You should allow 2–6 months for OPM to review your application.
  23. If OPM disapproves your application, you will receive a written notice outlining the reconsideration procedures.
  24. If OPM approves your application, you can apply to use any sick leave that you have. If you do not have any sick leave, you will be separated from Federal service not later than the end of the pay period in which OPM’s approval of your application is received by the Civilian Benefits Center. The Civilian Benefits Center will create the electronic Request for Personnel Action (SF 52) in the Defense Civilian Personnel Data System to process your retirement. No action is required by your activity.
  25. Your retirement specialist will provide information to OPM regarding your last day of pay so your retirement annuity can begin. If your retirement plan is CSRS Offset, you must provide information from the Social Security Administration about whether you are receiving Social Security benefits before OPM can finalize your annuity payments.
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