Reinstating Disability Retirement for Federal Employees
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Disability Retirement for Federal Employees – I’ve Been Kicked Off, Can I Get Back On?

Jan 16, 2023 | Disability Law, Federal Disability Retirement

By Peter Casciano

Disability Retirement for federal employees (FERS) can be reinstated under the right circumstances and if the claimant acts in a timely fashion.

To figure out if your terminated disability retirement benefits can be re-started, you must first confirm the reason the benefits were terminated in the first place. The following rules and regulations only apply to disability retirement benefits that are terminated due to OPM’s allegation that you were restored to earning capacity.

What other kinds of terminations are there, where the rules covered in this article have no effect? If your disability retirement benefits were terminated because:

  • You reached age 62
  • You became re-employed under FERS
  • OPM alleges you have recovered medically from the disability for which you retired…

then this article does not apply to you. The only kind of termination where you can use these procedures to apply for reinstatement is when you were terminated due to restored earnings capacity.

If you were terminated by OPM due to restored earnings capacity, you could apply for reinstatement of disability retirement benefit if you are still under 62, if you aren’t covered by FERS, if you have not recovered from your medical condition and your earnings have fallen below the 80% earnings threshold.

If you meet the above requirements, you must wait until January 1 of the year following the year in which your earnings fell below 80% of the earnings threshold. Regarding this timing requirement, if your earnings fell below the 80% earnings threshold during the entire calendar year 2024, your application for reinstatement of FERS disability retirement should be filed after January 1, 2025.

For a detailed description of the 80 earnings threshold, please check out one of my earlier blogs here:

What kinds of financial documents, in addition to the medical records, will be required in an application for reinstatement?

It’s critical that you have complete copies of your filed federal tax returns, W-2s, 1099’s, and any documents showing earnings. Helpfully, OPM provides a detailed list of earnings that DO NOT count as earnings for the purposes of an application for reinstatement, including:

  • Gifts
  • Income from Civil Service retirement benefits, pensions, annuities, military retired pay, Social Security benefits, and veteran’s benefits
  • Insurance proceeds
  • Unemployment compensation
  • Rents or royalties, unless received in the course of your trade or business
  • Withdrawals from 401k plans
  • Interest or dividends from savings accounts, stocks, personal loans, or home mortgages held
  • Money that you earned before retirement
  • Workers’ compensation
  • Amounts received in court actions
  • Inheritances, trusts, estates, or endowments
  • Capital gains from the sale of real or personal property
  • Prizes, awards, gambling, or lottery winnings
  • Fellowships or scholarships
  • Business losses
  • Pay for jury duty

It’s important to act quickly and gather the key medical records and gather the key financial documents when pursuing an application to reinstate disability retirement benefits. I would be happy to provide a detailed consultation discussing these issues and let you know if we can help. Please contact me at any time:

About Andalman & Flynn, P.C.: Founded in 1998 in downtown Silver Spring, Maryland, Andalman & Flynn has forged a distinguished reputation for legal excellence. The firm represents individuals seeking disability benefits throughout the country and practices family law throughout Maryland and the District of Columbia. The firm focuses on cases that impact the rights of everyone, and are there for clients when responsive legal help is most critical. The firm has provided legal analysis on national and local television and radio, and their attorneys often testify before legislative bodies and are routinely invited to contribute to prominent legal publications. For more information about Andalman & Flynn, please visit the website at or call 301.563.6685.