U.S. Code of Federal Regulations
Regulations most recently checked for updates: Dec 07, 2022
(a)(1) Except as provided in paragraphs (a)(3) and (a)(4) of this section, an application for disability retirement is timely only if it is filed with the employing agency before the employee or Member separates from service, or with the former employing agency or OPM within 1 year thereafter.
(2) An application for disability retirement that is filed with OPM, an employing agency or former employing agency by personal delivery is considered filed on the date on which OPM, the employing agency or former employing agency receives it. The date of filing by facsimile is the date of the facsimile. The date of filing by mail is determined by the postmark date; if no legible postmark date appears on the mailing, the application is presumed to have been mailed 5 days before its receipt, excluding days on which OPM, the employing agency or former employing agency, as appropriate, is closed for business. The date of filing by commercial overnight delivery is the date the application is given to the overnight delivery service.
(3) An application for disability retirement that is filed with OPM or the applicant's former employing agency within 1 year after the employee's separation, and that is incompletely executed or submitted in a letter or other form not prescribed by OPM, is deemed timely filed. OPM will not adjudicate the application or make payment until the application is filed on a form prescribed by OPM.
(4) OPM may waive the 1-year time limit if the employee or Member is mentally incompetent on the date of separation or within 1 year thereafter, in which case the individual or his or her representative must file the application with the former employing agency or OPM within 1 year after the date the individual regains competency or a court appoints a fiduciary, whichever is earlier.
(b)(1) Before payment of a disability annuity under this part can be authorized, the applicant must provide OPM with:
(i) Satisfactory evidence that the applicant has filed an application for disability insurance benefits under section 223 of the Social Security Act; or
(ii) An official statement from the Social Security Administration that the individual is not insured for disability insurance benefits as defined in section 223(c)(1) of the Social Security Act.
(2) A disability retirement application under this part will be dismissed when OPM is notified by the Social Security Administration that the application referred to in paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section has been withdrawn. All rights to an annuity under this part terminate upon withdrawal of an application for social security disability benefits.
(c) An agency may consider the existence of a pending disability retirement application when deciding whether and when to take other personnel actions. An employee's filing for disability retirement does not require the agency to delay any appropriate personnel action.
(a) Basis for filing an application for an employee. An agency must file an application for disability retirement of an employee who has 18 months of Federal civilian service when all of the following conditions are met:
(1) The agency has issued a decision to remove the employee;
(2) The agency concludes, after its review of medical documentation, that the cause for unacceptable performance, attendance, or conduct is disease or injury;
(3) The employee is institutionalized, or the agency concludes, based on a review of medical and other information, that the employee is incapable of making a decision to file an application for disability retirement;
(4) The employee has no personal representative or guardian; and
(5) The employee has no immediate family member who is willing to file an application on his or her behalf.
(b) Agency procedures. (1) When an agency issues a decision to remove an employee and not all of the conditions described in paragraph (a) of this section have been satisfied, but the removal is based on reasons apparently caused by a medical condition, the agency must advise the employee in writing of his or her possible eligibility for disability retirement and of the time limit for filing an application.
(2) If all of the conditions described in paragraph (a) of this section have been met, the agency must inform the employee in writing at the same time it informs the employee of its removal decision, or at any time before the separation is effected, that:
(i) The agency is submitting a disability retirement application on the employee's behalf to OPM;
(ii) The employee may review any medical information in accordance with § 294.106(d) of this chapter; and
(iii) The action does not affect the employee's right to submit a voluntary application for disability retirement or any other retirement benefit to which the employee is entitled under FERS.
(3) When an agency submits an application for disability retirement to OPM on behalf of an employee, it must provide OPM with copies of the decision to remove the employee, the medical documentation, and any other documents needed to show that the cause for removal results from a medical condition. Following separation, the agency must provide OPM with a copy of the documentation of the separation.
(c) OPM procedures. (1) OPM will not act on any application for disability retirement filed by an agency on behalf of an employee until it receives the appropriate documentation of the separation. When OPM receives a complete application for disability retirement under this section, it will notify the former employee that it has received the application and that he or she may submit medical documentation. OPM will determine entitlement to disability benefits under § 844.203.
(2) OPM will cancel any disability retirement when a final decision of an administrative authority or court reverses the removal action and orders the reinstatement of an employee to the agency rolls.
(a) An individual or agency filing an application for disability retirement is responsible for providing OPM with the evidence described in § 844.201(b)(1), as well as whatever documentation OPM requires in order to determine whether the individual meets the eligibility requirements set forth in § 844.103. The documentation must be provided in a form prescribed by OPM. Failure to submit the documentation required is grounds for dismissing the application. It is also the responsibility of the disability annuitant to obtain and submit evidence OPM requires to show continuing entitlement to disability benefits. Unless OPM orders an examination by a physician of its choice under paragraph (b) of this section, the cost of providing medical documentation rests with the applicant or disability annuitant.
(b) OPM may offer the applicant a medical examination when it determines that an independent evaluation of medical evidence is needed in order to make a decision regarding an application for a disability annuity or a disability annuitant's entitlement to continuing benefits. The medical examination will be conducted by a medical officer of the United States or a qualified physician or board of physicians designated by OPM. The applicant's refusal to submit to an examination is grounds for dismissal of the application or termination of payments to an annuitant.
(c)(1) OPM will review the documentation submitted under paragraph (a) of this section to determine whether the individual has met the eligibility requirements set forth in § 844.103. OPM will issue its decision in writing to the individual and to the employing agency. The decision will include a statement of OPM's findings and conclusions and an explanation of the applicant's right to request reconsideration or MSPB review under § 844.104.
(2) OPM may rescind a decision to allow an application for disability retirement at any time if OPM determines that the original decision was erroneous due to fraud, misstatement of fact, or upon the acquisition of additional medical or other documentation. OPM will provide the individual and the employing agency with written notification of the rescission, including a statement of OPM's findings and conclusions and an explanation of the individual's right to request reconsideration or MSPB review under § 844.104.