• Project Title:
  • Postal Service's Disability Retirement Application Process
  • Start Date:
  • Monday, November 13, 2017
  • Estimated Report Release Date:
  • May 2018

Disability retirement is a benefit intended for Postal Service employees who are unable to complete a normal career due to illness or injury. Postal Service employees must meet statutory and administrative requirements to apply for a disability retirement administered by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). 

About 25,000 USPS employees retired in fiscal year (FY) 2017, accounting for about 25 percent of all federal government retirees. About 2,500 of those Postal Service employees applied for disability retirement in FY 2017. 

Our objective is to assess USPS effectiveness in processing disability retirement applications.

  • What is your perception of the  processing of disability retirement applications by the Postal Service and OPM?
  • If you have applied for Postal Service disability retirement, how long did it take from submitting all your documents until receiving a decision from OPM?
  • If you encountered a considerable delay in receiving a decision from OPM, what was the impact to you (such as financial, loss of benefits, emotional distress, etc.)?
  • What suggestions do you have to improve the disability retirement application process?

Comments (5)

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  • anon

    Sent disability retirement paperwork in Jan'17. OPM sent notice saying application received with ID number. SSA approved in Apr'17. No word from OPM. It has been just a few days short of 1 year. I was using SL/AL but that ran out in Apr'17. I still have my insurance and luckily I have savings which allowed me to survive this wait. OPM site says 4-12 months to process but why the high end of that? Issues will get worse when PO VER start being processed. It would be nice if OPM at least sent an update (maybe every quarter) that the file is still being processed. Otherwise I am thinking the thing got lost in the system. PO HRSSC was good in the handling the paperwork.

    Jan 11, 2018
  • anon

    My experience with OPM has been nothing but frustrating. I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in the summer of 2016 after months of unrelenting back pain. The cancer left me with osteoporosis and other issues that preclude me returning to work. I submitted all my paperwork on time and gave them everything they asked for. I've been without pay for a majority of the last year . My case didn't even get assigned to a doctor for review until October of 2017. I was told at this point that I should have a decision within a month. It is now January of 2018 and a decision has still not been made. My calls to OPM are met with excuses about how backed up they are and I just have to wait. I will be 60 this April, so will be eligible for regular retirement at that time. It makes me wonder if that is also going to take over a year for them to decide.

    Jan 10, 2018
  • anon

    Started disability retirement application from usps in January of 2017. Went to opm in April of 2017. Still waiting for a decision on the application even though social security immediately accepted the condition as a disability and started payments in September. I have no use the social security payment to pay my health insurance and now can't afford mortgage payment until opm finally processes and sends back pay. I have been out of work due to end stage kidney disease. Why can't opm put conditions that are immediately accepted by social security in an immediate processing procedure to speed up claims?

    Jan 09, 2018
  • anon

    Been waiting over a year for my disability retirement. Accepted by disability SSA over a year ago. They took my health insurance so I can't even afford to go to the doctor. I've been very sick and now am selling everything I own.

    Jan 08, 2018
  • anon

    So sorry, but you should have been able to keep your health insurance. Contact your union rep for help.

    Jan 09, 2018

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