How to get a medical retirement?

If you have suffered a disability, you may be forced into medical retirement. Here is how to get medical retirement.

2 min read

The most common type of retirement is regular retirement where, after years of service, you expect to leave the workforce after attaining the full retirement age. However, you may be forced into retirement on medical grounds if you have disability or mental illness. This form of retirement is known as medical retirement.

If you have suffered a disability that impedes your ability to work, you may opt for medical retirement. To qualify for medical retirement, the disability you suffer must be long-term and it must prevent you from performing your regular duties at work. A doctor must also confirm your disability. If you are a federal employee, you can apply for disability retirement benefits through Federal Employees Retirement Service (FERS) or Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS).

What is medical retirement?

Medical retirement is common in the military, where servicemen may be forced into retirement due to a disability that prevents them from performing military duties. The disability must be reviewed by a Physical Evaluation Board (PEB) to determine the extent to which the disability prevents them from working in their or other related fields.

If you have less than 20 years of military service and a disability rating of at least 30%, you will qualify for retirement. However, if the disability rating falls below 30%, it could result in separation rather than retirement. If you have at least 20 years of active military service, PEB will recommend retirement regardless of your disability score.

Apart from the military, medical retirement may also exist in other fields. Workers who suffer a disability that impedes their ability to work may be forced to start medical retirement. Usually, you may be subject to a medical review where you are subjected to a medical evaluation to determine if the condition hinders you from working.

Once the disability is confirmed, you can apply for disability retirement to start receiving compensation. If your work is covered by social security, you can apply for Social Security Disability. If you are a federal worker, you can apply for disability retirement through the Federal Employees Retirement Service (FERS) or Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS). State employees may also be allowed to apply for disability retirement through the state government.

Benefits of Medical Retirement

If you have a disability, mental illness, or other medical condition that prevents you from working, here are potential benefits that may be available to you:

Social security disability

If you have a long-term medical condition, you may qualify for social security disability benefits. You must have worked in a job covered by social security, meaning that you must have paid into the Social Security System either through payroll taxes or self-employment tax.

If you are eligible for the social security disability benefit, you will receive monthly payments from social security until you can work again. Social security also provides work incentives to provide health coverage and continued benefits to help you make the transition back to work. If you received social security retirement benefits at full retirement age, these benefits will be converted into retirement benefits. The benefits amount will not be affected.

Military Disability Retirement

If your disability prevents you from discharging your military duties, you may be eligible for disability retirement. Military disability retirement varies from VA disability because it is determined by the Department of Defence; VA disability is offered by the Department of Veteran Affairs to veterans who suffered injuries while serving in the military.

If the Physical Examination Board (PEB) finds that you have a qualifying disability, it determines if it is severe enough to get medical retirement. You will then be put on a Permanent Disability Retired List (PDRL). If the disability is not severe enough, and the PEB has determined that you may get better, you will be put on the Temporary Disability Retired List.

If you are placed on the PDRL, it means you are retired due to your length of service, and you will be entitled to all retirement benefits available to military retirees. If you are on the TDRL, you will get a monthly stipend and medical coverage for you and your dependents until the medical condition has stabilized.


If you are retired and receiving a pension, these payments may alter the amount you receive in monthly disability payments. However, a medical retirement will not affect the pension you are due to receive from your employer.

Some employers may allow early pension payments due to a medical condition. This could mean getting a reduced pension amount since the pension payments will be spread over a longer period. However, if your condition is terminal, your employer may increase your pension amount to allow you meet your healthcare costs.