ANSWER: Disability retirement is a right. Any employee who belongs to either the Civil Service Retirement system (CSRS) or the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), after meeting certain threshold requirements, can collect a portion of his or her salary if a medical condition prevents him or her from continuing work in a government job. It is not a favor, a handout, or a gift, but a right for which you have already paid through contributions to your retirement fund. Whereas regular retirement gives you the right to stop working and begin collecting if you reach a certain age, disability retirement gives you this right if you develop a disability, even if you haven't yet reached retirement age. Just as the premium payment on your fire insurance policy protects you against the loss of your house due to fire, your monthly paycheck retirement deduction protects you against loss of income due to disease or injury.