Can I Get Opm Disability Retirement And Social Security Disability Retirement At The Same Time
Yes, but there will be an offset or reduction in the FERS annuity .
Besides the offset, there are several other considerations to keep in mind if you decide to file for both FERS Disability Retirement and Social Security Disability Insurance . Please refer to the article Some Thoughts on Social Security and FERS Disability Retirement for more information.
Postal Service Disability Retirement Application Process
Disability retirement is an employee benefit intended for employees who are unable to complete a normal career due to disease or injury. To be eligible for retirement disability, employees must meet prescribed statutory, regulatory, and administrative criteria.
The objective of our audit was to assess the Postal Services effectiveness in processing disability retirement applications.
The Office of Personnel Management administers disability retirements for the Postal Service and the federal government, including approving/disapproving disability retirement applications. The Postal Services Human Resources Shared Services Center and Eagan Accounting Service Center are responsible for helping employees complete the disability retirement application, collecting the applicants financial information, and submitting the application to OPM.
In fiscal year 2017, there were 23,426 Postal Service employees who retired, which accounted for about 25 percent of all federal government retirees. In addition, about 2,000 more employees applied for disability retirement.
What the OIG Found
What the OIG Recommended
Federal Employment Retirement System
Any postal worker hired after 1984 takes USPS retirement under the Federal Employment Retirement System . FERS pays less than CSRS, but postal workers are eligible for Social Security and Thrift Savings Plan payments. Postal workers pay into FERS and Social Security each pay period. Tax-deferred contributions to TSP are made by the USPS and the employee.
FERS also uses the high-3 average, paying 1 to 1.1 percent of the high-3 average salary for each year of service. Under FERS, a postal worker with a high-3 average of around $60,000 and 20 years of service earns $1,007 a month without any deductions. That equals about $12,000 annually. A worker with the same salary and 40 years of service earns $2,013 monthly, or about $24,000 annually. However, FERS employees also receive Social Security benefits and distribution of their TSP payments, so this number is actually higher.
A postal worker who was hired under the CSRS can transfer to FERS. The annuity is then calculated, using the years spent under each plan.
You May Like: What Should I Do With My 403b When I Retire
Disability Retirement Vs Regular Retirement
Q. Im a letter carrier with 32 years of federal service under FERS. I have 2½ years to go before I meet my minimum retirement age. Im considering disability retirement because my health has been keeping me from work. What will I lose or gain between regular retirement and disability retirement. Which is stronger financially?
A. FERS disability retirement provides the greater benefit, even for employees with as many years as you have. Note: If you file for FERS disability retirement, you must also file for Social Security disability benefits.
How Are Fers Disability Retirement Benefits Calculated
Under the regular federal retirement benefit system, the basic annuity formula is based on age at retirement and years of service. If you retire under age 62 or at age 62 or older with less than 20 years of service, benefits are based on 1% of your high-3 average salary for each year of service.
If you retire at age 62 or older with more than 20 years of service then benefits are based on 1.1% of your high-3 average salary for each year of service. However, the amount you can receive in federal disability retirement benefits can depend on your age and the years of service you have when you retire.
Here are some examples of how FERS disability benefits can be calculated.
You May Like: How Much Will I Need To Retire In 2050
Appealing A Fers Denials
If you are denied FERS benefits, you have 30 days to ask for a reconsideration, during which time you should add new or updated material to your record that could be helpful to your case.
If you are denied again, after asking for a reconsideration, the next appellate level is to a quasi-judicial agency known as the Merit Systems Protection Board , where an Administrative Law Judge or panel of judges will decide your case.
Only after you’ve exhausted all your administrative remedies can your case proceed to federal court. Throughout the process, pay close attention to filing deadlines and other instructions for submitting your appeal. A single missed deadline can torpedo an otherwise meritorious claim.
What Happens If The Federal Disability Retirement Request Fails
If youre denied the benefits, you have one month to ask for reconsideration. You may want to provide up-to-date material that can help in your case. If the application fails again, you should take the case to Merit Systems Protection Board . Make sure you meet the filing deadlines or you could miss a meritorious claim.
Recommended Reading: Best Way To Invest After Retirement
I Only Have Only X Years Of Federal Service Do I Qualify For Federal Disability Retirement
If you are a CSRS employee, you will need 5 years of creditable Federal Service to qualify for disability Retirement. However, Federal employees covered by the FERS system need only 18 months of Federal service to qualify for OPM Disability Retirement. If you are not sure which retirement system you were hired under, the general rule is that if you were hired after 1983, you are a FERS employee.
In many typical situations, older Federal employees with many years of public service will be able to qualify for either regular or disability retirement . Younger employees who suffer from a medical condition will not always be able to qualify for OPM Disability Retirement for several reasons. In such a case, many Federal agencies will typically behave unethically, hoping that the employee will just quit and leave the Federal Service empty-handed. This happens in many Federal agencies, but the U.S. Postal Service is especially guilty of this type of behavior.
Fers Disability Retirement: A Disconnect Between The Legal And The Medical
The author says that the long standing lack of a quorum at the MSPB highlights inefficiencies in the FERS Disability Retirement application process.
As of March 1, the Senate has finally confirmed two members for the MSPB Review Board, thereby allowing for a quorum to finally exist.
As others have already noted, the two members must now begin the daunting task of deciding upon a 5+ year backlog of almost 4,000 cases. The non-existence of a 3-Judge Panel at the MSPB has been an untenable circumstance impacting thousands of Federal and Postal employees for far too long. Whether a Petition for Review filed by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management or by the Appellant, any such Appeal-by-Petition for Review simply sat in limbo for years and years. Now, with a quorum in place, waiting for the ultimate outcome may be over sooner than later.
Politics aside, the voluminous backlog amassed as a consequence of the disappearance of a quorum at the MSPB for Petition-for-Review cases, is not merely indicative of a dysfunctional government, but to the point: OPM has a disconnect between the legal and the medical, and because of this disconnect, far too many Federal Disability Retirement cases are denied at the OPM level than should be. Why? Because OPMs Medical Specialists fail to recognize that Federal Disability Retirement cases are not merely medical issues, but an admixture of both the medical evidence as well as the laws which govern the evidentiary process for eligibility.
Also Check: How Can I Check My Retirement Money
Civil Service Retirement System
Postal workers who began before 1984 are eligible for the Civil Service Retirement System. Under CSRS, employees share in the cost of their future annuities, contributing 7 to 8 percent of their regular pay to the retirement system. However, they do not pay any Social Security retirement, as they are not eligible for Social Security benefits under CSRS.
To determine how much post office retirement is under CSRS, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management looks at the highest salary earned during any three consecutive years of service. Based on years of service, a postal worker earns 1.5 to 3.5 percent of their high-3 average salary for each year. The maximum allowable yearly annuity cannot be more than 80 percent of the high-3 average, which generally happens for those retiring after about 42 years of service.
Payments may be increased if the postal worker contributed to a voluntary account while employed or has any unused sick leave. Cost-of-living adjustments may be made to the annuity, resulting in higher payments. Payments decrease for contributions to survivors benefits or a health benefit plan.
As an example of USPS retirement under CSRS, a postal worker with a high-3 average of around $60,000 and 20 years of service earns $1,824 a month without any deductions. That equals about $22,000 annually. A worker with the same salary and 40 years of service earns $3,837 monthly, or about $46,000 annually.
Voluntary Early Retirement Authority
On occasion, the USPS goes through voluntary layoffs to reduce their workforce. People who opt for retirement under the Voluntary Early Retirement Authority can access their full retirement benefits earlier than normal. To be eligible for VERA, a postal worker must meet the following requirements:
- Employed by the USPS for 31 days before notice of the VERA
- Older than 50 with at least 20 years of government employment, or any age and 25 years of government employment
- At least five years of civilian government service
- A removal not based on misconduct or unacceptable performance
Payments are determined based on the CSRS or FERS plan the employee is under, and start the first day of the month following retirement.
You May Like: Oak Park Retirement Salisbury Nc
How Hard Is To Get Federal Employee Opm Disability Retirement
This is a very general question, and the answer really depends not only on your specific Federal position , but it also depends upon your particular physical or psychiatric condition and the nature of your medical limitations. Most Federal Disability Retirement Attorneys would argue that the general requirements of OPM Disability Retirement are easier to meet than those of the VA and even the SSA. This is true in almost all medical cases, but a potential difficulty to qualify for OPM Disability Retirement may arise due the fact that most doctors are not readily familiar with the legal criteria necessary to write a useful medical opinion. In fact, all they will usually do is just to fill out forms without knowing what they need to legally prove. In the end, you may end up being considered to be disabled and yet your OPM Disability Retirement application can still be denied.
Can I Get Opm Disability Retirement Even If My Federal Agency Or The Postal Service Has Accommodated Me
In theory, Yes. This is because, technically, a legal accommodation is not the same as a light/limited duty accommodation. In practice, OPM clerks will deliberately ignore this fact instead, they will argue that any accommodation provided by your Agency will constitute a legal accommodation. They might even argue that by signing the acceptance of a light duty job offer you were clearly stating that you were happily accommodated by your Agency. OPM Disability Retirement Attorneys who deal with these issues all the time should be able to prepare for you a strategy that will preempt this and other types of potential arguments OPM disability clerks and sometimes even OPM lawyers will try to use to defeat your Federal or Postal Disability Retirement application.
Recommended Reading: Blue Cross Retired Federal Employees
Medical Retirement: Calculating Fers Disability Benefits
What feds need to know regarding rules, eligibility, and the application process for the FERS disability retirement.
First off, if you are a federal employee who is able to take an immediate FERS pension, then that is probably the route to take, even if you become disabled. If you think there is a possibility that you might try to return after you leave federal service, then a disability retirement might be an option for you. In this article, well explore how age, length of service, and Social Security impacts a FERS disability retirement calculation.
Can I Get Federal Workers Comp And Opm Disability Retirement At The Same Time
No. Keep in mind that OWCP DOL job-related disability payments are supposed to be temporary benefits only. Thus, what we recommend doing in most cases is to apply for OPM Disability Retirement benefits until OWCP cancels your benefits for good or until you can no longer take all the harassment from the OWCP specialists and nurses in exchange for more money .
If you dont file for OPM Disability Retirement and your agency officially separates you from Federal Service, you only have one year from the date of separation to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits. If you fail to file within that timeframe, you will lose your right to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits forever. This is yet another reason why you should take your OPM Disability Retirement preparation seriously. In this case, if you do qualify for OPM Disability Retirement and later OWCP decides to terminate their benefits, you can then activate your OPM Disability Retirement benefits.
You May Like: How Much Should You Have When You Retire
Will I Be Able To Keep My Subsidized Health And Dental Insurance
Yes. However, there might be some slight variations about what insurance companies are available and how much they will charge you. An advantage of receiving a subsidized FERS health insurance is that if you move overseas, some companies like Blue Cross/Blue Shield will allow you to use your medical insurance in other countries. This is in contrast to the benefits offered by the SSA in that if you choose to have Medicare, you wont be able use that form of medical insurance outside the United States and its territories.
Total Vs Occupational Disability
In order to qualify for Federal Disability Retirement, you must be able to prove that you have an occupational disability. This means that you have a disability that stops you from performing your exact job description. This is different from a total disability that would inhibit you from performing any job, anywhere. Therefore, some federal employees can qualify for Federal Disability Retirement but not Social Security Disability Insurance .
You May Like: How Much Will Be My Retirement Income
I’m Receiving A Federal Employees Retirement System Disability Benefit Will My Benefit Ever Change
There are at least two scenarios statutorily that your FERS disability benefit can change.
In many cases your disability retirement is calculated as 60 percent of your high-3 average salary for the first year minus 100 percent of your monthly Social Security benefit in your first year of eligibility, if applicable. Your annuity will be recalculated at 40 percent of your high-3 average salary beginning the second year minus 60 percent of your monthly Social Security benefit or your earned benefit, whichever is higher, if applicable.
At age 62, your disability benefit is recalculated as though you had continued working until age 62. Your average salary is increased by all FERS cost-of-living adjustments paid while you were disabled.
If you’re eligible for an immediate retirement when you apply for disability and are approved, your annuity will be calculated at your earned rate there will not be a recalculation at age 62.
Tips For Retirement Planning
- Consider talking to a financial advisor about the best ways to make the most of the federal retirement benefits you may be eligible for. If you dont have a financial advisor yet, finding one doesnt have to be complicated. SmartAssets free toolmatches you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If youre ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
- One key to successful retirement planning is knowing what your Social Security payments will be. A Social Security calculator can quickly give you a good idea of what your monthly payments will be.
Federal Disability Retirement Benefits How Much Do I Get
FERS disability entitles you to 60 percent of your pre-disability for one year, after which you will receive 40 percent for consecutive years. That being said, youll have to apply for both SSI and FERS benefits at the same time in order to become eligible, and you may be asked to prove that you are disabled at a later date just so you can stay on the program.
Disability Benefits & The Special Rules
Unfortunately, there are some federal employees that can end up developing a physical or mental condition making it difficult to continue with their service. Once their condition is confirmed and is expected to carry on for at least a year or more, these federal employees are eligible to apply for disability retirement.Read More
Recommended Reading: How To Keep Busy In Retirement
Question Of The Week: How Much Will I Get Paid On Federal Disability Retirement And For How Long
A: First lets look at how much will you receive if you are approved for federal disability retirement from OPM.
Disability retirement benefits are computed differently depending on your age and amount of service at the time of retirement. Plus, your annuity will be recomputed after the first 12 months and then again at age 62.
Generally, if you can retire under a disability retirement, you will be under the age of 62 and not eligible for an immediate voluntary retirement. The computation is as follows:
- For the first 12 months, you will receive 60% of your high-3 salary MINUS 100% of your Social Security benefit for any month you are eligible to receive that.
- After the first 12 months, you will receive 40% of your high-3 salary MINUS 60% of your Social Security benefit for any month you are eligible to receive that.
- When you reach age 62, your benefit is recomputed using the amount that basically represents the annuity you wouldve received if you had not retired on disability. Meaning that your years receiving a disability retirement count as years of creditable service toward your FERS retirement at age 62.
- In this case, if your actual service equals less than 20 years, youll receive 1% of your high-3 salary for each year of service.
- If your actual service equals more than 20 years, youll receive 1.1% of your high-3 salary for each year of service.
Now, well look at how long you can receive a federal disability retirement annuity.
Your annuity will only stop if: