OWCP and Social Security


Q: I am a 66-year-old U.S. Postal Service employee who was born in 1944. I had planned to retire with 15 years of service this month; I thought that I would have recovered from on-the-job injuries by this time. I had already signed up for Social Security to begin on my 66th birthday (this month), but now my doctor says he needs to do more surgery on both arms before he will release me at maximum medical improvement. Also, I keep hearing that a voluntary early retirement is on the way and want to wait a little while to see.

Can I receive payments from Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs and Social Security at the same time? I know that 15 years of my Social Security benefits come from my USPS employment, but what about the other 35 years?

A: Nothing prevents you from receiving both your workers’ compensation payments and a Social Security benefit. Because you have already reached your full retirement age under Social Security, you may earn OWCP benefits without a reduction in you Social Security benefit.


About Author

Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to fedexperts@federaltimes.com.


  1. The Postal Service doesn’t provide Social Security benefits. Only the Social Security Administration can do that. So, are you receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or a regular CSRS or FERS retirement annuity?

  2. I retired from the Postal Service in June 2006 due to medical and health issues for my military career and also due to a back injury I sustained while working for the postal service. I was approved social security in 2009. With the understanding, that I had (CA-1) documentation of my back injury with the postal service, my claim was never approved by the workers comp until 2013….seven (7) years into my disability retirement. With this being said, I retained the services of 2 different attorneys, the 1st attorney charged me about 13,000.00 but my OWCP case was never approved. My 2nd attorney did win my case but charged me 4000.00 for a settlement of about $19,000.00 in 2013. The Social Security Office has sent me a letter to offset the amount of funds I received from this settlement. My question is: Can Scheduled Award payments be offset.

        • By law, the total of your Social Security disability (SSDI) and OWCP benefits cannot exceed 80 percent of your average current earnings (ACE). The ACE is initially calculated by taking your FICA-covered earnings from the highest year of the year you became disabled and the 5 previous years. That figure is divided by 12 rounded down to the dollar and multiplied by 80 percent. If your OWCP payments are higher than that, you wouldn’t be eligible for any SSDI payments. If less than that, you’d receive only the amount of SSDI that would bring your total payments up to 80 percent.

          • I apologize for the misunderstanding. However, the answer is still the same. 5 USC Sec. 8116(d)(2) requires that all benefits paid by the Department of Labor (DOL) for work-related injuries and deaths shall be offset by the amount of any concurrent Social Security retirement or survivor benefit which is attributable to Federal service.

  3. louis dandrea jr on

    My Spouse is receiving OWCP benefits. She is now 67 Years of age and eliagble to claim Social security under ME. If she claims SS now through me will her OWCP payments be reduced one for one?

    • This a question that would be best answered by the Social Security Administration. Give them a call at 1-800-772-1213.

  4. Nothing prevents you from receiving both your workers’ compensation payments and a Social Security benefit. Because you have already reached your full retirement age under Social Security, you may earn OWCP benefits without a reduction in you Social Security benefit.
    My question is, can OWCP TAKE PART OF MY Social security from my OWCP check if I am 62 years old? I am under the CSRS and with 35 years of service as an Air Reserve Technician


    • The Social Security Administration (SSA) will offset its annuity payments if you are receiving OWCP benefits. If you are receiving wage loss payments or a schedule award, then the SSA will deduct a percentage of its annuity payments based on the amount you’re entitled to through OWCP.

  5. I m receiving FERS OWCP partial payments of 20 hours a week ..I work 20 hours a week..and I receive SSA retirement..OWCP is reducing 50% of my weekly payment due to SSA Retirement…Why the reduction? I worked for my SSA retirement ..it’s not the governments money..the money I receive from FERS OWCP comes from the government sure but at the same time I could have worked and earned money if I wasn’t injured..Now I ‘m forced to retire

  6. Nawnie holmes on

    I’m confused previously you said that you could collect SSA and owcp with no offset then you say you can’t I’m 65 will be 66 in March can I or can I not collect my Social Security retirement benefits and owcp what happens to my fers

  7. I was a CSRS employee with 26 years of service. i was injured in 2006 and am receiving workers comp (owcp). I was approved for OPM disability retirement, but chose to receive owcp. it is now 15 years later and i would like to transition to OPM disability retirement. Several questions i have:
    do my years receiving workers comp count towards retirement calculation
    do i have to return to work to receive retirement (it so, how long)?

  8. Reg Jones,
    My question is: I’m currently drawing OWCP and I’ m wondering if I request to start drawing Social Security since I’m over 70 years old, will my OWCP payments be reduced. Additionally, I have been separated from the U.S. Postal Service due to my injury keeping me off work now for over 7 years. I have not started drawing my Postal Annuity yet. I have a feeling somewhere along the line, OWCP will want to reduce my payments ? I understand once I start to draw my retirement Annuity from the U.S. Postal Service, Owcp might start to do an offset ? One more thing, I am Retired from the Military with 20 years. I’m rated as 100% P & T from the Veterans Administration. Just need help on trying to figure out my best options for Taxes. Thank You

    • According to OPM, “CSRS and FERS-CSRS-FERS annuity benefits provided by the office of Personnel Management (OPM), either by regular retirement or disability retirement cannot be collected by an injured worker who is currently receiving workers’ compensation benefits. The employee must make an election between workers’ compensation and retirement benefits. Once an election is made, it can be revoked at any time. If OPM benefits are elected, the employee is still entitled to have medical expenses for treatment of the accepted condition(s) paid by OWCP.”

      I’m not qualified to answer your question about taxes. You’ll have to consult a financial specialist.

Leave A Reply