Q: I am an 80 percent disabled veteran right now. I have applied for a Federal Employees Retirement System disability retirement, and they I was told it would take three to six months. Is that about the right time? I thought it would go through rather quickly.
I went to apply for Social Security, but until I am not working, they can’t process my claim. Same thing with Veterans Affairs. I gave them an individual unemployment form, then they said I had to wait until I am not working. Is that right? I applied for Social Security under the Wounded Warrior Program – Desert Storm and Afghanistan in 2003 Veteran – and it is supposed to be fast tracked. I also got to meet the people I need to contact when I have to file again.
Why is disability from the federal government taxable? It is ridiculous that they do that, and can you provide me info on that as well?
A: The speed with which disability retirement applications are processed by the Office of Personnel Management depends on the volume of work they are handling and the complexity of the cases that are in line before they get to yours.
The criteria for disability retirement from the civil service are different from those for the Social Security Administration. For the former, you only need to be disabled to the point that you can’t provide useful and efficient service in your current job or one that’s open at current current grade or pay within your agency’s commuting area. To be considered disabled by the Social Security, you have to be disabled for all gainful employment. If you are still working you are considered to be gainfully employed. While the VA’s rules may be the same, I’m in no position to comment about them because they apply to the military and fall outside the scope of this forum.
As a rule, civilian disability annuities are taxable as regular income, unless you are deemed to be totally disabled, a determination that is originally made by the Social Security Administration and reviewed by the Internal Revenue Service. While you may think that taxing that income is ridiculous, it is a matter of law.