LWOP impact on fed disability high 3


Q. I have scoured all the relevant back posts and the closest one to answering my question was on 2/23/2010. You said that being on LWOP would not affect the high-3 average pay computation for purposes of federal disability retirement because the employee was receiving FECA comp. What if no compensation was being received, but you were not on LWOP for more than six months during any year of the high-3 period.  That is, no “excess LWOP.”
For example, what if an employee used four months of LWOP each year in her final three years when she earned her highest rate of annual salary, which was significantly higher than the annual salary rate for any other high-3 period that might be used. Would OPM “deem” this LWOP as salary earned for high 3 purposes provided that she didn’t use more than six months in any year of the high-3 period?  If the answer isn’t straightforward, is there any way for a fed employee to get written advice from OPM?

A. Assuming that your agency would let you do that, any period of LWOP that doesn’t exceed six months in a calendar year will be considered to be creditable service and the basic pay you were receiving when you went on each period of LWOP would be used in your high-3 computation.


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

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