Considering disability retirement


Q: I’m 56 years old, which is my minimum retirement age, with 12 years of credible service. If I applied for disability retirement, would I receive benefits based on my years of service or the “60 percent first year, 40 percent thereafter” rule? If I would only receive the “high-3” times years of service calculation, what would be the advantage, if any, of disability retirement?

A: Because you aren’t eligible for an immediate unreduced annuity, your benefit would be calculated under disability rules. You’d receive 60 percent of your high-3 minus 100 percent of any Social Security disability benefit to which you are entitled. After 12 months, you’d receive 40 percent of your high-3 minus 60 percent of any Social Security disability benefit. Note: If you file for Federal Employees Retirement Service disability retirement, you must at the same time file for Social Security disability benefits. If you do not, the Office of Personnel Management will not process your application.


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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

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