FERS disability


Q: I am a FERS employee. I work for the USPS. I was 55 in August 2009. I had 33 and 1/2 years as of April 30, 2009. I have an accepted OWCP injury that occurred in 2007. I was looking into disability but was told by a lawyer that there was no need because at this point I would not receive more than what my immediate retirement would be. If I was on disability until I was 62 years old, wouldn’t that increase my years of service by seven years, hence giving me more money when figuring out the retirement formula? My average high-3 years is about $48,500. How much would I receive with and without survivors benefits if I retired now? How much would my monthly supplemental be? Do I receive this until I am 62, and at 62 do I continue to get the FERS portion minus the supplemental and then pick up my Social Security which leaves me with FERS, Social Security and my TSP? In figuring the amount of money I would receive, I understand it is approximate and for the most part I haven’t worked any place else as far as contributing to Social Security. I bought back 10 and 1/2 years of military time and have been with the USPS for 23 years.

A: Although you are free to continue on injury compensation for as long as you are considered disabled, it would be sensible for you to apply for disability retirement, even if you chose not to accept it for the time being. Because you are covered by FERS, your annuity during your first year would be 60 percent of your high-3 minus 100 percent of any Social Security disability benefit to which you were entitled. After the first year and up to age 62, it would be 40 percent of your high-3 minus any Social Security disability benefit. At age 62, your annuity would be recomputed. You actual service would be added to the time you spent on disability retirement and the total multiplied by 0.01. The product would be multiplied by your high-3 on the day you went on disability retirement. That amount would then be increased by any cost-of-living adjustments that were paid up to age 62.


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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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