Q: I am a FERS employee and have a total of 22 years on the job as an 1811 LEO. I also have four years of military credit that add up to more than 26 years with the government, but I am only 48. I am in the process of possibly putting in for disability retirement because of an eye condition I developed. What are my benefits and where exactly do I stand financially if given the opportunity to retire early?
A: If you apply for disability retirement, you would also have to apply for Social Security disability benefits. That’s because the formula for determining any disability retirement benefits is based on the interaction between the two. If approved for disability retirement, during the first 12 months you’d receive 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, you’d receive 40 percent of your high-3 minus 60 percent of any Social Security benefit. If you were still judged to be disabled at age 62, your annuity would be recomputed as if you’d been on the employment roll all along.
If offered an opportunity to retire early, your annuity would be computed using the standard FERS formula. That’s because you wouldn’t have 25 years of covered service, which would be needed to qualify for the enhanced annuity benefit.