Hurt at work


Q: I worked for the Defense Department at an Air Force base for 4 1/2 years under FERS. While at work, I got hurt and became disabled. Within a month they RIFed me. That was in 1997. I am now 60 years old and still on OWCP and unable to work after several operations  and numerous procedures. What happens when I reach retirement age in 2 years? Will my income just stop?

A: As long as you are disabled, you will continue to receive workers’ compensation. To preserve your rights, you should have applied for a disability annuity within one year after you  were RIFed. If you didn’t, and you are found recovered from your disability, you wouldn’t be eligible for FERS disability retirement. And because you didn’t have five years of FERS service when you left, you wouldn’t be eligible for a regular annuity beginning at 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

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