Disability and health benefits


Q. I’m retired under the Federal Employees Retirement System, and have been retired for over 10 years. I was injured on the job, unable to perform the work I was doing, and have had to change to an office job. I was lucky enough to be employed by the state and had really good insurance. So I opted out of my FERS medical benefits and received a larger annuity monthly payment. I didn’t think at the time that double insurance was needed.

I am 47 now, still disabled and unable to return to my government job. I continue to receive an annuity but would like to opt back in for the medical insurance. Is that possible during open enrollment?

If I’m still considered disabled at 62, will they stop all payments and consider me permanently disabled? Will I have to apply for Social Security disability, or do the payments continue under a different name?

A. The fact that you didn’t elect to continue your Federal Employees Health Benefits insurance into retirement bars you from re-enrolling now. As for your annuity, if you are still disabled when you reach age 62, your annuity will be recomputed as though you worked to 62. As a result, actual service will be added to the time you spent on the disability rolls. The total will be multiplied by 1 percent and the product will be multiplied by your high-3 on the day you went on disability, increased by any FERS cost-of-living adjustments payable from that time to age 62.


About Author

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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