Converting disability retirement to regular retirement

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Q. I have completed 20 years of firefighter service covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System. I recently was medically disqualified for service due to a permanent medical condition. I am 48 years old — not old enough for voluntary retirement. I have applied for disability retirement. Can I change my disability retirement to a regular firefighter retirement once I reach 50? If not, when I turn 62 and my retirement is recalculated, will I get the 1.7 multiplier for the 20 years of fire service?

A. No, you can’t convert from disability retirement to regular retirement at age 50. And no, the enhanced multiplier won’t be used when your annuity is recalculated 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 fedexperts@federaltimes.com.

2 Comments

  1. My ex-husband is receiving disability pension benefits from three (3) plans. One of the plans will convert to a retirement pension when he reaches at 65. The other two pension plans have indicated that it will never convert to a retirement pension. The Summary Plan Description and Model QDRO state that an Alternate Payee will begin receiving payments under the Plan when the Participant “goes in to pay status”. Also this plan is union dues funded (union dues paid during 16 years of the 20 years he was given credit for). When a plan provides this benefit, isn’t it considered a retirement benefit and not a disability benefit?

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