Q. I have 23 years and 11 months in the Postal Service. I am going to be 60 on June 26. I have not been able to work since June 21, 2011, and have been on leave without pay. I applied for Social Security disability and was turned down. My assessment was inconclusive, leaving out the reason for my disability. So I have a lawyer who states I have and excellent case, which he says may not be resolved until the beginning of 2013. About a month ago, I put in for early retirement due to financial hardship. Later, I was informed by the Office of Personnel Management that my disability retirement was approved. So I contacted the agency and reverted to my disability request, which was approved. I was told I am entitled to the supplemental income even if it’s disability retirement down the line if I received Social Security disability. Is the supplemental income terminated because I have to turn over Social Security benefits to OPM until I am 62?
A. I think you misunderstand how FERS disability retirement works. During the first 12 months, you’ll receive 60 percent of your high-3 average pay minus 100 percent of any Social Security disability benefit. After that, up to age 62, you’ll receive 40 percent of your high-3 minus 60 percent of any Social Security disability benefit. At age 62, your disability annuity would be converted to a regular annuity. Disability annuitants are never entitled to receive the special retirement supplement.