Q. I am applying for FERS disability. My agency will approve a part-time schedule while this action is pending. However, when I visited Social Security to pick up an application for SSDI, I was told I might not qualify for benefits based on my income. If I am denied by Social Security for this reason, will I be denied FERS disability retirement? How can anyone qualify for Social Security if their disability retirement exceeds the income test? I am very confused.
A. The rules governing FERS disability retirement aren’t as stringent as those for Social Security. For the former, you only have to be unable to satisfactorily perform the duties of your position or an equivalent one at the same pay or grade within your commuting area. For the latter, you must be judged unfit for all gainful employment. Nevertheless, as a FERS employee, you have to apply for Social Security disability benefits; otherwise, OPM won’t process your application.