FERS and Social Security disability overpayments

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Q. I receive a FERS annuity. If I receive Social Security disability, I understand I lose 60 percent of that pay until I’m 62. Will FERS go back however many months and make me pay back the difference for those months of retroactive pay from Social Security? In other words, if I collect six months of retroactive pay from Social Security do I owe FERS 60 percent of my annuity that I received for those six months?

A. If your approval for Social Security disability benefits is retroactive, you will owe whatever you were overpaid in your FERS disability annuity. Usually, the repayment is handled by the Social Security Administration reducing the amount of the benefit it pays you until the debt to OPM is paid.

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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.

18 Comments

  1. Question: I am a FERS Retiree, I recently received 100% disability from VA, and was finally awarded disability from Social Security.

    I would like to know how if any will the Social Security Disability affect my FERS annuity. – Note this is not FERS disability, but Social Security.
    Thank you

    • Karen Mamalakis on

      I retired FERS April 29, 2016 at age 56 with 33 years of service. After taxes and insurance my annuity is $1590….. Included in my annuity is a $695 SRS payment until I reach 62. I was just approved for SSDI. Will they take this $695 to the backpay date of Oct 2016? Will I keep the total annuity or lose it? How will my SSDI affect my regular FERS annuity please? Thank you in Advance.

      • Because you didn’t retire on disability, your approval for SSDI won’t have any affect on your FERS annuity. Further, you won’t owe anything to anybody.

  2. I’m am receiving social security disability. Now I’m applying for FERS retirement. Will it affect my FERS annuity?

    • No, it won’t unless you apply for disability retirement. If you do, your Social Security disability benefit would be reduced.

  3. I have been on Federal Disability Retirement since April 2011. I just received a Partially Favourable decision on my SSDI appeal. My SSDI onset date was set for Oct 2012. So pretty much I’ve been receiving overpayments for 4 years from OPM. As I understand it, Social Security will handle the reimbursement and OPM will reduce my monthly check by 60% of the monthly SSDI award. My question is when I talk to the SSA about the reimbursement… 1. When the payment plan is set up, is there interest charged on the remaining balance? 2. Is there a minimum payment/deduction I can choose ($100.00)? 3. Is there a maximum time limit for repayments (5,6, or 7 years?) 4. Can the payment/deduction be adjusted if I need to?

  4. I retired as a Firefighter at 54 as I hurt my back and couldn’t do the job any more. I had a choice and took my regular annuity instead of the disability retirement. I was covered by CSRS offset. I was just approved for Social Security Disability. How wI’ll that affect my annuity I’m now 57?

    • At age 62, your CSRS annuity will be reduced by the amount of Social Security benefit you earned while a CSRS Offset employee. To find out how that Social Security benefit will interact with your Social Security disability payments, you’ll have to call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213.

      • So the Social Security Disability payments are not affected and do I need to report the Social Security disability to OPM?

      • So the Social Security Disability payments are not affected now? do I need to report the Social Security disability to OPM?

  5. Thanks for helping us with your educated answers!

    I’m currently receiving FERS Disability and still working on SSA DIB at the Hearing level. Is there any legal way to avoid or side step around the offset?

    • Assuming that you’re asking about the over-payment, with rare exception the general answer is no. While tight financial circumstances might allow you to repay over time, only bankruptcy could allow it to be waved

  6. I took early retirement age 57 from the postal service due to medical reasons February 28 2020 and also filed for social security disability the same time .social security web site said my application is 90% done doing medical investigation said it be 216 days for medical review date start of April 2020 its now June 2021 still processing at 90% meanwhile I filed for fers disability and was approved on April 22, 2021 still waiting for adjustment on that my high salary was $59,735.00 and I had 26 years 1 month service can someone explain my best and worst outcome on what I might receive monthly if I get both and do i receive backpayment for both I currently get $981.00 minus deductions

    • Assuming that your application for FERS disability retirement is approved, your disability benefit would be computed using the following formula:
      – for the first 12 months you would receive 60 percent of your high-3 average salary, minus 100 percent of any Social Security disability benefit.
      – after the first 12 months, you’d receive 40 percent of your high-3, minus 60 percent of any Social Security disability benefit.
      – when you reach age 62, your FERS disability benefit would be recomputed as if you had worked to age 62. This actual service would be added and the total time and multiplied by 1.1 percent because you had 20 or more years of service. That number would be multiplied by the high-3 you had at the onset of the disability and increased by any FERS cost-of-living adjustments payable from that time to age 62. Retroactive payments would be determined by OPM and the Social Security Administration.

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