Losing dual status


Q. I’m 52½ years old. I came into the civil service as an air reserve technician in April 2007. I bought back 10 years of active-duty service, which brings me to 16 years creditable service. In 2008, I had a botched surgery and have also developed a foot problem, both no fault of my own. My case is being reviewed by a medical evaluation board. If I lose my dual status, under these circumstances, can I remain in my job as civil servant, or will I be offered a civil service position to remain in the civil service until I retire in 2020? Title 10 USC 10218 says I would. USAFR Instruction 136-114 says I would.

However, I have heard that I would only be considered for a position should one exist at my current assigned base and under my current wage grade (WG-11). If none exists, I would be medically retired and qualify only for an annuity, based on my creditable service of 16 years. I think it’s 25 percent of my annual salary at 16 years. I do not think I would qualify to draw my Social Security. However, I haven’t been able to find any directives stating these rules within the laws or regulations governing air reserve technicians. Can you advise?

A. No, you can’t remain in your job as a civil servant, nor is your agency required to find a position for you. You could apply for disability retirement. If you did, you’d also have to apply for a Social Security disability benefit. If you were approved for disability retirement, for the first 12 months you’d receive 60 percent of your high-3, minus 100 percent of any Social Security disability benefit. After the first 12 months and up to age 62, you’d receive 40 percent of your high-3 minus 60 percent of any Social Security disability benefit. At age 62, your annuity would be recomputed as if you had worked to 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.

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