Disability retirement and FEHB coverage


Q. I am 58 and will be removed for medical inability next month after 14 years under FERS. I have carried self-plus-family Federal Employees Health Benefits for the past six years. Once I am immediately removed (pending Office of Personnel Management disability decision), is my health insurance terminated? If so, is there any grace period?

A. You will receive a 31-day extension of coverage at no cost to yourself. You may choose to continue it under the temporary continuation of coverage provision for up to 18 months at your own expense, plus 2 percent to cover administrative costs.


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.


  1. I was a FERS employee and at age 50, 25 years of service I retired under VERA. Within a year I applied for disability retirement. If approved for disability retirement, will OPM simply declare me disabled and no change in monthly benefits (as it is slightly higher (about $20 per month ) than the 40% rule, OR use the 60/40 rule and calculate back pay for the first 12 months [(3 year averaged x 60%) – 12 months VERA – 100% Social Security Disability] since I did not qualify for a “true” immediate retirement (i.e. Not met minimum retirement age, service requirements for regular retirement) as mentioned in Chapter 61 of the OPM handbook?

    Very Confused,


    • All I can tell you is what the law says.
      For the first 12 months of disability retirement, retirees receive 60 percent of their high-3, minus 100 percent of any Social Security disability benefit. After the first 12 months and up to age 62, retirees receive 40 percent of their high-3, minus 60 percent of and Social Security disability benefit. At age 62, the disability benefit is recomputed as if the retirees had worked to age 62. Only OPM can tell you if there is any “look back” or if retiring under a VERA would factor into that. My best guess is that neither of those is relevant.

Leave A Reply