Q. I am 46 years old and coming up on 23 years of federal law enforcement service. Under our retirement calendar, we must retire at age 57. I could retire voluntarily at 49 with 25 years of service. I am considering a disability retirement due to a recent injury that has left my body, which has had many prior on-the-job injuries, racked with pain, and I can no longer perform my job.
Will the following years that will count into my federal total time in service, once on disability retirement, continue until my 57th or 62nd birthday under normal retirement age limits? Does this mean that it would add 10 years of credit to my total time in at age 57? Wouldn’t that put my percentage of my high-3 average at or above 50 percent since I believe we are credited at the rate of 1.1 percent per year? Adding in the special Social Security annuity that we start receiving upon retirement from federal law enforcement, is this completely taken out of our monthly payment for the disability retirement during the first year? Or is that Social Security disability that I must apply for as part of the disability retirement process that is taken out for the first year? Are they the same thing or two different Social Security payments?
A. FERS disability retirees, regardless of their prior coverage and age, have their annuities recomputed at age 62 using the standard formula: .01 x high-3 when they went on disability x years of service, including time spent on disability. That figure is increased by any cost-of-living adjustments added to annuities since they went on disability.