Workers' comp and retirement

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Q. My father was recently told he can no longer work. He is 62. The damage and arthritis in his hands is getting worse and he needs to file for workers’ compensation. The doctor also recommended early retirement. Can he file both? Should he do one or the other first to maximize his benefits since this was not anticipated?

A. He should file for both. If approved for both, he’ll need to compare the benefits. In most cases, workers’ compensation benefits are better than those for disability retirement. If that’s the case, he can go on workers’ comp and suspend his disability retirement. That way, he can reactivate that benefit if he ever loses coverage under workers’ comp.

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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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