Disability retirement


Q. I am a retired FERS employee — 59 years old, with 25 years of federal service. I retired two years ago under VERA VSIP. My employer (Defense Department) was reducing the workforce due to budget cuts and abolished my job.

I paid into Social Security for 42 years. I have some health issues and am considering applying for Social Security disability. My question is: Will Social Security disability retirement affect my FERS annuity?

A. If you were approved for SSDI, it would have no affect on your non-disability FERS annuity.


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. Robert Schneider on

    Is there anything in black and white that verifies that your non-disability (normal) FERS annuity will not be affected if you apply for social security disability?
    I have read OPM’s website and cannot find anything addressing this subject.
    The only thing it addresses, is if you have FERS disability retirement and then claim social security disability.

    • You can’t find anything because there isn’t anything. Laws, regulations and guidance simply state what is not what isn’t. They say what will happen if you apply for disability retirement and Social Security disability. They don’t say anything about what happens if you retire and then apply for Social Security disability benefits because your retirement benefit wouldn’t be affected.

  2. My husband retired in 12/2016 He has been receiving his FERS non disability annuity plus the special annuity until he turns 62 which was a few days ago. He was also just approved for SSDI and will receive a lump sum for all of 2017. Will this lump sum affect the special annuity since is dies have an earning limit?

      • Is it possible to be approved for FERS disability retirement and then be denied social security disability? And if denied, will this affect my FERS disability retirement pension?

  3. Age 59 collecting FERS annuity and supplement (until 62). Should I be awarded SSDI, would that effect the supplement at all (reduce, cancel, etc.) ?

  4. As far as collecting FERS annuity and supplement (until 62) then being awarded awarded SSDI 2 years after discontinued service retirement and not having effect on the special retirement supplement (reduce, cancel, etc.) is there documentation for this with OPM ? I would like to see it in print and keep a copy of it just in case.

  5. Switched from fers disability to regular retirement on my 62nd birthday. Was approved for SSDI two months later.I know I will get a reduction in my fers annuity payment. I will also owe quite a bit of money in back-pay to SSDI. How is my Fers reduction calculated? Finally, will I be recalculated on my fers annuity when my SSDI converts over to regular social security when I turn to full retirement age? Mike Lowry.

    • At age 62, your disability benefit will be recomputed as though you had worked to age 62. As a result, your actual service will be added to the time you spent on the disability rolls. The total time will be multiplied by 1.1 percent. The product will then be multiplied by your high-3 on the day you went on disability retirement, increased by all FERS cost-of-living adjustments payable from that point to age 62.

      • Retired at age 50 from Federal govt. under special law enforcement retirement rules, and receive a normal FERS annuity. I was just approved for SSDI at age 52. I have FEHB Health Insurance, should I refuse or take the Medicare offered for SSDI recipients? Advantages vs. Disadvantages. And will my time spent on SSDI be added to my FERS time when I reach age 62, with my annuity be recalculated for an additional 10 years?

        • I’m not qualified to tell you about the advantages and disadvantages of taking or refusing SSDI coverage. I can tell you that taking SSDI wouldn’t result in the time spent on it being used to recalculate your annuity.

          • Thank you, but I believe I was misunderstood. Is there an advantage to having both Federal Health Insurance AND medicare at the same time? Or…should I refuse the medicare and just have the Federal Health Insurance at this time….and address Medicare when I reach the age of 62?

            As far as the time while on SSDI (from age 52 till age 62), I thought I read in an earlier post that it would be recalculated to ADD an additional 10 years service at the rate of 1.1% per year, to my annuity at that time.

            Thanks for any answers and I love this site! I learn so much.

          • You should enroll in Medicare Part A because you already paid for it through payroll deductions. Part B is optional and you’d have to pay for that benefit. Many federal retirees don’t enroll in it because it doesn’t add that much to their coverage. However. some feel it’s worth the cost because it covers a condition or service that would otherwise drain their financial resources.

          • P.S. Time spent by a retiree on SSDI isn’t used to increase his or her length of service.

  6. I was in a “duo status position” meaning military and Fed Tech. I was granted a military retirement (medically discharged) and for that reason I was also granted FERS (OPM) Fed Tech retirement… so many names and acronyms. I was told it was my obligation not a choice to also apply for Soc Sec Disability. OPM rep called me a year after my retirement and answered my question one being … If I find a job suitable for my situation will I be able to accept under the rules and regulation of one keeping the disability retirement? The answer was not simple: “well, you cannot exceed the pay of which you were retired” – which was that math that ended in 38K / yr. “…and you cannot work in the same type of job as before.” okay I applied for Soc Sec and went through their exams etc as I was told it was NOT a choice. I got a temp job work from home, only analyzing pictures from images received and clicking yes or no to it. I got paid as I worked. Never had to be on the phone or typing. Easy job. I laid down when I needed, had long breaks when needed, didn’t work the days I was not feeling well. Went to my doctor’s appointments. Started on April 27 and ended on Oct 3rd. same year. I was working for a company who provided service to Apple and provided me with an Apple lap-top to work from home. Soc Sec rep called me today two months after my temp job ended, saying I lost my rights to continue my application for disability because I was working and did not report. First whomever called them that he says he “…doesn’t know who and how…” says I was working full time for Apple. I told several people who asked what was I doing that I was working for Apple NOT one person knew the name of the company of which hired me. Why did they called Soc Sec and said that I am not sure because not even I knew would affect me. But for sure I was not trying to hide because my Soc Sec is used for the purpose of hiring me for the job. But the Soc Sec rep was acting like I knew and was working the system. I waited a full year to get paid by OPM I was homeless throughout the full year because I didn’t have how to pay for rent (which where I live is very expensive) and when I was finally able to receive $1,550 from OPM I was relieved because I was then told I could work and what the rules were in order to keep my disability. Who on Earth can live as a single mother on only $1,550 a month? That Social Security says I didn’t report… 1st I didn’t know I could not work until they came out with their decision. When I first left the military which was a surprise I went to apply for unemployment and I was told if I couldn’t because if I couldn’t work full time I could not apply for unemployment. So I am getting the doors shut all over and have no idea what my rights really are. What do I do?

  7. Christine Engel on

    I am eligible to retire with 30 years of service non-disability from DoD in Sept 2024 at age 56. I have stage 4 breast cancer and my research has show I should qualify for SSDI when I retire. My FERS annuity will not be offset by the SSDI amount I receive allowing me to receive both FERS and SSDI in full when I retire, correct? Thank you.

    • If you retire and then apply and are approved for SSDI, you would be able to receive both benefits with no reduction in either.

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