Disability retirement


Q. I am a GS-1811 with just over 16 years of federal service. I was grandfathered into federal service at 42 and will have to retire at 62 (I am 59). Additionally, I have bought back 12 years of Army active-duty time. My Agency has proposed my removal for performance reasons, which I can directly attribute to my worsening Adult ADD. They are leaning toward an involuntary disability retirement vice removal. If I am disability retired, will my 12 years of bought-back Army time be included in the annuity calculation? Will it also be included in the subsequent calculation when my disability retirement is converted to a regular retirement at age 62?
A. None of your service time – actual or active duty – will be used in determining your FERS disability benefit. That’s because that benefit is based on a simple formula:
– for the first 12 months, 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, 40 percent of your high-3, minus 60 percent of any Social Security disability benefit
At age 62, your disability annuity would be converted to a regular annuity using the following formula:
.01 x your high-3 on the day you went on disability retirement x all years of service (actual, time on the disability roll, and active duty service for which you made a deposit). That figure would then be increased by any cost-of-living adjustments payable from the time you retired to age 62.


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 had a motor vehicle accident on duty in Feb. 2016. I was off for 3-4 months. Due to the mild brain injury involved, I have been unable to improve to the required performance level and my supervisor suggested that I retire Thursday. My supervisors perception is accurate and I was given a generous opportunity to improve. I am 64, so I know there it will be a regular annuity. I only have 22-23 years in FERS and that is the only Social Security time I have as well. I had planned to work into my seventies as most of the women in my family have the health to do. I am lost, as with the brain injury, I had not put it together that I should have been preparing for an early retirement. Is there anything that being injured on the job will contribute? Thank you for your response.

    • Since you read the answer to a previous questioner, I hope you have applied for disability retirement. The benefits would be far grater than if you were separated and took discontinued service retirement.

  2. Brent Wesley Amos on

    Dear Reg Jones

    I am a post 1956 CSRS Eligible disability retiree; with approximately 16 years and 8 months of
    credible service.

    The creditable CSRS periods were; 10.8 years military from 8/5/80-5-5-1985 Honorable, and 11-14-85 -10-13-1991 Honorable; in addition to 6.0 years @ USDOJ; for total of 16.8 years.

    At the point in time of my separation; I completed military buyback; for the military service time; which predated the October 1, 1982 Social Security Act’ a total which is documented in OPM records as $3,414.00.

    On December March 15, 2009; I accepted SSID Benefits; due to inability to return to previous position retired from. Since I had paid my military buyback for the 10.8 years of military service; I had no
    reason to believe what would happen on December 1, 2016.

    On December 1, 2016; my Disability annuity was reduced from $1,592.00 to $888.00; due to a belief by OPM Officials that I subject to the automatic annuity reduction. They also indicated that I would be subject to an annuity overpayment from March 15, 2009 thru December 1, 2016, and that further notice would be forwarded to me.

    In closing; since the adverse reduction; I have not receive any notice of any overpayment (I am a CSRS eligible Veteran erroneously placed in FERS) despite requesting opportunity for a Hearing, and opportunity to respond. My question is; “based upon my perceived CSRS eligibility; shouldn’t OPM have automatically addressed this matter; by recalculating my annuity under the correct retirement system. Your assistance would be greatly appreciated.


    Perplexed in Austin Texas

    • Whether you were a CSRS of FERS employee depends on the date on which you were first employed by the federal government. Almost all new employees hired after December 31, 1983 were automatically covered by FERS. Active duty service for which a deposit has been made would have no affect on that determination. Despite this requirement of law, quite a number of employees were mistakenly covered by CSRS. The Federal Erroneous Retirement Coverage Act of 2000 was designed to correct those misenrollments whenever they were discovered. Only OPM can determine if you were improperly placed in CSRS. To find the answer, you should continue to pursue your case by letter and by phone. If you still get no answer, you can always write your member of Congress and ask them to pursue the matter for you.

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