From disability to regular retirement

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Q. I retired in 2004 after 21 years of federal employment on disability. Now that I’m 63 years old, I’m being told I am considered eligible for regular retirement. Has my age and time of service been used to calculate a different pay schedule?

A. Because you were a FERS employee, at age 62 your disability annuity was converted to a regular annuity. That annuity was computed as if you had worked to age 62. Thus, your actual service was added to the time you spent on the disability roll. Because you had at least 20 years of actual service, the total time was multiplied by 0.011. That product was multiplied by your high-3 on the date you went on disability, increased by all FERS cost-of-living adjustments payable from that time to age 62.

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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.

39 Comments

  1. I worked for the Dept of Veterans Affairs for 20 years under Fers and retired on disability at the end of 2008. Are there special reconsiderations in place for rehire since my health has improved and I desire to regain federal employment?

  2. I was told by a OWCP disability lawyer that OPM will NOT change my disability retirement unless I close my OWCP disability claim and then apply for OPM regular retirement. Is this correct? I am 62 and 3 months. How do I change from owcp disability to OPM FERS regular retirement, I live overseas. Thank you in advance.

  3. Hi, Do you know if OWCP pays for a medical translation for those FERS disability retirees that live outside the USA? If the medical translation has to be notarized?

  4. Hello, I was on FERS disability, but found I could return to full time work when I married. My husband was able to handle the activities of daily living. He has passed away and I now find it very difficult to continue full time. I would like to request reinstatement of my previous disability status. Will the previous years in disability still count as years of service as they would have with uninterrupted disability?

    • Because you are over age 62, even if you applied for and were approved for disability retirement, your annuity would be the same as if you had simply retired based on your current age and service. In either case, your annuity would be computed using the following formula: .01 X your high-3 X your years and full months of service.

    • Yes, however, at age 62 your CSRS annuity would be reduced by the amount of Social Security benefit you earned while a CSRS Offset employee.

  5. I retired in 2012 as law enforcement w regular retirement, i was never told that i had a year to apply for disability retirement, been having ptsd and bipolar disorder way before retirement, didnt know about it, though it was normal due to the environment i was working, i couldnt take it any more, just got diagnosed. What can i do.

    • You can apply for disability retirement now. Include medical data provided by your doctors that explain your condition. It will be up to OPM to determine if the time limit for application can be waived.

  6. I have a friend that started at the USPS in 1979 with 3 years active duty Army time. Which he paid for to OPM. In 2003 he was placed in OWCP wage loss do to a major work injury. He has over 41 years 11 months of credible service. Will he be paid the max 80 % of his pay by OPM should he switch to CSRS in lieu of OWCP wage loss? He wanted to find out what his CSRS pension would be but OPM has ignored our requests. Please send me an email contact to request this information for my friend.
    Thank you.
    KY Veteran

    • If he has 41 years and 11 months of creditable service he would be entitled to an annuity that equals 80 percent of his highest three consecutive years of annual pay, his high-3. The contact number for Retirement Services is 1-888-767-6738.

  7. I turned 62 on December 6, 2019. Its January 6, 2020 and my OPM disability check was unchanged. How long does it take OPM to adjust my annuity from disability to FERS?

    • It depends on their workload, which is substantial at this time of year because of end-of-year retirements. OPM’s goal is to get newly retired employees on the annuity roll as soon as possible. The conversion of disability retirees to regular retirement has a lower priority because the change in the amount they’ll receive is generally minimal.

      • I turned 62 December 16th, nothing changed with my disability retiree pay statement either. All those years having to be on time or else ,and doing it, at least they could be on time with the computation at 62 so to get on with my life. After all they have had 14 years to get my retirement in order.

        • Nonsense! OPM isn’t updating your potential annuity every year because they have real work to do. When your annuity is converted from disability to a regular annuity depends on their workload. It’s substantial at this time of year because of end-of-year retirements. OPM’s goal is to get newly retired employees on the annuity roll as soon as possible. The conversion of disability retirees to regular retirement has a lower priority because the change in the amount they’ll receive is generally small.

  8. i was put on disability retirement in 2008 and have been receiving owcp payments in liue ever since. i would like to know if i start taking disability payments this june 2020 when i turn 62 will all time spent receiving owcp count as years and would it be more advantagious

  9. In October of 2019, I was removed from the postal service because I had been approved for retirement disability in October 2018. I continued to work in a modified job. On January 2, 2020, I would have had 32 years of service with the Postal service, not including 2 years 10 months of repurchased military service, at age 55. On January 22, 2020, I turned age 56 which is my minimum retirement age. I’ve been receiving opm retirement since November 2019. My question is can I switch to regular retirement before the one year anniversary of the start of my disability retirement?

    • I’m not aware of any impediment to doing that; however, to get a definitive answer, I recommend that you call OPM’s Retirement Information Office at 1-888-767-6738.

  10. After 23.5 years as an LEO It became necessary for me to retire under disability in June of 2018. I promptly notified OPM in July of 2019 that I was granted SSDI. OPM confirmed receipt of my SSDI decision and I’ve contacted them monthly for the last two years to see when they will be adjusting my pay. Last month they told me they are done with my file and it has been but back in with the completed files. I explained again that they have never adjusted my retirement since 2018. They had no answer for me. Do you have any advice as to how I can get them to correctly adjust my pay? Thank you.

    • I suggest that you write your Member of Congress and explain the problem you’ve had in getting your annuity adjusted. Be sure to include your full name, date of birth, and CSA number. Your Member will forward your letter to OPM with a request that they look into the matter and get back to him or her, which they will.

  11. Hi, it seems that by discontinuing a federal Disability payment at 62 and converting to a regular retirement payment, the federal government is making many disabled employees to take early SSN retirement to make ends meet. At 62 the employee is still disabled. In my case I went form $1800 per month to $400 per month as I only had 10 years of federal service. The federal disabled worker with less than 20 years in will see a very low annuity.
    This is wrong, the disability payment should continue until full retirement age for SSN. A reduced SSN payment is for life.
    Are you aware of any changes to this?

    • To the best of my knowledge there has been no effort in any administration or the congress to change the law.

  12. My husband became disabled in 2003, he is under CSRS. He just turned 62 with 42 years of service. When will he be converted to regular retirement benefits. As a FERS employee I was converted at 62. I was told CSRS could have retired at 55 with disability converted to regular retirement. Please help. Thank you

    • He won’t be converted to a regular annuity. That’s because the laws covering CSRS and FERS are different. Since you are covered by FERS, your disability annuity was automatically converted to a regular annuity at age 62. There is no such requirement under CSRS. He will be a disability annuitant for the rest of his life.

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