Q. I have a progressive disease and am slowly reaching the end of my ability to do my job due to decreased mobility and fatigue. As of July 2018, I have worked for the federal government for 18 years. I will reach my minimum retirement age in February 2019. If I were to apply for a disability retirement, are the benefits better if I do so before or after reaching my MRA+10? Also, if I were granted a disability retirement under age 60, would I be penalized 5 percent for every year under age 62?
A. Whether you’ve reached MRA+10 or not is irrelevant. Disability benefits are calculated in the same way for anyone who has at least 18 months of service and qualifies for that benefit. Assuming that you continue to qualify for that benefit, at age 62 your disability benefit would be converted to a regular retirement. That benefit would be calculated as if you had worked to age 62.