Q: I was told by my physician that I will probably have to go on temporary disability. Is this allowed as a Federal Employees Retirement System employee? If this happens, will I have to use leave during this time, and if not, would I still get my regular wage?
A: The federal government doesn’t have a short-term disability benefit. To be eligible for disability retirement, you would need to have a disabling condition that 1) prevented you from performing useful and efficient service in your current position or another position at the same pay level in your commuting area, and 2) was expected to last for at least one year. If you don’t meet these criteria, you could use any accumulated sick or annual leave you have during your absence from work. If that wasn’t sufficient, you could be placed on leave without pay. Regardless of whether you were using your own leave or went on LWOP, you’d need to first work out the arrangement with your supervisor. Note: Most agencies have a leave-sharing program, whereby employees can donate annual leave to help fellow employees. Check with your agency to find out if you would qualify.