Rules on disability retirement


Q: I retired under an early-out exception due to health reasons in September 2009. I was a Federal Employees Retirement System employee. I also applied for disability and I was just recently approved. I am 56 years old, with 22 years, 7 months of service. I need to know how my disability payment will be computed. I read that if I was eligible for a voluntary immediate retirement, there was no advantage to me getting disability. The only retirement I qualified for was MRA+10. Does this mean I will get benefits based on the 60 percent, and after 12 months, 40 percent, etc. of my high-3, or will it be calculated the same way as my early-out retirement, was which was 1 percent of my high-3 for each year I worked?

A: Your annuity would be computed under the disability retirement rules. For the first 12 months, you’ll receive 60 percent of your high-3 average salary, minus 100 percent of any Social Security disability benefit. After the first 12 months, you’ll get 40 percent of your high-3, minus 60 percent of any Social Security disability benefit. At age 62, if you are still on the disability rolls, your annuity will be recomputed as if you had actually worked to age 62. Note: When initially calculating a disability annuity, the Office of Personnel Management compares that amount with what you would receive in your earned annuity. Only if your earned annuity was greater than your disability annuity would you receive that instead.


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Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to

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