FERS and Social Security disability


Q: I am receiving disability from FERS. The dates of service are incorrect and I should have 13.5 years of federal service instead of the 5 years OPM has listed. I’m in the process of appealing Social Security disability. If I don’t get the dates of service issue rectified prior to receiving the SS disability award, will the proceeds be comingled and therefore more difficult to determine the appropriate award? If I should get to a point where I am able to go back to work, how will this affect retirement disability? Thank You!

A: Under FERS during the first 12 months you’ll receive 60 percent of your high-3 minus 100 percent of any Social Security disability benefit. After that, you’d receive 40 percent of your high-3 minus 60 percent of any Social Security disability benefit. Retroactive adjustments would be made to correct for any errors in payment. If you returned to work, your Social Security disability benefit would be terminated. Whether your FERS disability payment would be terminated would depend on whether your earnings exceeded 80 percent of the current rate of pay for the job you had when you retired on disability.

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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 fedexperts@federaltimes.com.

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