Disability retirement versus workers’ compensation


Q. I retired Dec. 3 on disability retirement after 13½ years’ service with the USPS. I am receiving 60 percent of high-3 the first year and 40 percent of high-3 the second year until age 62, which will be in July 2014. In applying for disability retirement, I cited 5 Department of Labor-accepted, on-the-job injuries to feet, two torn biceps and shoulder surgeries, as well as intercostal chondritis. I also cited worsening back condition and other conditions I am receiving VA compensation for. My high-3 is approximately $54,000, and I receive $2,708 from OPM under FERS disability retirement. I was wondering if I can apply for workers’ compensation if it is more beneficial financially. OPM cited approval is solely based on thoracic spine (military injury — I had 25 years’ active duty in Army) and bilateral tear of both biceps (approved by DOL OWCP). I received a schedule award for the biceps tears, as well as surgery to both feet. Also, I have put in a claim to have my VA disability raised from 70 percent (currently) to 100 percent individual unemployability and should have a decision in a few months. I am confused on the FERS disability retirement versus OWCP workers’ compensation.

A. To better understand the relationship between disability retirement and workers’ compensation, go to www.opm.gov/retire.pubs/handbook/C102.pdf.


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.

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