Leave without pay, disability retirement and creditable service


Q. I started a position with a federal agency in October 2010 and worked through July 2011 (about nine months) when I was diagnosed with advanced stage cancer and had to go on leave without pay. I was on LWOP for all of 2012. I am still on LWOP and a colleague suggested I apply for disability retirement. I started collecting Social Security disability in January 2012. Do I have enough creditable hours to meet the 18 months under the FERS disability retirement? Does collecting Social Security disability when I did affect my creditable-hours calculation? I also received several hundred hours in donated annual leave in 2012. Do the donated leave hours have any effect on the creditable-hours calculation?

A. You’ll have to talk to a specialist in your personnel office to learn if you have the 18 months of creditable service needed to apply for FERS disability retirement. Donated annual leave would be included in that tally, while any LWOP that exceeded six months in a calendar year would not.


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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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