Disability retirement

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Q. I am a FERS employee with serious medical issues. If I apply for a disability retirement, I will be required to submit an application for immediate retirement. According to the instructions on this application, most annuities begin the first day of the month after separation. How does this work if my request needs to be approved by Social Security? If it were denied by Social Security, then what would happen to my annuity?

A. Because you are a FERS employee, if you apply for disability retirement, you must also apply for a Social Security disability benefit. Your receipt of a FERS disability annuity isn’t contingent on your receiving a Social Security disability benefit. If you are approved for the disability annuity and not the disability benefit, you’ll continue to receive the disability annuity.

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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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