Workers' comp + Social Security disability?


Q. Can you draw both workers’ comp and Social Security disability? I am a FERS employee who was put on Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs rolls because no work is available to me due to my work restrictions. Is there a penalty during both? Is either one taxable? Or am I forced to drop workers’ comp? And how does this affect me with my Veterans Affairs Department disabilities?

A. No, you can’t draw both. If you are approved for workers’ compensation and disability retirement, you have a choice to make. As a rule, workers’ compensation is the best choice financially. If you leave workers’ compensation, you can always activate your disability retirement. While workers’ compensation benefits are tax-free, disability retirement benefits aren’t.


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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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