FERS disability and other options


Q. I retired on FERS disability in 2009 at the age of 46 with 17 years of service. I applied for FERS and went on various leave until approved. When I was approved, my position was eliminated from the agency within my state. I had been given a direct reassignment, which I declined due to the nature of the duties (similar to what I was disabling on) and the distance for transfer (130 miles away). Plus, the position had additional duties of driving for two hours daily — a duty I could not do (This was known for years within the agency). My separation papers reflected my original position as the disabling position, not the reassignment.

I went through one medical questionnaire two years ago, and I am now getting ready for the second one. The difference now is that I have a new doctor who has not yet been involved in such a questionnaire.  I assume all will get well because nothing has changed, and he is aware of my conditions.

1. If for this reason, I am removed from FERS disability, what are my options concerning retirement: discontinued, involuntary separation or nothing? I am age 50 but with the 17 years of service, can I convert to any other type of retirement, or must I wait until my minimum retirement age of 56?

2. If my doctor is not supportive and I submit the form without physician comments, what happens then?

A. 1. Because you wouldn’t meet the minimum age and service requirements, you would only be eligible for an annuity at age 62.

2. If your physician didn’t confirm that you are still disabled, your disability annuity would stop. You could, of course, seek another medical opinion.


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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