Re-employment after disability retirement


Q. I was removed from my agency due to becoming “Medically Unqualified” after 4 years, 9 months under FERS and given disability retirement in 2007. I am considering returning to federal service with a job at the Defense Department. With the disability retirement, I understand that if I maintain the retirement until I am age 62, the time I was on disability retirement would count as time in service for computing my regular retirement. Does that mean the time I have been a disability annuitant will count as service time for a new federal job? Would I/could I buy back the time? I understand my annuity will cease on the date of re-employment.

A. If you returned to work for the government, the time you spent on disability retirement wouldn’t count as years of service, only the years when you were actually employed. If you don’t return to work, at age 62 your disability annuity will be converted to a regular annuity. Your actual service will be added to the time you spent on disability to age 62, with your high-3 on the day you went on disability increased by any FERS COLAs payable from that time to age 62.


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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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