Disability retirement


Q. I worked as a law enforcement officer for more than 13 years before I was medically disqualified for my position and was awarded disability retirement. I am three months from turning 62. Will my regular retirement computation include the 13 years as an LEO at 1.7 percent since I paid an additional 0.5 percent into the FERS retirement system? Does the amount for credible service include the time receiving disability retirement? I have read the years on disability are computed at 1.1 percent if retirement begins on or after age 62 with 25 years of credible service. Is this correct?

A. Yes, at age 62 your disability annuity will be converted to a regular annuity. Twenty years of service (actual and disability) will be computed using the enhanced 1.7 percent multiplier, the remainder at 1 percent. Your annuity will also be increased by any COLAs payable from the date you went on disability retirement to the date your regular annuity begins.


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.


  1. Elaine Lumsden on

    Please see BAL-10-205, Enhanced Computations for Disability and Survivors, which can be found at https://www.opm.gov/retirement-services/publications-forms/benefits-administration-letters/2010/10-105.pdf The BAL states that due to a series of court cases, OPM now calculates the time spend as a LEO AND time spend on the disability rolls as LEO time and will in fact calculate, at age 62, up to 20 years at the 1.7% rate and any years over 20 at the 1% rate.

  2. Elaine Lumsden on

    At age 62, when the annuity is recomputed, the high-3 is increased by all COLAs , not the annuity. Here is the reference:

    1. The disability annuity is recomputed at age 62 to an amount that represents the annuity the individual would have received if he or she had continued working until the day before his or her 62nd birthday and then retired under FERS non-disability provisions.
    2. The total service used in the computation is increased by the amount of time the individual received a disability annuity. The high-3 average salary is increased by all FERS cost-of-living increases that were effective during the time he or she received a disability annuity, regardless of whether the retiree’s annuity was actually increased by the COLA’s.

  3. Woww Thank you all very much Your input in this is helpful

    I do have an item that is concerning me, I read

    an additional annuity accrual rate of 1.7% must be included in the computation of an earned annuity if an employee has performed service as a law enforcement, firefighter, nuclear materials courier, Customs and Border Protection officer on and after July 6, 2008

    I was disabled in 1995 I am concerned this may not include me although it should,

  4. Elaine Lumsden on

    If your concern is regarding the July 6, 2008 date, that date only applies to Customs and Border Protection officers as they were not officially considered Law Enforcement Officers until then. Prior to the Benefits Administrator Letter sited above providing detailed guidance on this issue, OPM had issued a letter stating new rules would be issued on calculations of disability retirements and death in service of special provision employees and anyone who had retired prior to this guidance should contact OPM to have their annuity recalculated.

  5. Dear Mrs ELaine Lumsden, Thank you for your information, I have had great difficulty accessing OPM

    I might be able to get more from actually viewing the letters ????

    Is it possible for you to direct me to the letter stating new rules would be issued on calculations of disability retirements and death service of special provision employees and anyone who had retired prior to this guidance,

    or better the New Rules letter itself ??? thus I can again try to contact OPM and be able to discuss this with them in a better learned position.

    Again , Thank you very much

    • Elaine Lumsden on

      The written information you seek can be found in the document I have linked you to at the end of this message. It addresses all special provision employees covered by this new rule so you will see information on Fire Fighters, Air Traffic Controllers, etc, but look for the Law Enforcement documentation and examples. Might I suggest you write OPM a letter and send it certified or registered, so you will know it was received, informing them you were retired under the disability rules in 1995 as a law enforcement officer and you want to be sure they apply the current rules when they recompute your retirement at age 62. Good luck, Elaine


      • Thank you for your help, Thank you for your time and energy and expertise your have generously provided towards my search

        AGain , Thank you

      • Dear Mrs Lumsden

        Thank you, Thank you I researched and studied this information, it did in fact help me greatly,

        Would you be able to help me find out better information about possible, enhanced dissability pay

        could you help me refigure their figures to ensure it is correct

  6. I am on a FERS disability annuity. I was an air traffic controller for 19 years 9 months. If I am reading BAL 10-105 correctly my annuity should be computed at 1.7% instead of the 1.0 or 1.1% I am currently receiving. Is that correct? Also at age 62 what will happen? At that age I would have 41 years of service. I also question MRAs and the age of 62 for calculations for air traffic controllers. I was eligible for a full FERS retirement at 46 (25 years service). The maximum age to work as an air traffic controller is 56. Shouldn’t the recalculation begin at 56? Please help me determine what I should be getting paid.

    • FERS disability payments are calculated in only one way. They aren’t influenced by whether you are a regular or a special category employee. At age 62, your disability annuity will be converted to a regular annuity, which will take into account your ATC service, all of it increased by any COLAs that would have been payable from the time you went on disability to the present.

    • Note: Disability annuities for individuals who performed service in an enhanced position such as law enforcement officer, firefighter, nuclear materials courier, air traffic controller, Capitol Police, or Supreme Court Policy will be credited at the higher 1.7% for that service.

      Copied from OPM website

  7. Julie Richardson on

    I retired on a disability annuity (not SS) as an air traffic controller after 16 years, 10 months at age 42. I’ll be 62 in November, and curious about the pending recalculation. I wrote a request to OPM to request an estimate of annuity at age 62. I added all the FERS COLA’s to my high 3 figure and all the FERS COLAs to try to figure it out, but see widely diverse numbers. If my combined 36 years are all calculated at 1.1%, it’s just shy of 48K. If it’s all calculated at 1.7%, it’s almost 74K. In between, if 20 years are at 1.7 and 16 years are at 1.1%, it works out to just over 62K. Quite a budgeting spread! I’ve copied off Title 5 8415 (f) as well as the OPM Benefits Administration Letter 10-105. Is there anything else I need in my arsenal if they come back with a low number?

Leave A Reply