Q. If I’m offered a position at a lower grade, but the same pay through pay retention (same GS pay plan), would declining it forfeit my already filed disability retirement application? Also, position would be non-law enforcement versus my current law enforcement retirement plan, so I would be giving up my enhanced 20-year law enforcement officer annuity. According to what I’ve read, I’m not required to accept a lower grade position — even if they match the pay rate.
A. You are mistaken. Go to OPM’s chapter on disability retirement at www.opm.gov/retirement-services/publications-forms/csrsfers-handbook/c060.pdf. At Section 60A2.1-5E you’ll find the following statement:
If the agency locates one or more vacant positions at the same grade or pay level and in the same commuting area for which the employee is qualified for reassignment, but the employee refuses reassignment, the employee’s refusal terminates the agency’s obligation to identify any other vacant position as an alternative to disability retirement.
The agency should notify OPM of the employee’s refusal, provide any evidence the employee submitted in support of his or her refusal, and then proceed with whatever personnel action is appropriate, since OPM will not approve an application for benefits when any employee has refused a reassignment for which he or she is qualified.