In our recent webinar we covered how federal employees can protect their financial future with Federal Disability Retirement. There were a lot of great questions and we’re going to go in-depth with some of our answers here.
This is a very relevant subject, as more and more federal employees become concerned about the impact of COVID-19 and the tumultuous environment surrounding the USPS. If you are a federal employee that has been thinking about retiring early and using the Federal Disability Retirement benefit, now is the time to do it. Read on for the details:
A: Yes! But you have 1 year from your date of separation to apply. The OPM is very strict about this deadline.
A: You can apply for disability retirement concurrently with an OWCP claim; however, you are not able to receive wage loss payments and disability retirement payments at the same time.
A: Many federal employees choose to stay on OWCP wage loss because it is more money, however, we recommend going ahead and getting approved for federal disability retirement so it is ready to go should your OWCP wage loss payments be stopped. When approved for both benefits, you do have the option to switch to your Disability Retirement at the time of approval or any time following.
A: This is a very relevant questions that many federal employees are contemplating right now. COVID is an unprecedented situation, however the qualifications for Disability Retirement still apply; including that the disabling condition must last for at least 12 months. COVID-19 in and of itself is not likely to be approved, and if you were fully capable of performing your duties prior to the pandemic, it would be a very tough case to win.
Add: this is a new situation for all federal employees, as well as our office. We would be happy to assess your specific situation—please feel free to contact our office to set up a free consultation
To learn more about financial support for federal employees impacted by COVID-19 Click Here
A: This depends on what type of job they are offering. It must be a vacant position in the same agency at the same grade and tenure, and within the same commuting area to be consider a valid offer of reassignment. For Disability Retirement purposes, you do not have to accept a position that falls outside of these parameters. While you are not required to accept any position the agency offers, please be aware that your agency could start a separation process at any point.
A: To qualify for Federal Disability Retirement, you must be a career FERS or CSRS employee with a minimum of 18 months employment. You must also have a medical condition that prevents you from fulling the full duties of your position, and your medical condition is expected to persist for a minimum of 1 year. If your agency is unable to “reasonably accommodate” your medical restrictions, you can then submit an application to the OPM. This application is reviewed by the OPM, who issues the decision and administers the benefit.
To learn more about the qualification requirements Click Here
A: Yes, you are free to treat with the physician of your choice regardless of location.
A: You can receive the Federal Disability Retirement annuity and an OWCP schedule award at the same time; however, you cannot receive the OWCP wage loss benefit at the same time as your Federal Disability Retirement benefit annuity.
To learn more about offsets Click Here
A: Your Federal Disability Retirement will automatically update and convert over to regular retirement, so there is nothing you need to do.
A: Federal Disability Retirement payments are subject to Federal taxes and can be subject to state taxes depending on your state of residence.
A: Once on Federal Disability Retirement, you can earn up to 80% of the current salary of your previous position. That means that over the period you are on Disability Retirement you’re allowed private sector earnings will increase with the pay increase or Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs) of your previous position.
A: You are always able to drop FEGLI coverage while on Federal Disability Retirement, however if you drop FEGLI coverage you cannot re-elect later. It’s important to note that once you have elected your options in retirement you are not able to add any additional options.
A: You are able to change your survivor annuity election up until OPM finalizes your benefits with a completed Spouse Consent form. However, after OPM finalizes the disability retirement benefits, this election can only be changed upon death or divorce. We recommend speaking with a benefits specialist in order to make the best decision for your situation.
A: While we cannot advise on EEOC actions, you are able to apply for Federal Disability Retirement simultaneously.
A: Federal Disability Retirement is considered a voluntary separation.
A: There is not a list of specific disabilities, injuries or medical conditions because Federal Disability Retirement applies to any condition that medically disables you from fulfilling ALL the responsibilities of your position.