Federal Disability Retirement: From Application to Approval, What Postal Workers Need to Know

Feb 19, 2024

Postal worker delivering mail

Are you a postal worker struggling to work because of an injury or illness, but fearful to leave your job because of financial uncertainty? When pain becomes so severe that you’re unable to work effectively, it’s important to know your options. Learn about how Federal Disability Retirement could be the smart choice for you to safeguard your financial future.

Understanding the Unique Application Process for USPS Workers

It’s helpful to be aware of how the USPS processes disability applications, which can be less straightforward than one might hope.

The postal service is unique in that initial applications are submitted to the HR Shared Service Center (HRSSC), which is a third-party office that oversees all USPS personnel matters. An application can spend anywhere from 1 to 6 months at the HRSSC.

Then, the HRSSC sends applications to Eagan Accounting Services to collect payroll records. They’ll review and finalize your service and financial records and then forward the application to the OPM for final review.

The extra steps taken by the USPS in the Federal Disability Retirement application process can sometimes cause confusion. But having legal guidance can simplify the process for you, answer any questions, and maximize your chances of approval. Before discussing in-depth the advantages of legal help, it’s essential to know if you’re even eligible for the benefit.

Am I Eligible for Federal Disability Retirement?

To be eligible, you must meet the following basic requirements:

  • Be a FERS career employee
  • Have 18 months of creditable civilian service
  • Have an injury or illness that impairs your ability to perform at least one essential job duty

If you meet all three of these requirements, you may qualify.

The 4 Life-Changing Benefits Built into Federal Disability Retirement

Federal Disability Retirement is a safety net built into the retirement package of every career federal employee. This unique provision empowers you to step into early retirement if a medical condition or injury hinders your ability to effectively perform your job duties. Importantly, this condition or injury does not have to be work related.

Those who secure Federal Disability Retirement can look forward to:

  • A steady monthly annuity payment
  • The flexibility to seek employment in the private sector, where you can earn up to 80% of your current federal salary
  • Additional creditable years of service to boost your service history
  • Ongoing health and life insurance coverage

Remember, disability retirement isn’t meant to completely substitute your income; it’s there to supplement any other income streams you might have, such as earnings from the private sector or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

For postal workers uncertain about their capacity to continue working, this benefit offers a pathway to financial stability.

How Much Does Federal Disability Retirement Pay?

If approved, your Federal Disability Retirement annuity will be based on your high-3 average salary which is the average of your highest 36 consecutive months of basic pay. For most employees, this will be your most recent 36 months.

  • For the first year, you’ll receive 60% of your high-3
  • Every year after until you turn 62, you’ll receive 40% of your high-3
  • At 62, your annuity will transfer into your FERS regular retirement pension

If you’re going to keep your health and life insurance benefits, be aware that your premium will carry over into retirement.

How Long Does Federal Disability Retirement Last?

Federal Disability Retirement, known as a “bridge to 62,” pays monthly payments until you reach age 62. At that point, the benefit will recalculate into a regular retirement pension.

Getting Legal Support to Increase Your Likelihood of Approval

Applying for Federal Disability Retirement is a complex process that requires a deep understanding of the OPM’s requirements. Many federal employees find navigating this process to be challenging and stressful.

At Harris Federal, we’ve helped countless postal workers successfully navigate the Federal Disability Retirement process, ensuring all necessary documentation is accurately presented while effectively arguing their case. Our goal is to secure the benefits you rightfully deserve. We’ve helped more than 8,000 happy clients at a 99% success rate.

Allow us to help you navigate this process. Reach out to our legal team today for a free consultation for a personalized retirement plan, to answer any questions, and see if you qualify for Federal Disability Retirement.

Message us & find out if you qualify today!

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