Question of the Week: How Much Will I Get Paid on Federal Disability Retirement and for How Long?
A: First let’s look at how much will you receive if you are approved for federal disability retirement from OPM.
Disability retirement benefits are computed differently depending on your age and amount of service at the time of retirement. Plus, your annuity will be recomputed after the first 12 months and then again at age 62.
Generally, if you can retire under a disability retirement, you will be under the age of 62 and not eligible for an immediate voluntary retirement. The computation is as follows:
- For the first 12 months, you will receive 60% of your high-3 salary MINUS 100% of your Social Security benefit for any month you are eligible to receive that.
- After the first 12 months, you will receive 40% of your high-3 salary MINUS 60% of your Social Security benefit for any month you are eligible to receive that.
- When you reach age 62, your benefit is recomputed using the amount that basically represents the annuity you would’ve received if you had not retired on disability. Meaning that your years receiving a disability retirement count as years of creditable service toward your FERS retirement at age 62.
- In this case, if your actual service (plus credit for the time as a disability annuitant) equals less than 20 years, you’ll receive 1% of your high-3 salary for each year of service.
- If your actual service (plus credit for the time as a disability annuitant) equals more than 20 years, you’ll receive 1.1% of your high-3 salary for each year of service.
Now, we’ll look at how long you can receive a federal disability retirement annuity.
You are eligible to receive your monthly annuity for as long as you remain disabled from your government job, even if you can work outside the government.
Your annuity will only stop if:
- You die unless you provided for a survivor’s annuity.
- The federal government re-employs you.
- You recover from your disability.
- Or, you are restored to earnings capacity. You cannot make, in a position outside the federal government, more than 80% of what your former position currently pays.