Under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), federal workers pay into a pension, Thrift Savings Plan, and Social Security. If, after 18 months of creditable service, you become disabled, you are eligible to apply for Federal Disability Retirement benefits. One of the requirements for applying for disability benefits is that you also apply for Social Security Disability (SSD).
Along with your application sent to OPM for Federal Disability Retirement (FDR), you must also prove that you’ve applied for Social Security Disability. A copy of the award letter or confirmation of receipt of application will suffice.
You are eligible for both of these benefits because you have spent at least 18 months paying into the FERS retirement system, and you have been paying social security taxes. OPM requires you to apply for SSD to find out if they can pay you less. In a previous post, we looked at the interaction between SSD payments and FDR payments. When you are approved for both SSD and FDR, the amount OPM pays you is less than just being approved for Federal Disability Retirement. This is because the SSD is the primary benefit you received and your Federal Disability Retirement would be offset by that amount.
OPM will dismiss your application, if, at any point, you withdraw your application for Social Security Disability. If this happened, it’s possible you could miss your deadline to apply entirely.
Please don’t hesitate to call us at 877-226-2723, if you are unsure about the process or how these benefits interact. The team at Harris Federal Law Firm has years of experience navigating federal workers through the process. Fill out this inquiry form for a FREE consultation.