Many federal employees have been offered a Voluntary Early Retirement (VER) in the past few months. Some offers even come with a cash incentive. This can be a great way to jump start your plans for retirement. However, if you have a disability, you may be throwing away benefits and dollars.
Many things must be considered when weighing the options of Disability Retirement and a VER. How long has the employee worked for the federal government? Are they under FERS or CSRS? What is their eligibility for the Special Security Supplement? What is their High-3? How old is the applicant?
All of these questions must be asked in order to determine if the retiree made the most prudent choice. Disability retirement is not always, but can be significantly more money than the VER.
But, perhaps even more importantly, if you chose the Voluntary Early Retirement already and are not in the process or have already been separated from service, you can still evaluate whether you made the right decision and potentially change your choice without risk.
A retiree can file a new claim for disability retirement benefits within one year of being separated, even if they are already receiving benefits with the VER. As long as the disability existed prior to the end of the employee, you may still qualify.
The best part is that you can apply for the benefits without putting your existing annuity in jeopardy. If the disability claim is denied, you will still be entitled to your existing VER benefits. If you are approved for the disability benefits, the retirement will switch to the disability calculation retroactively back to the date of separation.
Call Harris Federal Law Firm, for a free consult to determine which benefit is better for you. If you need help with switching from a VER to a federal disability retirement, use the help of an experienced federal disability attorney to make sure you understand your rights.