You’re able to apply for federal disability retirement while still employed and up to one year after you’ve stopped working for the federal government. Here’s some questions and answers about disability retirement basics.
What are the basic qualifications for Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) disability benefits?
- At least 18 months of federal service as a civilian or postal employee
- Inability to perform “useful and efficient service” in your current job because of a physical or mental disability
- Expectation of your disability to last at least 12 months
- Inability of your federal agency to reassign you at your same grade or pay level of your present position
How much can I get in FERS disability benefits?
It all depends. The older you are and the more federal employment service you have, the more you stand to receive. Some of the earning considerations include:
- The average of your highest paying three years of federal service
- If you’re over 62 or eligible for voluntary retirement, you’ll get approximately one percent of your three year average for each year of federal service
- If you also qualify for Social Security Disability (SSDI), the amount you receive from FERS disability will be reduced by the amount of your benefit for the first year, then by 60 percent every year after that.
Does my employer have to do anything so I can qualify?
Yes, they will have to provide proof that they have attempted to accommodate your disability in the workplace
Can I work while receiving disability retirement?
Yes, you can, as long as you work in the private sector and don’t earn more than 80 percent of your federal salary.
After I get approved for FERS disability benefits, do I have to do anything else?
Yes. Upon approval for FERS disability benefits, you’re required to apply for SSDI benefits. Also, the Office of Personnel Management may require treatment and level of disability updates for you to retain your benefit eligibility. Due to the complexities in applying for FERS disability retirement and the need for proper filing for your case to go forward, you may need to consult with legal counsel to make sure you get the compensation that’s due to you.