“I’m 65.5 years old with 20 years federal service and am disabled. I submitted my FERS retirement packet and OPM is asking if I would like to chose a Disability Retirement or Optional Retirement. Both annuities (Disability and Optional) will be the same amount of money monthly. Being I’m above 62 years of age I don’t believe I would get an annuity supplement. Which is the best option to choose?
First, OPM shouldn’t have offered you a choice between disability and optional retirement. You would only be eligible for an optional retirement. That’s because disability retirements are automatically converted to optional retirements at age 62, and you are well over that age.
Second, the special retirement supplement is never applied to disability retirement benefits, only to the annuities of regular FERS retirees.
Third, as an optional retiree you will be entitled to any cost-of-living adjustments that are applied to your annuity in the future.
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Reg Jones, a charter member of the senior executive service, is the resident expert on retirement and the federal government at Federal Times. From 1979 until 1995, he served as an assistant director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management handling recruiting and examining, white and blue collar pay, retirement, insurance and other issues. Opinions expressed are his own.