“I am in the process of filing for social security disability. I’m also 60 years old with 35 years at the post office so I already qualify for retirement. Would applying for FERS disability be available to me since I already qualify for retirement, and is disability retirement higher paying than my regular retirement?

Reg’s Response

While I can’t give you a definitive answer, I can provide you with a few facts that may help you to reach a decision

First, the fact that you are already eligible for regular retirement has no affect on your ability to apply for disability retirement. If you did that, your annuity would be calculated as follows:

— For the first 12 months, 60 percent of your high-3, minus 100 percent of any Social Security disability benefit.

— After the first 12 months, 40 percent of your high-3, minus 60 percent of any Social Security benefit.

At age 62, your FERS disability benefit would be recomputed. An artificial retirement benefit would be calculated as if you had worked to age 62. Because of your age and length of service, the total time would then be multiplied by 1.1 percent, increased by any cost--of-living adjustments payable from that time to age 62.

On the other hand, if you didn’t apply for disability retirement but instead applied for regular retirement, your annuity would be calculated using this formula:

— .011 X your high-3 X all years and full month of service.

At age 62 your regular retirement benefit would be recomputed as described above. Any Social Security disability benefit to which you were entitled would be paid to you in full. There wouldn’t be any offset.

Got a question for the Federal Times expert? Send inquiries to: fedexperts@federaltimes.com.

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.

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