Federal disability retirement can seem overwhelming when making application. At Graham Law Group, our more than 25 years of experience helps us to help you. If you’re a federal employee and your agency has not been successful trying to retain you in a productive capacity, you could apply for federal employee disability retirement. Here are some things you should know before you make your application.

  • Basic eligibility requirements
  • Applying for federal employee disability retirement
  • What happens if the federal employee disability retirement request fails?
  • Restoration of earning capacity

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Basic Eligibility Requirements for FERS Disability Retirement

To qualify for disability benefits under The Federal Retirement System (FERS), you must have employment as a federal employee for at least 18 months. Besides, you should be medically unable to carry out an essential part of your job.

The federal-state must prove it’s unable to reassign you another position. But this doesn’t mean that you have to show that you have full disability – you only prove that you can’t perform duties in your current job. The disability should last at least 12 months.

Your disability annuity is calculation is as follows:

  • The first one year you’re paid 60% of your high-3 less any disability benefit you’re entitled to
  • After one year, you’re paid 40% of your high-3 minus 60% of any disability benefit
  • If your employment is for less than three years, your annuity is calculated on the average salary

If you get disabled just before you reach age 62, your benefits are calculated as if you worked to the retirement age. But if you work for the federal government for 20 years, you’ll receive 25 percent of your high-3 salary.

After approval of the application for your disability, you may need to provide up-to-date information to continue receiving the benefits. If you don’t fulfill this request, the payments may go into suspension until establishment of your eligibility.

Applying for Federal Employee Retirement – Navigating the Federal Employees Retirement System

Applying for disability retirement after separating from federal employment is a critical step for those who find themselves unable to continue working due to a medical condition. The Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) offers disability retirement benefits designed to help federal employees navigate such challenging times. It’s important to understand the process and make your application timely to secure these vital benefits.

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) plays a pivotal role in the administration of disability retirement benefits. If you’re considering applying for disability retirement, your first action should be to gather all relevant medical records and doctor’s opinions to support your application. This documentation is crucial for the initial determination of your eligibility for FERS disability retirement benefits.

Under the FERS, you have the option to apply for immediate voluntary retirement if you meet specific criteria, including the onset of a sudden disability that prohibits you from performing your duties efficiently. However, if separation from service occurs, you must act swiftly to apply for retirement benefits. Although there is a provision to apply up to 31 days after separation, it’s advisable to initiate this process as soon as possible.

In instances where your employing agency does not possess your personnel records, a direct application to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) within 12 months is necessary. This timeframe is mandated by law, underscoring the importance of timely action to ensure you do not forfeit your right to apply for benefits.

Social Security Disability Benefits

disability retirement lawyerFurthermore, FERS disability retirement is intricately linked with social security disability benefits. Applicants are often required to concurrently apply for social security disability benefits. This dual application process ensures that federal employees receive comprehensive support, aligning FERS disability benefits with those available from the Social Security Administration.

For those who may find the application process daunting due to a medical condition that impairs their capability, there is a provision for a waiver. If you can demonstrate that your mental incompetence prevented you from applying within the stipulated timeframe, a waiver for the one-year limit may be granted. This underscores the system’s flexibility and understanding towards applicants facing significant health challenges.

The concept of “useful and efficient service” is central to the eligibility for FERS disability retirement. It implies that an employee is no longer able to provide service that is useful and efficient due to a medical condition. Thus, the application for disability retirement under FERS is a recognition of the service rendered by federal employees and the system’s commitment to supporting them in times of need.

What Happens if the Federal Disability Retirement Request Fails?

If you’re denied the benefits, you have one month to ask for reconsideration. You may want to provide up-to-date material that can help in your case. If the application fails again, you should take the case to Merit Systems Protection Board (a quasi-judicial agency). Make sure you meet the filing deadlines or you could miss a meritorious claim.

Restoration of Earning Capacity

If you’re a disabled retiree under 60, you could have access to your annuity. OPM will send you a questionnaire every year to determine whether your earning capacity is 80% of the current salary. If you meet this criteria, your earnings may be restored by the federal service. This applies even if there’s no change in medical condition.

Federal Disability Retirement Can be a Lifesaver!
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