CSRS & FERS Disability Retirement: The 80% Rule

I recently wrote an article on FedSmith.com concerning the legal process of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS, and a reader posted a comment implying and suggesting a lack of understanding about a benefit which would allow for payment of 40% of the average of one’s highest three consecutive years, and in addition, to allow for that annuitant to make up to 80% of what the former federal position currently pays.

I beg to differ. The purpose of allowing an annuitant to potentially go out and earn additional compensation in the private sector are multi-fold: it allows for an individual to remain productive; he or she continues to contribute in the workforce and, as a consequence, pays taxes, FICA, etc.; the amount of 40% (after the first year) is an incentive to go out and do something else. Further, Federal Disability Retirement benefits are part of a compensation package offered to a Federal or Postal employee — it is part of the total employment package, and there is certainly nothing wrong with taking advantage of that employment benefit if and when the need arises. The truth is that most people don’t get anywhere near the 80% mark, but hover closer to the 40 – 50% mark, and together with the disability annuity, are able to make a decent living. All in all, the 80% rule is a smart and thoughtful incentive for those who are disabled.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire

2 thoughts on “CSRS & FERS Disability Retirement: The 80% Rule

  1. Gary S Magliocca

    I personally don’t think it is any business of the Fed to determine my wages after leaving on disablity. If i can make more than when I was a Federal employee why should that matter to them it’s more taxes in the Gov’s pocket anyways. It doesn’t leave a person any way to get ahead. What if I was to start a small business and exceed the 80% they have us locked in to, what happens to my disability benefit? I was let go because of a disability while performing my job and that is why they pay me, why then do they have the right to penalize me if I find a job that pays me better than they were. I served my country for 18 years in the US Army and 15 years as a federal employee and this is what I get! I can also never hold another Federal job without losing my disablity! I thought I was serving my country and for the freedom of others and this is my payment…being restricted because I am disabled!

  2. Don Evans

    It is a hard truth to learn. Many who have served in the Countries Armed Services know it. You have served your country better than they will ever serve you. But they will give money from your taxes to pay Oil companies. I am a Veteran with service connected disability an am know after 23 yeaes in the Postal Service considering Disability retirment after the nasty treatment I have recieved after getting hurt on the job.

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