Federal Worker Disability Retirement: Taking a Trickle of Leave and Back Pay Issues

When a Federal or Postal employee files for, and is approved for, Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS, the disability retirement annuity which one receives extends back to the “last day of pay” of a Federal or Postal employee.  It matters not what “kind” of pay; the Office of Personnel Management merely receives the date of the Federal or Postal employee’s last day of pay from the Agency, then gives back-pay back to that date which the Agency determines that he or she was last paid.

Thus, if a person was on LWOP for a six-month period while awaiting for a decision from OPM on his or her Federal Disability Retirement application, then decided to use up the last couple of hours of Annual or Sick Leave and receive a nominal amount — in that scenario, the back pay would extend only to the payment received for the Annual or Sick Leave, and the Federal or Postal employee would lose any back-pay for the six-month period of LWOP.

With this in mind, it is important to plan — to either remain on LWOP during the entire period of waiting for a decision from OPM, or if one continues to work or to receive payments for Sick or Annual Leave, to make it worth one’s while (i.e., to continue to receive a payment rate equal to what the rate of pay for back-pay would be, which is 60% of the average of one’s highest three consecutive years of salary the first year, then 40% every year thereafter).  Just some thoughts.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire

2 thoughts on “Federal Worker Disability Retirement: Taking a Trickle of Leave and Back Pay Issues

  1. Amanda

    Be aware, that if you don’t stay on top of this and make it clear to your agency, that they may automatically send you payments for your sick leave, I am alone in this and believe I received a payment not realizing the impact this would have, I have missed out on 1 1/2 years back pay, for the pittance I received, I lost a lot more . My employers HR department was unwilling to notify me of this at the beginning-,just another jab,I spent all of my savings to live for 2 years and won’t see any of it back, disgusted

  2. Frances G

    So I have been off of work since mid July 2011 with LWOP, I am going to apply for DR this week (I was confused and when told to apply for medical retirement I applied for SSDI..of which I was denied the first time and just appealed). I have been with no pay since first week in August. But, I received my Annual Award at the end of September…does this count as the last time I was paid? Will if approved will I lose back pay for that time period?

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