Medical Retirement Benefits for US Government Employees: 80% Rule

Around this time of year, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management sends out their Disability Earnings Survey to all Federal and Postal Disability Retirement Annuitants, to determine what earned income was obtained by the Federal or Postal Annuitant.  It is a simple form and should be completed and returned, and will not impact one’s Federal Disability Retirement benefit so long as one has remained under the 80% cap.

Now, as to determining how the Office of Personnel Management determines what is the “true” 80% cap, is another matter.  There have been wide discrepancies between OPM’s determination and the Federal or Postal annuitant’s assertion as to what the “current pay” of a former position is, or should be.  That is entirely a different area of law which the undersigned writer does not become involved in.

However, the wisest thing to do, unless one desires to become engaged in a continuing, protracted battle with the Office of Personnel Management, is to calculate the amount as conservatively as possible, and to take the lower amount and remain well under 80% of what one’s former position currently pays.  While this is sometimes difficult, remember that the benefits of retaining one’s Federal Disability Retirement annuity — of continuing Health Insurance Benefits, to name one — makes it worthwhile.  For, ultimately, one is potentially making 120% of what one was making before (80% of what one’s former position currently pays, plus the 40% of annuity).

Stay close to making 100%, if possible, and that will avoid future headaches.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire

1 thought on “Medical Retirement Benefits for US Government Employees: 80% Rule

  1. Betsy E. Clay

    What happens while you are waiting for approval and your supervisor reprimands you, issues memos of counseling, removes you from teleworking and threatens you constantly because of illness which is a disability with removal from Federal Employment. Gives you work assignments with quick turn around dates.

    The stress of this weighs heavily on the illness which causes more time missed from work.

    What is the process of disability retirement:

    I was told that my case was in Review and once out of review it would go directly to audit and then I would out of there.

    I have also been told that Review has issued a letter of decision although I have not received the letter nor do I do what the decision is. Does it go back to audit.

    I cannot get straight answers from anyone at OPM.

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