A Federal Disability Retirement annuity under FERS or CSRS allows one to receive an annuity because the Federal or Postal employee is no longer able to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job.
Under FERS, while the Federal or Postal employee is required to apply for SSDI to determine if one is concurrently eligible for that benefit (and, if one is, to have an offset between SSDI and FERS), most Federal and Postal employees fail to qualify for SSDI precisely because he or she is not “totally disabled” (the general legal standard for SSDI eligibility), but merely unable to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s particular Federal or Postal job.
This allows for two consequential benefits which help both the society at large as well as the individual Federal or Postal employee: It allows the individual to have the necessary time for recuperation and healing from one’s medical conditions, and further, it provides for the former Federal or Postal employee to seek other employment in the private sector, and be able to make up to 80% of what one’s former Federal or Postal position currently pays.
Thus, many Federal Disability Retirement annuitants go on to become employed, productive and tax-paying individuals, contributing to the very tax-base which pays for the Federal Disability Retirement annuity. It is, in many ways, a “pay-as-you-go” system, and is self-sustaining precisely because it is not purely benefit-dependent, but has a great percentage of benefit-recipients actually paying back into the system.
As a social policy, it is an inherently intelligent system, and requires no apologies for its intelligent design.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire