In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS, an additional component must be satisfied (CSRS is exempted): filing for Social Security Disability benefits.
In doing so, various factors need to be taken into account: Whether the Federal or Postal employee intends to work at another job while receiving FERS Disability Retirement annuity; the chances of actually succeeding in applying for SSDI; and further, a future consideration — if one gets approved for SSDI and FERS Disability Retirement, but later is dropped from the Social Security annuity, will the Office of Personnel Management recalculate the FERS Disability Annuity?
This is a question which has been appeal to the Full Board of the Merit Systems Protection Board, and thus far, the Full Board has ruled in favor of OPM, that OPM’s interpretation of the statutes, rules and laws governing SSDI/FERS Disability Retirement offset is “reasonable”, where loss of entitlement to the former does not require recalculation despite the fact that the former Federal or Postal employee no longer receives Social Security Disability benefits.
An appeal is likely to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals. The bright spot is that there was a dissenting opinion by one of the Board Members.
Fortunately, most people do not qualify for SSDI, anyway, and so it does not widely impact most Federal or Postal employees who file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS. Information and updates to follow.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire