If Your Benefits Are Terminated
The OPM can decide that you are “restored to earning capacity” or “medically recovered” and stop paying you your federal disability retirement. This sometime happens when the civil service annuity was granted for a mental health condition in which there is a possibility of recovery or medical improvement. If OPM has terminated your disability retirement because your condition improved, you can get it reinstated if your condition gets worse again–if you are under age 62. The standards for seeking reinstatement are somewhat different depending on whether your annuity was terminated because you recovered or because you were restored to earning capacity. If you are going to seek reinstatement of previously terminated federal disability retirement benefits, you apply with the OPM.
You could be eligible for up to $3,148 per month in SSDI benefits
Congress Guts Federal Retirement Benefits
- Likelihood of occurring: 3/10
- Desirably of outcome: 1/10
If youve gotten to this point in the post you understand why I dont want to retire early.
But what if Congress gutted federal retirement benefits?
The biggest reason to stay in a federal job after reaching financial independence is to keep FEHB for life. If Congress gets rid of that benefit, there is little reason to stay in a federal job.
Over my nearly 20 years of federal service, Congress has often debated changes to the FERS retirement system. There are almost always proposals to change the annuity formula or get rid of the FERS supplement.
If the FEHB or FERS supplement were eliminated, so would the incentive to stay until MRA.
I am not aware of proposed changes to FEHB. However, if Congress cut FEHB, it would be bittersweet. On one hand, Id no longer have golden handcuffs keeping me tied to my desk. On the other hand, Id lose a major benefit.
In other words, if the FEHB or FERS supplement were eliminated, there would be no incentive to stay until MRA.
What Is Medical Retirement
The premise of medical retirement changes slightly depending on its context. The most common use of it applies to military personnel, though. There, its a form of compensation for anyone with a military career ended due to a disability. The medical condition must stop you from performing your military duties. A Physical Evaluation Board , consisting of active-duty physicians, reviews your case and decides whether youre fit to serve.
The medical board may only temporarily retire you if the disability is subject to change, putting you on the temporary disability retirement list . After that, youre subject to regular medical reevaluations. Eventually, youre either permanently medically retired or returned to duty.
But it also exists outside the military. Workers in other areas can also start medical retirement if a disability impedes their ability to work. To qualify, your disability must be long-term and the source of why you cannot work. Typically, a doctor must document and confirm your disability and show how it prevents you from working in your or other fields.
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Tips For Retirement Planning
- If you want your savings to grow, investing is an important tool. If youre unsure where to start, consider speaking with a financial advisor. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesnt have to be hard. SmartAssets free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors in your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If youre ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
- You work to build your retirement savings, but taxes can take a chunk out of them. Thats why its worth finding out the tax-friendliest places for retirees. You can see our take on it with the best states to retire for taxes.
If You Are Retiring Or Resigning Step 7
Select your preferred payment options. The Pay Centre sends you a letter detailing any funds owed to you, such as remaining salary, severance pay, or outstanding leave balances. You will also be provided a form to select your option for your severance pay which could be transferred to an RRSP if certain conditions are met. Return this form to the Pay Centre under cover of a pay action request. No trusted source authentication is required.
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What Are The Basic Eligibility Requirements
The current retirement system for federal workers and postal employees is called FERS, the Federal Employees Retirement System. This system replaced the Civil Service Retirement System in 1987, but some federal workers who started before 1987 will still be covered by CSRS.
To be eligible for disability benefits under FERS, you must have worked as a federal civilian or postal employee for at least 18 months.
To medically qualify, you must become unable, due to a physical or mental disease or injury, to perform “useful and efficient service” in your current position, which means you must be unable to carry out an essential element of your job. Your disability must be expected to last at least twelve months from the date you file the application.
In addition, your federal agency must state that it has tried and failed to accommodate your medical condition in your current job, and that it was unable to reassign you to another nearby position in the same agency at your grade or pay level.
It is not necessary that your disability resulted from an on-the-job injury, work-related condition like stress, or occupational disease, as in a workers’ compensation case. And unlike Social Security disability, you’re not required to show that you’re “totally disabled,” only that you’re incapable of performing the duties of your current job.
Medical Retirement Vs Regular Retirement: Distributions
Most people build up retirement savings. That way, they can support themselves when theyre out of work. Disabled individuals are no different and often turn to their retirement plans as a way to replace their jobs income.
But taking from your funds too early can be tricky. In regular retirement, if you take a distribution before the age of 59.5, you incur a 10% distribution penalty. You may also face normal income tax on the withdrawal. Thats because the applicable retirement accounts are tax-deferred, so you dont pay tax when you contribute money.
However, the IRS gives qualifying disabled individuals a break if they touch their retirement savings. They receive an exemption from the 10% penalty. This exception applies to the early distribution tax for 401s and IRAs as well as SARSEP, SEP and Simple IRA plans.
You must also meet the IRS definition for total and permanent disability. That means your condition stops you from any substantial work and will either be indefinite in length or fatal. Due to the difference between Social Security and the IRSs criteria, qualifying for the former does not guarantee the 10% penalty exception.
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The Va Deemed Me Disabled So I Must Qualify
Certainly, a high percentage-rating ascribed by the Department of Veterans Affairs of even one of unemployability can be a persuasive piece of evidence in support of a Federal Disability Retirement application, and should be used as further proof in applying for the benefit.
In Simpkins v. Office of Personnel Management, 2010 MSPB 52, DC-844E-09-0623-I-1, decided on March 18, 2010, the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board stated that OPM must consider an award of benefits by the DVA based on the same medical conditions as the appellants disability retirement application Note, however, the pertinent and relevant portion of the opinion must consider. Yes, a DVA rating can have some persuasive impact, but is never determinative.
Applying For Federal Disability Retirement
You must apply for disability retirement while still employed by the federal government or within one year of separation from federal employment. Note that “separation” from employment is not necessarily the date you became disabled or even the date you stopped working.
You apply by filing forms with your federal agency. But if you’ve been separated from federal service for more than 31 days, you should submit your disability application directly to the Office of Personnel Management rather than to your federal agency.
Once OPM receives your application, it will make an initial determination based on your medical records, your doctors’ opinions, and your application itself.
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Establish Evidence Of Your Disability
Second, the federal employee or postal worker must be medically disabled. For the purposes of federal disability retirement, a federal employee is disabled if a medical condition has caused a “service deficiency in performance, conduct, or attendance” or an inability to perform “useful and efficient service.” What does that mean? In a nutshell, you have to be unable to perform the essential functions of your current FERS or CSRS position because of the disability. You don’t have to prove that you can’t work any type of job.
- objective clinical findings, diagnoses, and medical opinions
- subjective evidence of pain and disability, and
- any other evidence relating to the effect of the applicant’s condition on her ability to perform in the grade or class of position last occupied.
Your subjective evidence of disability and pain will be given evidentiary weight only when it is supported by competent medical evidence. For that reason, I recommend you have a lawyer’s help in working with your doctor to create a well-prepared medical analysis of your condition and its effect on your ability to perform the job duties of your position.
Specializing Only In Federal Opm Disability Retirement
I am an attorney who specializes in Federal and Postal disability retirement law under FERS . I have been successful at all levels of the Federal Disability Retirement Application process from the initial submission of the application to the Second Stage of appeal the Request for Reconsideration Stage to the final stage of appeal, before the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board .
The Office of Personnel Management carefully reviews all applications for Federal Disability Retirement. It is a benefit which should be looked upon as an entitlement and an investment. Consequently, any Federal Employee intending to file for OPM Medical Retirement should seek the advice and counsel of an experienced attorney who specializes in FERS Disability Law. This is a specialized field, and a general practicing attorney will normally be completely unfamiliar with the complex bureaucratic process which is involved in Federal Disability Retirement Law. I am an attorney who devotes 100% of my practice to representing Federal and Postal employees to obtain a OPM Medical Retirement annuity.
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Record Of Employment For Ei Benefits
If you are opening a claim for employment insurance benefits after leaving the public service, a record of employment is required to confirm your eligibility and level of benefits.
The Pay Centre issues a web-based record of employment within 5 calendar days of the end of your last pay period. This record of employment is then retained by Service Canada. Contact the Client Contact Centre if there is any delay.
You Must Meet All The Following Conditions To Be Eligible For Federal Disability Retirement:
1. You must have completed at least 18 months of Federal civilian service which is creditable under FERS.
2. You must, while employed in a position subject to the retirement system, have become disabled, because of disease or injury, for useful and efficient service in your current position, or your condition must have worsened.
3. The disability must be expected to last at least one year.
4. Your agency must certify that it is unable to accommodate your disabling medical condition in your present position and that it has considered you for any vacant position in the same agency at the same grade or pay level, within the same commuting area, for which you are qualified for reassignment. Learn more about reasonable accommodations.
5. You, or your guardian or other interested person, must apply before your separation from service or within one year thereafter.The application must be received by OPM within one year of the date of your separation.
6. You must apply for Social Security Disability benefits. Application for disability retirement under FERS requires an application for social security disability benefits. If the application for social security disability benefits is withdrawn for any reason, OPM will dismiss the FERS disability retirement application upon notification by the Social Security Administration.
Temporary Continuation Of Coverage
If the FERS determines that you are ineligible for health benefits, you and certain family members may have the option to enroll for up to 18 months of Temporary Continuation of Coverage . You should also look into TCC if you plan to stop working before you are able to retire but want to have FEHB during retirement. TCC may be able to serve as a bridge to cover you until your retirement, when you would then re-enroll into FEHB.
You will not be able to obtain TCC if you have been terminated for gross misconduct.
Extremely Patient And Passionate
Robert is an excellent attorney! I hired him to push through the administrative morass of federal disability retirement. His experience and expertise in this particular field is unparalleled. Furthermore, he was extremely patient and promptly passionate in answering all of my inane questions and concerns during the entire process. He prepared me for the likely denial of the initial application, but assured me the appeal was strong, entirely consistent with the law, and likely to be successful. He was right!
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Can You Lose Federal Disability Benefits
In general, FERS disability lasts for as long as you remain disabled. Here are three reasons why your benefits may stop:
- Medical recovery: To prove continuing qualification, OPM may require you to receive periodic doctors exams. If evidence shows that you have medically recovered from your disabling condition, your benefit payments will stop.
- Restoration of earning capacity: You will lose federal disability if other sources of income equal 80% or more of the current base pay rate from the position you retired from.
- Administrative recovery: Your benefits will stop if you obtain federal employment in a position equivalent to what you held at retirement.
In addition, remember that non-disability FERS retirement benefits start at age 62. This means your disability payments will cease at that time, and you will be switched over to regular retirement income through OPM.
I Can File For Early Retirement Then File For Disability Retirement
Many Federal or Postal employees choose this option with the idea that they can receive some income while waiting for the lengthy process of Federal Disability Retirement to complete its course.
It is true that the statute of limitations in filing a Federal Disability Retirement allows for this methodology. However, if this particular path is taken, you must make sure that it doesnt look like filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is merely an afterthought as a means of getting more money from your annuity. There are ways to do this, and it all comes down to making sure that the medical treatment records support such a move.
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What Is The Cost In Retirement
One of the advantages of having FEHBas compared to private health insuranceis that the cost of health insurance remains the same for federal employees after they retire. The government keeps paying a portion of your health insurance for you. This can amount to big savings on health care costs, since FEHB pays 72-75% of the cost.
This is a big advantage over private employer coverage. For example, a private employer will often pay for part of your health benefit costs while you’re employed, just like the FEHB. However, once you retire in the private sector, you most often can not keep your employee health benefits. Instead, you must transition to an individual health insurance plan or to Medicare if you are old enough. This change could mean that your cost of health insurance will increase after you retire.
One primary difference for those with FEHB is that because your retirement annuity is paid monthly, you might see a shift in the payment frequency or amounts. However, you should not pay more in total.
Your spouse, domestic partner, or other family members could also save money on their health insurance if they are also eligible for coverage under your FEHB. If you have been divorced and are on good terms with your ex-spouse, you could check to see whether they might be able to get access to your FEHB.
Seek Legal Advice From A Federal Employee Attorney
Have you been injured or disabled as a federal employee? Aumiller Lomax can educate you about your rights and answer any questions you have. Reach out to us to speak with a federal employee attorney who can help you understand how to access the benefits you deserve, whether through federal disability, federal workers compensation, or another program. Call us at 856-751-0440 or contact us online to request your free consultation today.
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Federal Insurance For Private Pensions
If your company runs into financial problems, you’re likely to still get your pension.
Insures most private-sector defined-benefit pensions. These are plans that typically pay a certain amount each month after you retire. These are single-employer plans. Multi-employer plans have different coverage.
Covers most cash-balance plans. Those are defined-benefit pensions that allow you to take a lump-sum distribution.
It Is Obvious I Cant Work This Is A Slam Dunk
There are no slam dunk cases in Federal Disability Retirement. Furthermore, Federal Disability Retirement is an administrative process and benefit which must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence.
The recognition that a person can no longer work is a subjective statement of fact. Such a fact may even be accompanied by a medical diagnosis. That alone does not qualify a Federal or Postal worker for Federal Disability Retirement benefits. It may be a start and maybe even a good start but it is still lacking a nexus between a factual assertion and proof by a preponderance of the evidence.
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