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Disability Retirement


The federal government allows employees who are unable to work to retire under a disability retirement. It is in the best interest of both employees and the federal government for employees to remain gainfully employed in their current grade or pay level, as long as they can provide useful and efficient service without endangering themselves, others or government property.
Disability retirement should be the very last option and should be used only when attempts have been made to preserve an individual's employment, and those attempts have failed.

Order our Disability Retirement guide to educate yourself on the rules and regulations concerning disability retirement for federal employees.

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TresTortugas  
#1 Posted : Friday, March 25, 2022 7:20:00 PM(UTC)
TresTortugas

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Hi everyone, my understanding is that the 80% earnings limit for DR includes locality pay and availability pay (LEAP or AUO) for law enforcement officers. So, for me, it would be 80% of whatever an agent makes at my retirement step/grade in the location I retired from, WITH LEAP added to the total salary. Does anyone have any solid info to corroborate this interpretation of the rule, other than our own interpretations of the CFR (maybe someone's lawyer confirmed or OPM confirmed for them, or something like that)? I think the answer is pretty clear in the CFR that the 80% rule is for basic pay, which includes LEAP. But, I am a worrier, so I am trying to get any additional info to help me feel more confident in my interpretation. Thanks!
ET1  
#2 Posted : Sunday, March 27, 2022 12:00:13 PM(UTC)
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Hello there,

I am a LEO who has been there, done that, and got the T-shirt. Just believe me (going to blow your mind). And this is for FERS 6c retirees only (ie LEO, Air Traffic Controler, Federal Fire Fighters, Judges, Etc.). To find your 80% earning limit, look at the annual pay table for your rate and grade in the specific location you retired (ex GS-5 Step 5), that is your limit.

Reasoning... X * 25% = Y, X + Y = pay with leap, Pay with leap * 80% = X. So there you go.

Example: GS-5 Step 5 in Washington DC area is 46,334 * 25% = 11583.5 + 46,334 = 57,917.5
57,917.5 * 80% = 46,334 or GS-5 Step 5 pay in the WDC area.
TresTortugas  
#3 Posted : Sunday, March 27, 2022 2:37:58 PM(UTC)
TresTortugas

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Thanks ET1 for the reply! That was what I came up with as well (the 80% being the same as the actual grade/step). You are better than me though because I couldn't figure out why it was like that.

I appreciate the reply because I was concerned with whether LEAP counted because I couldn't get any kind of reply from OPM to confirm my interpretation of the rules. I can't believe they make it so hard to just get the answer. It is such an important thing for them to be completely unwilling to provide any specifics for a person.
waywardson  
#4 Posted : Tuesday, April 26, 2022 4:00:16 PM(UTC)
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I'm a former 1811 also, retired on disability in 2020. One thing that nobody will tell you (unrelated to your topic but worth mentioning) is that when your retirement is recalculated at age 62, they have to 'recalculate' your percentage to the 1.7% for every year you were a 1811. Personally, I was about 14 months from getting my 20 years at age 50 - tried to hold out for that but couldn't. Additionally, if you were 6C (1811) and had to retire early for disability, they will recalculate the percentage as if you had finished as a 1811.

Example: Joe Blow works 15 years as a 1811, and retires on Disability at age 45 (5 years away from conventional retirement)
You will get 40% of your pay (including LEAP) monthly.

At age 62 the re-calculation kicks in - 15 years worked at 1.7% ; 5 additional years (could have worked if not for disability) at 1.7% ; Then 12 years at standard 1.1%

So 20 years @ 1.7% = 34%
Plus 12 years @ 1.1% = 13.2%

So at 62 your new rate will be 47.2%

There was a court case about this issue several years ago, sos don't let anyone tell you all your time is calculated at 1.1% rate if you had less than 20 years as a 1811.
TresTortugas  
#5 Posted : Tuesday, April 26, 2022 4:10:19 PM(UTC)
TresTortugas

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Thanks Waywardson,

Is your understanding also that LEAP counts toward the 80% rule? If so have you ever tested it (made enough that your LEAP would need to be counted toward your cap)? Sorry I am just terrified I am misunderstanding or something since I cant get a straight answer from OPM.
waywardson  
#6 Posted : Tuesday, April 26, 2022 4:18:53 PM(UTC)
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I'm unable to work, also on SSDI so probably not the correct guy to ask. When all the dust settled I remember them saying it was 80% of the total received, which should include LEAP. Might want to reach out to a disability lawyer to ask that question. I would suggest Robert McGill, he's about as knowledgeable as they come. Best of luck!
TresTortugas  
#7 Posted : Tuesday, April 26, 2022 4:22:14 PM(UTC)
TresTortugas

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Thanks! I am 98% sure that I have this right but even a 2% chance is too much when gambling with my retirement. Good luck to you as well!
pico55  
#8 Posted : Sunday, May 8, 2022 6:19:48 PM(UTC)
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hEY,
Do you know what happens to your pension if you are determined to be medically recovered or you make more than the 80% percent do the years you were on DR still count toward your retirement percentage at 62. For example if I lose my DR at year 19 as an 1811 retiree will i still get 1.7 * 19 years at 62 ?


Thanks
TresTortugas  
#9 Posted : Monday, May 9, 2022 4:59:43 PM(UTC)
TresTortugas

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Hi Pico,

I don't know the answer to that one. That is a good question. Sorry not helpful.
ET1  
#10 Posted : Tuesday, May 10, 2022 10:39:26 AM(UTC)
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For more info and those who would like to read....

https://sgp.fas.org/crs/misc/R42631.pdf
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