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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.

To read today's top news stories on federal employee pay, benefits, retirement, job rights and other workplace issues visit FederalDaily.com.
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BenoitP23  
#1 Posted : Thursday, March 07, 2019 7:52:08 PM(UTC)
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I am a FERS disability annuitant. We declined the spousal survivor benefit election when I was approved. Assuming I remain eligible and continue receiving benefits until my disability benefit converts to a regular retirement benefit, can we elect the survivor benefit at that point?
GSBS  
#2 Posted : Friday, March 08, 2019 5:05:24 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: BenoitP23 Go to Quoted Post
I am a FERS disability annuitant. We declined the spousal survivor benefit election when I was approved. Assuming I remain eligible and continue receiving benefits until my disability benefit converts to a regular retirement benefit, can we elect the survivor benefit at that point?
You know when it comes to questions like this I'd check with Ed Zurndorfer on the Federal Soup main page https://forum.federalsou...t.aspx?g=topics&f=6, or possibly Reg Jones, former OPM Benefits Director @http://retirement.federaltimes.com/ before just taking our advice?

BenoitP23  
#3 Posted : Friday, March 08, 2019 5:16:09 PM(UTC)
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Thanks for the good suggestions. Will do. Fortunately, I have some years to worry about it, but my wife is on a mission to retire as soon as humanly possible, so I’m trying to budget for as many scenarios as I can reasonably calculate.
gembarok  
#4 Posted : Saturday, March 09, 2019 4:15:07 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: BenoitP23 Go to Quoted Post
Thanks for the good suggestions. Will do. Fortunately, I have some years to worry about it, but my wife is on a mission to retire as soon as humanly possible, so I’m trying to budget for as many scenarios as I can reasonably calculate.


Greetings,

Maybe you should purchase one of these "Federal Employees Almanacs." That is the absolute best resource for all these questions. I never would have survived 30+ years in federal service without it.

S/
K
thanks 1 user thanked gembarok for this useful post.
BenoitP23 on 3/9/2019(UTC)
BenoitP23  
#5 Posted : Monday, March 11, 2019 2:31:53 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: GSBS Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: BenoitP23 Go to Quoted Post
I am a FERS disability annuitant. We declined the spousal survivor benefit election when I was approved. Assuming I remain eligible and continue receiving benefits until my disability benefit converts to a regular retirement benefit, can we elect the survivor benefit at that point?
You know when it comes to questions like this I'd check with Ed Zurndorfer on the Federal Soup main page https://forum.federalsou...t.aspx?g=topics&f=6, or possibly Reg Jones, former OPM Benefits Director @http://retirement.federaltimes.com/ before just taking our advice?


I did reach out to Ed and he promptly responded. He wasn’t absolutely definitive, but his expectation is that I am locked into my choice of no spousal benefit. Just passing along in the event that my inquiry is of interest to any others.

Edited by user Monday, March 11, 2019 2:32:27 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

thanks 1 user thanked BenoitP23 for this useful post.
Tired on 3/23/2019(UTC)
GSBS  
#6 Posted : Monday, March 11, 2019 2:56:30 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: BenoitP23 Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: GSBS Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: BenoitP23 Go to Quoted Post
I am a FERS disability annuitant. We declined the spousal survivor benefit election when I was approved. Assuming I remain eligible and continue receiving benefits until my disability benefit converts to a regular retirement benefit, can we elect the survivor benefit at that point?
You know when it comes to questions like this I'd check with Ed Zurndorfer on the Federal Soup main page https://forum.federalsou...t.aspx?g=topics&f=6, or possibly Reg Jones, former OPM Benefits Director @http://retirement.federaltimes.com/ before just taking our advice?


I did reach out to Ed and he promptly responded. He wasn’t absolutely definitive, but his expectation is that I am locked into my choice of no spousal benefit. Just passing along in the event that my inquiry is of interest to any others.
Hey thanks for following my suggestion! Ed is not just a Poster, thus his own section, and is very selective in what he answers

BenoitP23  
#7 Posted : Monday, March 11, 2019 2:58:17 PM(UTC)
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I appreciated the tip. Thanks!
S D Analyst  
#8 Posted : Tuesday, March 12, 2019 3:47:46 PM(UTC)
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I would write OPM and attempt to elect a Survivor Benefit once you change to regular retirement. According to this OPM FAQ, it may be possible.
https://www.opm.gov/faqs...4-4b61-b75c-3d390655ef81

"If it is within 30 days of your first REGULAR annuity payment, you may file a new election in writing. You should send the election to:

U.S. Office of Personnel Management
Retirement Operations Center
Post Office Box 45
Boyers, PA 16017

Your first regular monthly payment is the first one paid in an amount other than the estimated amount or the adjustment payment after we have computed your regular annuity amount.

If you change your election to anything other than the maximum, you must obtain your spouse's consent or a waiver of the consent requirement. If it is less than 30 days from the date of your first regular monthly payment, you may cancel or reduce the survivor benefit. If it is more than 30 days from the date of your first regular monthly payment, you cannot cancel the survivor benefit.

After the 30 day period has passed but less than 18 months from the beginning date of your annuity, you can change your election only under the following circumstances:
•you may elect a survivor annuity; or
•you can increase a reduced survivor annuity amount."

Since you are currently on Disability Retirement, you may be allowed to change once you are switched to REGULAR retirement.
BenoitP23  
#9 Posted : Tuesday, March 12, 2019 3:51:47 PM(UTC)
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That is a good find! Thank you. I will hang on to this and hope I am given the opportunity to change it when the time comes. Appreciate the research.
GSBS  
#10 Posted : Tuesday, March 12, 2019 4:33:01 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: BenoitP23 Go to Quoted Post
That is a good find! Thank you. I will hang on to this and hope I am given the opportunity to change it when the time comes. Appreciate the research.
Remember Reg Jones too over at the Federal Digest Forum. He is close to 100 and very crabby, but was the former OPM Benefits Director and knows all!
BenoitP23  
#11 Posted : Tuesday, March 12, 2019 5:34:41 PM(UTC)
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I emailed him. Hoping he gives his take.
Guts  
#12 Posted : Wednesday, March 13, 2019 1:06:48 PM(UTC)

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Regarding your Survivor Benefit question...

"This decision is significant. Even after their disability annuity transitions over to regular retirement at the age 62, a federal employee may not change their survivor benefit unless a major life event occurs."

https://www.federaldisab...l-disability-retirement/

It appears No, from the Harris Law Firm.

Edited by user Wednesday, March 13, 2019 1:10:30 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

Grammar: the difference between knowing your **** and knowing you're ****
BenoitP23  
#13 Posted : Wednesday, March 13, 2019 1:24:43 PM(UTC)
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They are certainly definitive about it. This is a helpful exercise in that I will plan for no survivor benefit and if the law changes or there is some exception that permits, it’ll be a nice surprise. Thanks for sharing that link.
TheRealOrange  
#14 Posted : Thursday, March 14, 2019 3:09:48 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: S D Analyst Go to Quoted Post
I would write OPM and attempt to elect a Survivor Benefit once you change to regular retirement. According to this OPM FAQ, it may be possible.
https://www.opm.gov/faqs...4-4b61-b75c-3d390655ef81

I'm not sure that FAQ language applies. I think the reference to "first regular annuity payment" is in comparison to the estimated interim annuity payments: "Your first regular monthly payment is the first one paid in an amount other than the estimated amount or the adjustment payment after we have computed your regular annuity amount." I don't think it's a reference to "regular retirement." In any event, OPM makes it clear that an election should take place at the time you start receiving your disability retirement:

Reductions in Disability Annuity

Survivor Benefits


If you are married, your benefit will be reduced for a survivor benefit, unless your spouse consented to your election of less than a full survivor annuity. If the total of the survivor benefit(s) you elect equals 50% of your benefit, your annuity is reduced by 10%. If the total equals 25%, the reduction is 5%.

I don't think you get another election period at the time your disability annuity is converted to a regular retirement, but I am far from an expert.

BenoitP23  
#15 Posted : Thursday, March 14, 2019 3:45:40 AM(UTC)
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Thanks for pointing that out. I would likely have made the same decision either way, but would sure be a nice bonus if you could change on the back end.
gembarok  
#16 Posted : Thursday, March 14, 2019 9:13:36 AM(UTC)
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Greetings,

It still is possible. You just have to read the fine print. Like marriage.

https://www.opm.gov/reti...ife-events/#url=Overview

S/
K
catspaw  
#17 Posted : Saturday, March 16, 2019 4:01:11 PM(UTC)

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I seem to remember if you don't elect a spousal benefit you don't get medical benefits for your spouse if you die sooner- at least I think that's how it works. So it's important to see if you can change this now if you want them to have medical. I elected spousal annuity immediately so I wouldn't have to worry about this. Good luck & please let us all know here what you find out.
BenoitP23  
#18 Posted : Saturday, March 16, 2019 6:33:20 PM(UTC)
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You are correct. My benefit and health insurance go away if I die unless I am able to change this at retirement. I am certain this can’t be changed now as you are locked into that decision when you first start receiving benefits. That was our choice and I don’t regret it. In the event that I can change it at retirement, which looks doubtful, it would be advantageous to us at that point.
Guts  
#19 Posted : Sunday, March 17, 2019 10:10:30 AM(UTC)

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If you do find out if you can elect Survivors Benefits at the age 62 conversion date, then let me know how I can get a refund on the 10% of my annuity that I have been paying well before age 62!
Grammar: the difference between knowing your **** and knowing you're ****
BenoitP23  
#20 Posted : Sunday, March 17, 2019 10:14:52 AM(UTC)
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You’re spouse would continue to receive a benefit and health insurance in exchange for that reduction in benefit. Mine would not. If able, and that appears unlikely, I would similarly be exchanging a reduction in benefit in exchange for a spousal benefit when I die. You are not being disadvantaged either way.
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