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FERS disability vs. regular retirement

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Latest post Fri, Jan 30 2009 10:49 AM by Kivi. 3 replies.
  • Wed, Jan 28 2009 3:44 PM

    • Cindy99
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on Wed, Jan 28 2009
    • Posts 1

    Sad [:(] FERS disability vs. regular retirement

    My husband is 56 and became eligible for voluntary early retirement a few months ago. Three weeks ago he began to have seizures and has since been diagnosed with a brain tumor. He is on seizure meds and unable to drive either a personal car until he is 6 months seizure free, or ever commercially. He was a TTO driver for the whole 20 years he has been in the PO and cannot ever do this job again. He is employed in Dallas and we live about 45 minutes from there. We have filed FLMA paperwork and are currently using up the almost 5 months of sick leave he has, and also hoping we can use the new years worth of annual leave, but we will be broke after that. He is currently starting tests to make sure that tumor is not cancerous, in any case he will have brain surgery. So we have a long uncertain road ahead that may or may not allow him to work, but certainly even if they offer him a non driving job, we will have to figure out how to get him there unless they can move him into Arlington which has a handitran service.
    Many issues, but we do not know whether to go ahead and start the disability filing process now or wait since they have not had time to even offer to have job waiting for him yet. Meanwhile, I am wondering why we would go through the process of filing for FERS disability since according to their website, the dollar amount appears to be the same as regular early/voluntary retirement? Are there advantages to the disabilty status such as possible future rehire that I am missing? Will he be able to continue having the employee portion of his medical insurance deducted from the disability ck the way they do on the retirement check?
    Any help?!?
    ALl this stress is not doing his brain any good:(
  • Wed, Jan 28 2009 4:07 PM In reply to

    re: Reply: FERS disability vs. regular retirement

    You should compare the annuity benefit between regular (early, in your case) retirement, and disability retirement. If the amount is the same, or the difference is negligible, then you shouldn't consider disability retirement, because there are no greater advantages. I am sorry to hear about your situation. You should do whatever is the best possible financial course for you, your husband & your family.

    Robert R. McGill, Esquire
  • Wed, Jan 28 2009 4:44 PM In reply to

    re: FERS disability vs. regular retirement

    Mr. McGill has already given you an answer, so I just wanted to touch on the use of annual leave. What you'd earn in a year does go on the books in January, but that doesn't mean you have that much available to use. You earn it as you go, just like sick leave. You can use it now, but you'll owe the Postal Service for it if you don't work until the end of the year. I assume you'll want to budget carefully while you weigh your options, so be careful with the leave issue.

    Best of luck to you.
  • Fri, Jan 30 2009 10:49 AM In reply to

    • Kivi
    • Top 25 Contributor
    • Joined on Sat, Jan 1 2005
    • CA
    • Posts 6,363

    Feedback [*=*] re: FERS disability vs. regular retirement

    If he is eligible for a regular retirement under FERS (vs an early one), he probably won't qualify for a disability retirement.

    In FERS, a regular retirement would be Minimum Retirement Age + 30 years of service, given his age of 56.

    If he is eligible for retirement under a VERA, he still might be able to file for a disability retirement. He does not have 30 years of service, per your post, so his potential annuity will be less with him not being able to get in 30 years or work until age 60, when he would have qualified for a regular retirement.

    However, in an early retirement under FERS, he becomes eligible for the special retirement supplement at his MRA. Check on whether he will receive the special retirement supplement if he retires now versus having to wait until age 60 for the supplement.

    In his case, it might pay to file for the VERA and then try for Social Security disability benefits. If he goes for a FERS disability retirement, even though the monthly amount initially may be higher, there are offsets for Social Security disability benefits. There should not be any offsets when he merely gets a regular or early retirement under FERS.
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