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Learn more about disability benefits and retirement

FAQs and answers about disability benefits and federal retirement.

Questions and answers

In general, you should decide which benefit is most advantageous for you, and elect to receive that one. If you decide you want to receive OWCP benefits, then payments from OPM will be suspended. But if your OWCP benefits stop, then you can ask OPM to pay your disability benefit.

If you decide to come off of OWCP and pick up OPM benefits, you should coordinate with OWCP first to ensure you agree on the termination date. OPM benefits will begin the day after OWCP benefits cease. An overpayment may result. You can receive an OWCP Scheduled Award and OPM retirement benefits at the same time.

You should contact us if you're awarded workers' compensation benefits to see if you need to make an election between benefits. You should go to the OWCP website for more information about workers' compensation benefits.

There are at least two scenarios statutorily that your FERS disability benefit can change.

In many cases your disability retirement is calculated as 60 percent of your high-3 average salary for the first year minus 100 percent of your monthly Social Security benefit in your first year of eligibility, if applicable. Your annuity will be recalculated at 40 percent of your high-3 average salary beginning the second year minus 60 percent of your monthly Social Security benefit or your earned benefit, whichever is higher, if applicable.

At age 62, your disability benefit is recalculated as though you had continued working until age 62. Your average salary is increased by all FERS cost-of-living adjustments paid while you were disabled.

If you're eligible for an immediate retirement when you apply for disability and are approved, your annuity will be calculated at your earned rate; there will not be a recalculation at age 62.

Learn more about disability benefits for federal retirees

Yes. If your disability benefit stopped because you were found recovered either medically or administratively, then your benefit can resume only if the disability recurs and you do not exceed the 80 percent earnings limitation. If your disability benefit stopped merely because you exceeded the earnings limitation, then your benefit can resume effective January 1 after you no longer exceed the 80 percent earnings limit.

If you return to a federal position where the salary or grade is higher than the position you retired from, then you'll be found administratively recovered and your benefit will stop. You won't be able to return to the disability retirement without submitting a new application and current medical documentation.

When we approve your application for disability retirement, we may determine that based on your medical condition you will periodically have to provide us with current medical information in order to continue receiving benefits.

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