Disability Retirement for Federal Workers: SSDI Impact

In preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS (CSRS individuals are exempted for this particular issue), the Federal or Postal employee who is contemplating filing for the benefit must at some point in the process file for Social Security Disability benefits (SSDI).  This is because the law is set up for an off-setting feature between the two “pockets” of benefits — where, in the first year, there is a 100% offset between FERS & SSDI, and a 60% offset every year thereafter.  

In some rare instances, Social Security will approve a person’s disability application before the Office of Personnel Management has approved a FERS Disability Retirement application.  In that instance, one can use the SSDI approval as “persuasive” evidence to the Office of Personnel Management.  It is not determinative evidence, but there are legal arguments to be made which essentially state that, since a person has been found to be “totally disabled” by the Social Security Administration, based upon the same or identical medical evidence and documentation, that the Office of Personnel Management should grant a FERS Disability Retirement application based upon the same or identical medical evidence.  

Is the reverse true?  If a FERS Disability Retirement application is approved, can such an approval be used as evidence — persuasive or determinative — for an SSDI application?  That would be a weaker argument, precisely because OPM Disability Retirement does not make a determination of total disability, but rather, a decision that the Federal or Postal employee cannot perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s particular kind of job.  Moreover, the Social Security Administration might also argue that inasmuch as SSDI does allow for some earned income (about $1,000 per month) from a job, such allowance shows that approval of a FERS Disability Retirement, which recognizes that one is merely disabled from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s particular kind of job, should not be determinative of a Social Security criteria which requires a higher standard of disability.

Knowing what impact each aspect or element of a process will have upon another is an important step in preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application. As knowledge is the source of success, utilization of such knowledge is the pathway to an approval in a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS and CSRS.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

1 thought on “Disability Retirement for Federal Workers: SSDI Impact”

  1. Hi, I am on OWCP i worked for the USPS.
    I applied for Disability retirement and I had to apply for SS. I am 52 years old.
    I was excepted for SS right away in Mar 2011 and received 22,000.00.
    On June 6th I received a letter that i was excepted for Disability retirement.
    I Received a letter From OPM on Sept 30 2011, stating that i am eligble to receive a FERS Annuity, to choose Fers or OWCP.It states,We suspended your benefits on 02/09/2008….. that date was my last day in pay status…. what does we suspended your benefits mean, i never received any benefits this sentence below also has me confused.
    Please return this form as soon as possible so we may take final action on your claim for benefits, we reinstate your benefits or terminate this account.
    Please answer soon i have to mail this back but i’m scared.
    Thankyou,
    Donna

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *