In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, a multiplicity of factors must be considered in coming to the initial decision of deciding to proceed forward — some concerning the immediate impact; others focusing upon an intermediate journey of some years hence (for example, a future time of a year of two, of whether to find another job, whether to seriously apply for SSDI with its offset provisions and its restrictive components on outside earned income, etc.); and still other issues with ultimate “end-goals” in mind.
As for the latter issues, the concern of age can be a tripartite one: Is being young, with the minimum of 18 months of Federal Service (or 3 – 5 years, say) a concern when it comes to the scrutiny of OPM? The short answer to such a question is that, whether one is 35 years old or 55, the primary basis of a Federal Disability Retirement application is whether one has the proper and effective medical support in order to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.
A secondary concern regarding age focuses upon the other side of the spectrum — if one is 59, 60 or 61 years old, is it worthwhile to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, if only because at age 62, when OPM recalculates the Federal Disability Retirement benefit based upon the total number of years of Federal Service, is it monetarily worthwhile? This is a simple issue of calculating the options — Can one wait until regular retirement? Does the comparison between regular retirement and disability retirement warrant filing for Federal Disability Retirement? What is the financial comparison, and since OPM Disability Retirement takes 8 – 10 months to get (minimum), is it worthwhile?
A third factor to consider concerning age, has to do with the longevity of a worker’s lifespan: since the time on disability retirement counts towards one’s total number of years of service, the extra percentage of annuity — even if it amounts to 1 or 2% — will compound exponentially over the course of a person’s lifetime, if a person lives to be 80 or 90.
Age is always a concern — one which is never reflected upon in the reckless days of one’s youth; and one can only hope that as youth fades and age creeps upon us, a parallel universe of wisdom also accompanies the wrinkles of time.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire