In filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS, one must file for SSDI and submit proof of such filing with the Office of Personnel Management at the time of approval of the Federal Disability Retirement application. For CSRS individuals who file for Federal Disability Retirement, no such filing is required, precisely because the framework of a CSRS retirement/disability retirement is not tied into the Social Security system.
Remember that, under FERS, when a Federal or Postal Worker files for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, all that is necessary is to fulfill the requirement of “filing” — meaning, that a receipt must be submitted evidencing the filing of an SSDI application. One does not need an approval or a denial — merely a receipt showing that one has fulfilled the statutory requirement of filing. Ultimately, of course, the Office of Personnel Management is seeking to discover whether or not the Federal or Postal worker is eligible for SSDI, and if so, that an offset will be triggered. Because of the possible offset (and the potential repercussions of OPM refusing to reinstate the full FERS Disability Retirement benefits in the event of an SSDI/FERS disability retirement annuitant having reached a status of gainful employment — see my previous blog post), one needs to take into consideration all of the factors, circumstances, future goals and future plans, before one decides to “aggressively” pursue SSDI benefits.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire