In filing for Federal or Postal Disability Retirement under FERS, one must, of course, file for SSDI. Whether you want to pursue SSDI aggressively or not, depends upon what one’s future plans will be. Remember that you can make (in addition to the disability annuity paid) up to 80% of what one’s former Federal or Postal job currently pays.
Thus, take the following hypothetical: An individual makes $60,000.00 per year, and files for Disability Retirement under FERS. In the first year, the individual’s annuity would be $36,000; and every year thereafter, it would be $24,000.00. On top of that annuity amount, however, the former Federal or Postal employee could go out and become employed, and make up to $48,000.00 per year at another job, on top of the $24,000.00 in disability annuity, for a combined income of $72,000.00.
Now, some might be critical of the fact that under the rules governing OPM Disability Retirement, one can actually make more total income — 120% — than before becoming qualified for FERS Disability Retirement. Some have called this a “windfall”. Instead, one should look at it this way: it is a thoughtful paradigm, because the system encourages a person to become productive in some other capacity. Moreover, that person further contributes to the system which he or she left, by paying Federal taxes through the “other” employment. Incentives work, and in this case, it makes economic sense for both the Federal government and for the disabled former federal or postal employee.
Sincerely, Robert R. McGill, Esquire