By Reg Jones
Q. I am receiving disability benefits. I am 49 years old and a former Customs and Border Protection officer. I was basically forced to retire when I became injured, and the agency informed me I was not suitable to be an officer, and they offered me a secretarial job. The agency asserted that I could no longer fulfill my job as a CBP officer notating the job description for 6(c) coverage. I am wondering if I should be entitled to 6(c) retirement under disability or regular retirement?
Before 6(c) was authorized, I was already performing the same duties just without the title. Furthermore, the agency even provided me with a description of a CBP 6(c) officer when they rejected any other law enforcement position for me.
Additionally, if I am found medically recuperated from my injury, does CBP have an obligation to place me back as an officer or supervisor?
Isn’t there a minimum age? I retired at age 44 with 19 years of federal service. I have been on disability for five years. Would they hire me again at age 49 or 50 in a 6(c) law enforcement position? If not, why does the Office of Personnel Management continue to send periodic medical evaluations?
A. According to OPM, “If a disability annuitant is found recovered, he or she may be eligible for priority referral under the Interagency Transition Assistance Plan for Displaced Employees. Priority referral does not mean that the former agency must or will offer the individual his or her former position or place them in another position. It simply means that all federal agencies will consider the individual for placement if there are vacancies for which he or she is qualified.”