By Reg Jones
Q. I have been on disability retirement for more than seven years. However, because I was working part time with health benefits, I originally opted out of Federal Employees Health Benefits. Now that the Affordable Health Care Act is being implemented, will there be an opportunity for someone like me to opt back into FEHB?
Q. I am employed at a special salary rate and may be medically disqualified from my position. Can I be forced to take a position at the same paygrade which would result in a very significant loss of pay? Is my current salary guaranteed if I am forced to accept another position?
Q. I have been with the Postal Service for 24 years, and I have an action for removal for nonperformance looming over me and a pending disability retirement application with the Office of Personnel Management. If I get terminated before OPM makes its decision, will that guarantee approval of disability retirement? What about insurance? If I get terminated, can I make some kind of arrangements to keep my health and life insurance? I must keep my health insurance with this medical condition and my family. I also need to hold on to my life insurance since my history is blotted.
Q. I am a 49-year-old, 27-year employee postmaster who is a FERS employee and is in the process of completing disability paperwork and Social Security disability paperwork. There is also a Voluntary Early Retirement Authority offer out there that I need to make a decision on by Nov. 29. If I take the VERA and I’m approved for my disability retirement by the Office of Personnel Management, can I change my retirement to the disability retirement? Also, if I take the VERA, can I still qualify for disability Social Security benefits?
Q. The Postal Service said I could put in for disability retirement, but I may have money in my FERS account. How do I go about checking it, then take the money out?
Q. My husband is a government worker under FERS. He filed for Social Security disability and received his first check on Sept. 28 for August 2013. He was told that his FERS disability retirement of $3,114 would be reduced by 100 percent because he is receiving SSD. What does that mean? Would his SSD of $2,092 also be reduced? If he is awarded workers’ compensation, can he elect to receive that and stop the FERS disability and the Social Security disability?
Q. I am receiving a FERS disability retirement. I have 23 years of service (not counting time on disability) and will turn 50 in the coming months. I was on agency rolls until the award of my disability retirement, and then my agency separated me from service. If my disability annuity is terminated by the Office of Personnel Management, would I be considered involuntarily separated from federal service for purposes of qualifying for discontinued service retirement?
Q. I retired on disability in November 2011 with 23 years of federal service at age 47. If, at some point in the future, the Office of Personnel Management terminates my disability benefits, would I be eligible for discontinued service retirement? I would meet the age and service requirements (age 50, 20+ years). I did not resign before my disability application was approved, remaining on agency rolls until the effective date of my disability retirement. There were no misconduct or failure to perform issues.
If not eligible for DSR, would I be eligible to receive my regular retirement at my minimum retirement age (56), or would I have to wait until age 62? Would I get the special retirement supplement?
Q. Can you draw both workers’ comp and Social Security disability? I am a FERS employee who was put on Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs rolls because no work is available to me due to my work restrictions. Is there a penalty during both? Is either one taxable? Or am I forced to drop workers’ comp? And how does this affect me with my Veterans Affairs Department disabilities?
Q. I am considering applying for a FERS disability retirement. I understand the percentages of pay and applying for Social Security disability if Social Security approves disability also. If you file for FERS disability retirement, you must at the same time file for Social Security disability benefits. If you do not, the Office of Personnel Management will not process your application. Based on this statement, is it true that OPM could approve, however Social Security may not approve, as they have different standards? What happens if Social Security does not approve. Will I continue to get the unreduced monthly annuity from OPM?
Q. I recently returned to the federal government, and have 21 months in my current return. My total federal service will be 22 years in October. I had an on-the-job injury while with the Postal Service, and this injury has gotten worse since a car accident and surgery (I work for the Department of Veterans Affairs). I do not know how much longer I can work (pain, medication, etc). Am I qualified for disability retirement with medical benefits, even though my current return to federal service is less than five years?
Q. I am 43 years old. I have worked for the federal government for 13 years and was approved for disability retirement. If I take federal disability retirement for only one year and stop, how does that affect future retirement options/annuity payments from the federal government?
Q. I am a 59-year-old FERS employee with 16 years of service and I have been enrolled in the Federal Employees Health Benefits plan for the past 10 years. I am being removed for medical inability immediately and will have a disability retirement application pending with the Office of Personnel Management. I’d rather not pay the COBRA rate for health insurance while my application is pending (six-month processing time). However, if I am denied disability, do I lose forever my ability to continue under my federal health insurance as I would have had I retired under MRA+10?
Q. I know there is a government pension offset when receiving FERS disability retirement and Social Security disability benefits, but is there an offset when receiving regular federal retirement benefits and SSD benefits?
Q. I am a FERS disability retiree under retirement age. I have been receiving disability since 2001. I also started receiving Social Security disability. I am confused on the percentage the Office of Personnel Management takes away from me. I do not have any deductions for OPM.
Q. I worked for the Postal Service for 30 years. Arthritis developed in my thumb and was fixed by fusing my middle joint. I still work full time, but there are still things I can’t do with my thumb, such as grabbing thick stuff like books. Can I file for partial disability?
Q. Can a worker apply for disability retirement after involuntary removal? I was in a modified duty position but could not keep up and was removed for poor performance. The contention is that performance and attendance were low because of the injury that made them modify the job. Am I still eligible for disability retirement?
Q. I have put in for retirement effective Sept. 30. I have been unable to work since March and will follow with a disability retirement request.
I am a postmaster with 27 years of service and 56 years old.
So, as of now, I will be taking a 35 percent reduction and not getting the special retirement supplement. Today, I understand an early-out is being offered. The offers will be sent out starting Sept. 16. Since mine is already in place, will I get the offer, or do I withdraw my current request and reapply?
Q. I am 50 years old and was just approved for retirement on disability. I have deep vein thrombosis and a history of phlebitis. I have had a pulmonary embolism. Mentally, I am not ready to retire, but my conditions and body tell me otherwise. If I decide I want to continue working, can I reapply later? What would happen?
Q. Can you make changes to any options on life insurance when you leave and are approved on FERS disability? I will be 62 in a year and a half. Can you increase or decrease amounts?