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Q&A: OPM Disability Retirement vs. Social Security Disability

Many people have difficulty understanding the difference between OPM disability retirement and Social Security Disability. Whether you have questions about either of these retirement options or don’t know which one you qualify for, our team at Pines Federal has the answers you need. If you have additional questions, get in touch with our team for guidance with your case.

If you need legal guidance with your OPM disability retirement case, contact us today at (888) 898-9902 for a case review!

What Is the Difference Between OPM Disability Retirement & Social Security Disability?

To qualify for federal disability retirement, you must demonstrate that you have an “occupational” disability that prevents you from performing your job duties. To qualify for Social Security Disability, you must demonstrate that you have a “total” disability that enables you to perform any job (including your federal role). You can get one or the other or both types of disability retirement, however, there is a financial offset of benefits if you recover both.

Can I Only Apply for One Type of Disability Benefit?

The Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) requires applicants to also file for Social Security Disability benefits. However, they don’t require you to get approved to receive benefits. They require applicants to file for SSD since those who suffer from “total” disability may qualify for both benefits; however, an offset may occur.

Can I Receive Social Security Disability & Worker’s Compensation?

Yes, you can receive both federal worker’s comp and Social Security Disability benefits, but there may be a benefit offset. It is best to speak with our team to understand your options.

What Does “Offset” Mean When Receiving Multiple Benefits?

An offset occurs when the payment of one benefit program can reduce the payment of another. This means that you won’t be able to receive “double” benefits from OPM disability or Social Security Disability. It is important to note that an offset between benefits can vary and change every year. It is important to consult with an attorney when calculating benefit payments and eligibility.

Can I Still Work While Receiving OPM Disability Benefits?

Yes, you can find employment in the private sector, as long as the new position doesn’t exceed your medical restrictions. You will be allowed to earn up to 80 percent of the current salary of your retired position while you continue to receive federal disability retirement payments.

Can I Still Work While Receiving Social Security Disability Benefits?

You should contact your local Social Security Administration (SSA) office to determine if you can still work while receiving Social Security Disability benefits. Since the SSD will typically only approve you if you suffer from “total” disability, you will have strict restrictions when it comes to working while receiving benefits.

I am 59 Years Old and Currently on OPM Disability Retirement. Will I Switch to FERS Automatically When I Turn 62?

Yes, your OPM disability retirement benefits with switch to Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). It will occur automatically whether you desire it or not, although your benefits will still be calculated at the same retirement rate and will include your creditable years of service as if you continued to work.

What Should I Do If I Need Help Applying for OPM Disability?

If you need help applying for OPM disability, you should contact our team at Pines Federal. With over 50 years of combined experience in federal employee law, we have the knowledge needed to help you with your disability claim. Depending on the circumstances, you may be eligible to file if you were terminated from your position. Remember though you only have one year to apply for your benefits. If you have a disability and are seeking benefits or have applied and were denied, we can help you. Our goal is to help you obtain approval of your claim at the initial application stage so you can avoid the stress of filing time-consuming appeals.

Contact our federal OPM disability attorneys today at (888) 898-9902 to schedule a case review!

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