When you are a part of the United States Civil Service Program, you never have to worry about your retirement days, even when you have to retire from your job because of some unwanted disability. Yes! If you are forced to retire from because of disability, the Civil Service Disability Retirement and Social Security Program is going to take care of you and your loved ones!
When Can You Apply for Civil Service Disability Retirement?
Not everyone is eligible for the Civil Service Disability Retirement Program. You have to apply for it when you are facing any kind of problem in your job because of any disability.
You can only apply to be a part of the Civil Service Disability Retirement and Social Security Program after you have shown your office your complete medical documentation.
The documents need to clearly specify that you cannot perform your professional responsibilities due to certain medical conditions. Only after your office has excused you of all sort of professional duties will you be eligible for this retirement program.
What are you entitled to under the Program?
If you retire as a disable person under the Civil Service Disability Retirement and Social Security Program, you are entitled to 40% of your “high-3 average pay”, i.e. the average of the employees 3 highest consecutive salaries in their lifetime.
However, if you are also a part of the Military Service Retirement Program, or if you receive an annuity from the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), you might not be eligible for the Civil Service Disability Retirement Program even if you retire as a disable person.
How do you know if you are eligible for the civil service disability retirement program?
As a disabled person unable to complete your work responsibilities, you are eligible for this program only after you have completed 5 years as an employee of the Federal Government.
At the same time, your disability must have occurred during the period that you were a Civil Service/Federal Government employee, i.e. the disease or the injury that has made you a disabled person had to have occurred while you were employed by the Government.
Also, you must have been a useful and essential part of your office prior to your disability to be eligible for the Social Security program.
If the disability is not grave enough to last at least a year, you are not eligible for this program.
Before you are eligible for this program, your office must ensure that it has tried to accommodate your disability or tried to move you to another vacant position and failed to do so. When every other measure fails to you to continue working within your agency/office, only then will you be eligible for the Civil Service Disability Retirement program.
What happens if you have not worked for a month?
Unfortunately, if you have been separated from your job for more than a month – i.e. 31 days – when the disability struck, it may become difficult to process your application for the disability retirement program within the allotted one year time frame. In such a situation, the application needs to be submitted to a different address:
Office of Personnel Management
Civil Service Retirement System
Retirement Operations Center
Boyers, PA 16017-0001
What are the documents you need to submit?
You might need to submit a number of documentations to your office to be considered for the Disability Retirement Program, namely:
- Proof of deficiency in service or performance in your agency; in absence of that, a proof that it is impossible for you to continue at your office under the conditions of your disability;
- Documentation of the medical condition (both physical and psychiatric disease) that is stopping you from giving your best in your job;
- Documentation of the relationship between the nature of your disability and the deficiency caused in your professional life;
- Proof that your disability occurred while you were employed under your office;
- Documentation stating that your disability is expected to last for at least an year;
- Documentation stating that your office has tried to accommodate your disability to their advantage and failed;
- Proof that there isn’t any other position available at your office that you are eligible to work at.
When will you start receiving payment?
Your Civil Service Disability Retirement payment will start immediately the day after you are no longer receiving payments as salary as a regular employee. If all your documents had been present when you apply for this retirement program, you won’t have to wait for long before you start receiving your disability retirement annuity.
Will the Disability Retirement Annuity stop?
Under two circumstances, this annuity can stop coming to you:
One, if you recover from your disability or medical condition before the retirement age of 60 and is fully able to rejoin your agency. For this, you need to provide documentation and medical reports stating that you are recovered and able to work again.
Two, if there is no change in your disability or medical condition for over an year, after the age of 60, you will be eligible for a regular Civil Service Retirement Program rather than Disability Retirement Program.
Can you return to work?
If you stop being a disable person after a certain time period or if you are capable of returning to work, you certainly can return to the position best suited to your qualifications.
Although it is not mandatory for your previous employers to automatically offer you the same position you held before, but they are required to consider you for the position before offering it to any outsider candidates, given you are still qualified and interested in the same position.
Accidents can happen anytime in our life, but if you are an employee under the US government, your life as a disabled person will certainly be easier thanks to the Civil Service Disability Retirement and Social Security Program.