What Happens to Federal Employees Who are Disabled?

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What Happens to Federal Employees Who are Disabled?

Posted by Benchmark Financial Group, LLC
8 months ago | November 19, 2018

It’s not exactly something we all love to think about, but what would happen if you became disabled due to illness or injury? Since last month was National Disability Awareness Month, it might have sparked some thoughts or conversations for you. Or, if not, now is the time to consider the issue.

Of course, we all know that there are some provisions in place for anyone injured and disabled on the job. But what about events that happen outside of work? A car accident, illness, natural disaster, or even a bad reaction to a medical treatment or medication can happen to anyone. What happens if your sudden disability prevents you from working?

First of all, you do have both paid and unpaid leave that you could use, for a period of time. In most cases, federal employees are limited to 30 days of paid leave per calendar year. You can earn 13 days of paid sick leave per year, without limitations.

As for unpaid leave, this can be granted on a per-case basis, upon employee request. It’s not guaranteed, and of course you won’t be paid for this time off work.

Another option is leave share,which allows employees to receive donated paid leave from other employees. It goes without saying that these situations are never guaranteed, and in most cases the leave share won’t cover an extended period of time away from work.

So, in serious cases, that leaves you with the option to leave your job.

Under Disability Retirement , you are considered disabled if you are unable to perform “useful and efficient” service according to your position’s requirements, due to an illness or injury that occurred outside of your workplace. You must be a FERS employee, have earned at least 18 months of creditable service, and your disability must be expected to last at least one year.

If you quality for Disability Retirement, during the first year you will receive 60 percent of your “high 3” income minus 100 percent of your Social Security benefit (during any month in which you qualify). During the second year you would receive 40 percent of your “high 3” income, minus 60 percent of any Social Security benefits for which you qualify. This is a complicated formula, so be sure to consult with the Office of Personnel Management.

This income will be taxable, and might not provide for your entire cost of living. Therefore, many employees enroll in Disability Insurance policies. To learn more about those options, as well as planning for your future in general, please give us a call. We can help to address your concerns and put together a plan of action.

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