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How Social Security and federal employee disability benefits work

Federal jobs often come with excellent benefits. It’s no different if you have a serious medical condition that potentially affects your ability to work. Postal carriers and all other federal workers who find themselves in this situation may qualify for either Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) Disability Retirement (FDR). Some individuals may be eligible for both. You should know how things work if you receive approval for SSDI and FDR at the same time.

The United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM) outlines how they compute FDR annuity benefits for federal employees under the age of 62. They do so by taking either 60 or 40% of the worker’s three highest average salaries. OPM then takes the Social Security benefits that the employee is to receive and reduces their monthly annuity by that same amount.

OPM generally reduces your monthly annuity as much as 100% based on the SSDI benefit you receive if you’re a federal worker who’s on the 60% computation path. Federal employees who receive a 40% computed annuity will generally see their monthly amount reduced by as much as 60% of their SSDI benefit. Reductions in benefits such as these generally only apply during months in which a federal employee concurrently receives both SSDI and FDR benefits.

Unfortunately, applying for SSDI when you’re receiving an FDR disability annuity isn’t optional. You’re generally required to make a claim.

Applying for and receiving SSDI benefits in itself can be difficult. Not every medical condition will allow you to meet eligibility requirements for this type of disability coverage (even if it qualifies as a disability for your federal pension). A Social Security Disability attorney here in Oklahoma City can help you determine whether you are eligible for SSDI and how to best assert your claim.

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