First, you might be eligible for FERS Disability Retirement (FDR). You will need to prove that your disability prevents you from performing one or more essential functions of your position.
You might also qualify for Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP). This could be the case if your disabling illness or accident was caused by a mishap in the workplace.
Nothing happens automatically. If you qualify for OWCP, this might strengthen your case with FDR. However, you must still apply for each program separately, and there are no guarantees you will qualify for both.
In most cases, you can’t receive FDR and OWCP payments simultaneously. If you’re approved for both benefit payments, you will have to choose one.
If you choose OWCP payments, you can defer FDR payments. Then, when OWCP payments cease, you can begin collecting your FDR annuity, so long as you still qualify for the program.
Deadlines apply. You must file for FDR benefits within one year of your separation in order to qualify. This rule applies even if you qualify OWCP in the meantime, so don’t make the mistake of waiting until your OWCP benefits have ended before filing your application.
Of course, ending your service early due to disability will create a need for change regarding your overall retirement plan. Contact us as soon as you suspect your service is coming to an end, so that we can help you make the necessary adjustments to your long-term strategy.