FERS & CSRS disability retirement: Back-pay
LWOP, Sick Leave, AWOL, Annual Leave (AL) topics on OPM Medical Retirement

Remember to not spite yourself, especially when it comes to financial considerations. If your medical disability is forcing you to take excessive LWOP, it might be better to go “cold turkey” and stay completely out on LWOP while you file for disability retirement benefits. This is because, once you get your disability retirement application approved, you will be paid “back pay” in a lump-sum form, back to the last day of your pay, at the 60% rate from your last day of pay forward for the first 12 months.

Thus, if you work only 2 days out of the week, and you take LWOP for the other 3 days, you are losing 20% of pay, because were you to go out on LWOP, instead of being paid 40% of your salary (2 out of the 5 days), you would be getting back-pay for essentially 3 out of the 5 days (60%). On the other hand, don’t go out on LWOP, then after 4 or 5 months, go back to work for a week — because in that instance, you will never recover the 4 or 5 months of LWOP, because the “last day of pay” will have been paid to you when you went back to work. While all of this may be a bit confusing, it is essential to your financial health and consideration when entering the complex process of Federal Disability Retirement under FERS or CSRS.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

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4 Comments

  1. George Chigi, III
    Posted September 15, 2009 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    I retired from US Army CID in Jun 2008, where I worked as a civilian Polygraph Supervisor at Ft Hood, TX. I retired due to my psychiatrist and psychologist at the Waco VA Office determining that I should go on terminal sick leave and I was also listed by my VA Doctor as being unemployable due to Service Connected PTSD issues. I was recently determined by the VA to be 100% disabled and unemployable. After that long, can I now apply for disability pay due to the aforementioned conditions?

  2. Thomison
    Posted October 27, 2013 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Have applied for FERS/OPM disability retirement. Have applied for SSDI. Will not be returning to work under any circumstances or accepting any donated leave or pay. Due to circumstances need to access TSP to replace furnace that is now defunct and other reasons.

    If resign, I know MAY give up Brunner presumption if denied. Filing time of one year not an issue. If resign, will it effect back pay. IE: Will I only get back pay from time filed to time of resignation? Or is it as I am thinking a separate issue, and back pay is from time last day I received any pay from Government, until decision?

  3. Ronda Thomison
    Posted October 27, 2013 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Have filed for OPM disability retirement. Will not be going back to work or accepting any donated leave or pay.

    Due to circumstances, need to access my TSP account for what I consider hardship but apparently TSP does not. Furnace went out and needs replaced. With winter coming need heat and husband has heart conditions. TSP still contends not a hardship.

    Question. If resign so can access TSP, will that effect back pay? Would back pay be from time last received pay or benefits until date of resignation or is that a separate issue? I am thinking it would still be retroactive from time of last pay or benefit, until approved regardless of resignation.

    Understand if resign. I MAY give up Brunner Presumption if denied. Also know time period of 1 year is running. but filed before last day of work so not an issue. I applied for this retirement because I cannot work period due to injuries and conditions.

    I will not be going back nor need to for any reasons, due to medical problems. My letter of resignation if I do so, would document and state it is for medical conditions as noted on forms when I applied ONLY.

  4. Cynthia Thomas
    Posted March 21, 2014 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    After exhausting all my FMLA in September 2012 after a serious illness, I was placed on LWOP. During the first 4 months of LWOP, I applied for reasonable accommodation which was not granted as they said I was disabled and they could not accommodate me in any position. That decision took 4 1/2 months. In February of 2013, I then applied for SSID and Retirement Disability. Four months later, April 2013,they separated me from employment and I had not heard anything back at that time from Disability Retirement. Seven months later, November 2013, I received a letter stating that I had been accepted for Disability Retirement and they would back pay only to the day I was separated from employment which was April 2013. They will not pay me back to when LWOP started in September 2012. I need some advice on how to proceed as I feel the rules that are in place should pay me back to when LWOP started, September, 2012 not my separation date of April, 2013. I was not employed and did not receive a wage during those 7+months of LWOP .Thank you

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