OPM Disability Retirement: Back-pay

Last Updated on November 5, 2018 by Federal Disability Lawyer

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.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire

12 thoughts on “OPM Disability Retirement: Back-pay

  1. 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. 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. 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. 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

  5. I have a question. I have been out of work since August of 2012. I tried working with TSA to get my injury covered by workers comp to no avail. After exhausting all avenues I applied for SS disability and disability retirement. I was granted and approved for disability retirement and received a check this morning for substantially less than I was expecting. Could anyone explain how the disability retirement is calculated please. I have not received wages for over two years.

  6. I was placed on LWOP for 14 months, pending approval of my disability retirement application. I was disabled and my agency could not accommodate me in any position. My retirement was approved and after 14 months I was separated. 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. They will not pay me back to when I was placed in LWOP. I do not feel it is legal for me to lose out on disability pay due to OPM’s slow processing. I need some advice on how to proceed as I feel the rules that are in place should allow for back to when LWOP started (14 Months). I was not employed and did not receive a wage during those 14 months of LWOP.Thank you

  7. Last day of my pay on FERS is Nov 2014 (LWOP), for example if FERS disability retirement will get approve in Sept 2015, am I going to get

  8. Last day of pay is OCt 2014. LWOP from OCT 2014 till got approved for FERS disability Sept 2015. Am I going to get a 10 months backpay?

  9. I resigned from VA in 2015 due to intolerable working conditions and because of my medical condition – Vertigo episodes (Menieres Disease). I also have severe hearing loss and receptive aphasia (brain damage) since birth. Had i known about federal disability retirement, i would have applied for it. I just now found out about this. Are there any chances OPM may consider if i apply?

  10. I was approved by OPM for disability retirement dated 2/282018, and I talked to my agency about if they had gotten the paperwork out to OPM, and they stated yes they did. My agency said that my paperwork was forward in 3/8/2018, how long will it be before I start to see my pay?.

  11. “Thanks Robert”!, so much for the information concerning when OPM might begin for payment, that was very informing and I have been on LWOP for 14 months or so. I have not received anymore paperwork from OPM about a summary of any sort, perhaps I just need to allow just a little more time before getting more information. How ever just reading online with google as an assistance about how to calculate your the amount that you might be receiving, I got a little confused. I don’t have my SF50 but I did go by the years that I have worked, at only 3 years. Out of those 3 years my 3 high was 89,000, and I multiplied that by 1, and than multiplied again by the 3 years of service. I’m still having problems trying to figure out how to get to the percentage that I may receive for payment, can you help me figure this crap out?.

  12. I retired last Dec (early out) (VERA/VSIP) with a monthly supplement due to age.
    I applied for SSA in July 2018.
    I received the approval SS – October 2018.

    Do I need to contact OPM to notify the approval?
    How they calculate the amount? With the supplement or without supplement.
    Do I have to return any amount received from the supplement between July – November?

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