How is FERS (Federal Employees Retirement System) Related to Social Security Disability Benefits?

Submitted by Shane on

FERS is an acronym for the Federal Employees Retirement System. The system became an effective part of the benefits given to federal employees in 1987. There are three components of the FERS benefits program including the FERS basic benefit, the Social Security benefit and the thrift savings plan benefit. When an individual who has worked for the federal government becomes disabled and needs disability benefits to make ends meet, they often wonder how the FERS benefits are related to Social Security Disability benefits. The following information will help you understand how Social Security Disability benefits play a role in the FERS program.

Do You Meet the Requirements?

First, before you can even determine what (if any) affect FERS will have on your disability benefits you must be sure you are eligible for FERS benefits. Unless you have completed at least 18 months of federal civilian service, became disabled while you were employed and meet the SSDI disability requirements you will not be able to qualify for benefits under this program.


It is important to note that once you begin receiving Social Security Disability benefits, your FERS disability annuity will be affected. During the first 12 months of your disability you will receive 60 percent of the amount of your 3-year-average high salary. Once you begin receiving disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA), the amount of your FERS disability payment will be reduced by the amount you receive from the SSDI. So, for example, if your 3-year-high average monthly salary was $4,000 per month your FERS payment would be $2,400 per month. If you receive $1,100 per month in SSDI payments, you would only receive $1,300 per month from the FERS program due to the amount you are collecting from the SSA. This would still total $2,400 per month. You would just be getting a portion of that $2,400 from FERS and a portion from SSDI.

After the first 12 months of your disability you will receive 40 percent of your 3-year-average high salary minus 60 percent of whatever you receive in SSDI benefits. So, if your 3-year-high average was $4,000 per month you would then begin receiving $1,600 per month for your FERS annuity. You would still be receiving $1,100 per month from SSDI, however, only 60 percent of that would be deducted from your FERS payment. As a result, your FERS payment would be $1,600 per month minus $660 (60 percent of $1,000) so your actual FERS payment would be $940 per month so you would be receiving a total of $1,940 per month ($940 from FERS and $1,000 from SSDI).

Many people think that they can either qualify for only Social Security Disability or FERS disability. That is not the case. You can receive both FERS and SSDI benefits, but the amount of SSDI you receive from the SSA will usually have an impact on how much your FERS annuity is.

Blog comments


In reply to by Karen stevens (not verified)

Hi Karen,

Hi Karen,
It may however it would be a good idea to contact the SSA regarding this as they would have detailed information about your benefits.

Mon, 01/15/2018 - 15:51 Permalink
CJ (not verified)

Does your actual disability

Does your actual disability retirement payment count toward your 80% earning capacity?

Sat, 01/20/2018 - 06:52 Permalink
Betty (not verified)

I retired from the USPS in

I retired from the USPS in 2008 (not disability). I am now 60 and am applying for SSD. Will my medical insurance through my FERS pension be affected?

Wed, 01/24/2018 - 15:54 Permalink
Mark (not verified)

I have been receiving both

I have been receiving both FERS Disablility and SSDI for a few years. I will turn 62 in about 1 month. I realize that my FERS annuity will be recalculated (to add the years that I was on FERS Disability into my new (age 62) annuity calculation formula). Will the Social Security Administration recalculate my SSDI annuity to add those same years (the years that I have been on FERS Disability up to age 62) into the SSDI annuity calculation formula?

Sat, 01/27/2018 - 11:17 Permalink

In reply to by Mark (not verified)

HI Mark,

HI Mark,
The SSDI may not recalculate your benefits as the amount you have been eligible for may not change during this period.

Tue, 01/30/2018 - 09:19 Permalink
TAB (not verified)

When I applied for Disability

When I applied for Disability (FERS) in 2014 it was a requirement to file for SSI. I started receiving my disability retirement (FERS) 1,400 and was later denied SSI two-years later. They had already assumed I was getting SSI and deducted my pay after the first year to 1,100. I just got approved for SSD (2018). How will this affect the FERS now? I understand the amount between both will equal a certain amount. Just trying to understand if the same rule applies with getting FERS Disability than years later getting SSD? Thank you for your time and patience

Thu, 02/08/2018 - 23:28 Permalink
TAB (not verified)

In reply to by Bryan

Understood, Thank you. My

Understood, Thank you. My FERS is 1148. and my SSD is 1077.

Thu, 02/15/2018 - 11:31 Permalink
Douglas (not verified)

i have been on FERS

i have been on FERS disability and SS for almost 10 years. in sept .2018 i turn 62, how will my FERS and ssdi be recomputed and will I get less money than? thank you

Fri, 03/30/2018 - 17:03 Permalink

In reply to by Douglas (not verified)

Hi Douglas,

Hi Douglas,

Your SSDI converts to retirement benefits with no change.

Tue, 04/03/2018 - 16:50 Permalink
Sherry (not verified)

Question here, I was 3 months

Question here, I was 3 months shy of retirement when I took my FERS medical retirement at $1731 at month that was 2/16 and just got approved for SSDI 2/2018 for $1885. I am going to lose my FERS Disability? do I get to collect both? can I go and reapply for regular retirement since I am over 56?

Mon, 04/02/2018 - 14:48 Permalink

In reply to by Sherry (not verified)

Hi Sherry,

Hi Sherry,

Typically what happens when you collect both FERS and SSDI is the SSDI amount is subtracted from FERS amount so you would still be receiving the same amount that would be received from FERS, just split between SSDI and FERS. Because your SSDI is higher than your FERS, I am not positive what happens. I would contact the Office of Personal Management to get a definitive answer. As for retirement, your SSDI with switch to retirement benefits without any change.

Mon, 04/02/2018 - 16:47 Permalink

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