Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS)

Unfortunately, you have been severely injured or suffer from a debilitating illness and find yourself in need of taking advantage of the CSRS Disability Retirement benefits you have been paying for during your term as a postal or federal worker.

But you likely have questions about exactly how comprehensive your CSRS Disability benefits will be.

We have together this brief guide to understanding your Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) Disability Retirement benefits, but invite you contact us with any questions or to schedule a FREE consultation.

Where do CSRS Disability Retirement Benefits come from?

The Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) pays disability benefits to federal employees who become disabled after completing a minimum of 5 years of federal civilian service.

Do I also need to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Benefits?

No, CSRS employees do not have to apply for SSD!

How will my CSRS benefits be calculated?

There is a minimum guaranteed disability retirement annuity for employees covered under CSRS which is based on the lesser of the following:

  1. 40% of your “high-three*” average salary; and
  2. A computed amount under the general formula based on years of actual service plus remaining years to age sixty.

*High-three average salary is the highest average annual pay you received during any three consecutive years of service, including shift rates, night shift differential and within- grade increases. It does not include payments for overtime, bonuses, etc.

If you have 22 or more years of creditable federal service but less than 22 years of actual service, you will receive 40% of your high-three average salary; more than 22 years of actual federal service means benefits totaling more than 40% of your high-three average salary; and less than 22 years of creditable federal service, equates to less than 40% of your high three average salary.

The general formula based on years of actual service plus remaining years to age 60 is as follows:

  • Take 1.50% of your high-three average salary and multiply the result by your years of service up to 5 years;
  • Add 1.75% of your high- three average salary and multiply the result by all your years of service over 5 years up to 10 years; and add 2% of your high- three average salary multiplied by all service over ten years.

Upon receiving notification of approval of benefits from CSRS, the effective date of payment of a federal or postal employee’s disability annuity benefit begins either on the first day of the month after separation from the service; or the day after pay ceases and the disability requirements are met, whichever comes first.

Although your payments cannot start until your official separation from your position, it will be retroactive to the last day in pay status (LDIP).  Thus, the annuity will retroactively cover any final period of leave without pay.  The LDIP includes pay for work or leave, including sick leave, annual leave, administrative leave, donated leave or any other paid leave.  Back benefits can be substantial for workers who have been on leave without pay (LWOP) for a significant period of time prior to their application for disability retirement being approved.

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