Posts in:September, 2017

Social Security Disability vs. FERS/CSRS Benefits

Posted September 8, 2017 by Premier Disability Services, LLC®

While no one likes to think about the prospect of becoming disabled, it is important to understand disability coverage under the civil service retirement programs as well as under the Social Security program. The civil service and Social Security disability programs have been integrated to an extent. This means that those who become disabled may not receive full benefits under more than one system, and that they must be careful to protect their rights under each. In fact, employees under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) and Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) Offset (a form of CSRS that includes Social Security, unlike standard CSRS) must apply to Social Security when they apply for federal retirement disability in order to assure that the benefits are coordinated.

Employees who become disabled during the course of their federal career may be entitled to a disability annuity. Under CSRS/CSRS-Offset, they must have completed at least five years of federal civilian service; under FERS, only 18 months. Also, while employed in a position covered by either CSRS/CSRS-Offset or FERS, they must have become disabled for “useful and efficient service” in both their current position and any other vacant position at the same grade or pay level for which qualified.

“Useful and efficient service” means: either acceptable performance of the critical or essential elements of the position or the ability to perform at that level; and ability to maintain satisfactory conduct and attendance. Conversely, service that is not “useful or efficient” is a level of performance or attendance which, if it were to continue, would warrant denial of a within-grade increase, demotion or other remedial action.

Under Social Security, the rules for what it means to be disabled are stricter and more complicated. The fact that you qualify for benefits from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) does not necessarily mean that you will be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits.

If you or someone you know if interested in filing a claim for Social Security Disability benefits, please contact us for a free case evaluation!

Source: http://www.fedweek.com/retirement-financial-planning/federal-social-security-disability-benefits-affect/

By: Joyce Trudeau of Premier Disability Services, LLC®

Some Social Security Offices Closed Due to Hurricane Harvey

Posted September 1, 2017 by Premier Disability Services, LLC®

Hurricane Harvey has devastated much of southeastern Texas, leading to the temporary closure of many SSA (Social Security Administration) and ODAR (Office of Disability Adjudication and Review) local offices. The San Antonio South office has even been closed indefinitely. Forecasters expect strong winds, heavy rain, flooding, and power outages to continue in both Texas and Louisiana.

Acting Commissioner Nancy A. Berryhill released the following message to all SSA and DDS employees on Monday, August 28, 2017:

Subject: Our Thoughts Are With Texas

 As we experienced over the last few days the absolute devastation of Hurricane Harvey, we are pleased to report that all SSA and DDS employees in Texas and Louisiana are safe and accounted for, though many sustained property damage and have evacuated from their homes.

 Please keep those affected by the flooding in your thoughts and prayers as this storm continues.  We will provide additional information as it emerges.

 Nancy A. Berryhill

Acting Commissioner

Our thoughts are with the people of Texas at Premier Disability Services as well. Please reference the following links for more information.

– Information on office closing and emergencies: https://www.ssa.gov/agency/emergency/. If your office is closed, be aware that many services are available online or over the telephone.

– Information about payments for current beneficiaries: https://www.ssa.gov/news/#/post/8-2017-6.

– Apply for shelter assistance and other disaster aid here: https://www.fema.gov/hurricane-harvey.

As always, please feel free to contact us if you are interested in applying for Social Security Disability benefits, or if you are looking for representation on a pending claim.

By: Thomas A. Klint of Premier Disability Services, LLC®