Weighing the benefits, coming out equal

FCW.com's Ask Milt column responds to questions about disability retirement, health benefits and equal employment

A Reader Writes:

I have both Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) time. I just turned 65 this year and would like to work longer, but I have been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and will not be able to continue.

Is there a disability retirement associated with an illness of this type, or doesn't it matter how I retire? I have more than 1,000 hours of sick leave. Is there any way that I can take this?

Milt Replies:

Disability retirement is designed to enable someone to retire who would not otherwise be eligible. In your case, it would appear that you are eligible to retire. Now, it may be that a disability retirement would yield a higher benefit amount because it's figured differently.

So, when you file for retirement benefits, ask your human resources adviser to run a separate disability calculation. If that comes out higher, you'll be advised how to file for a disability retirement.

A Reader Writes:

My wife is CSRS and I am FERS. We will be retiring in the next five years. Which one of us should carry our health insurance?

Milt Replies:

You'd probably be better off if each of you carries your individual Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) coverage into retirement, assuming you each are currently insured under FEHB.

A Reader Writes:

Who can I contact concerning an insane process of investigation and determination of my claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)? I have experienced inconsistencies in process, follow-through and instruction.

I received hostility from supervisors and investigators when they were asked what methods were used to investigate my claim. Who can I turn to?

The assistant director forwarded my last call back to the people I was calling him about, which resulted in a phone call from my supervisor who is, in my opinion, a bully.

Milt Replies:

If your agency equal employment opportunity office or the EEOC itself isn't responding to your complaints, you can go to the Merit System Protection Board or the courts. If you go this route, I suggest you retain an attorney who knows EEOC law.

Zall is a retired federal employee who since 1987 has written the Bureaucratus column for Federal Computer Week. He can be reached at milt.zall@verizon.net.

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