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DI worth it for a VA physician?

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  • DI worth it for a VA physician?

    Can anyone comment on disability retirement (FERS) for VA physicians and wehther it is cost effective to buy own occupation individual policy?   

    Eligibility Requirements

    You must meet all of the following conditions to be eligible for disability retirement:

    • You must have completed at least 18 months of Federal civilian service which is creditable under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS).

    • You must, while employed in a position subject to the retirement system, have become disabled, because of disease or injury, for useful and efficient service in your current position.

    • The disability must be expected to last at least one year.

    • Your agency must certify that it is unable to accommodate your disabling medical condition in your present position and that it has considered you for any vacant position in the same agency at the same grade or pay level, within the same commuting area, for which you are qualified for reassignment.

    • You, or your guardian or other interested person, must apply before your separation from service or within one year thereafter. The application must be received by either OPM or your former employing agency within one year of the date of your separation. This time limit can be waived only if you were mentally incompetent on the date of separation or within one year of this date.

    • You must apply for social security disability benefits. Application for disability retirement under FERS requires an application for social security benefits. If the application for social security disability benefits is withdrawn for any reason, OPM will dismiss the FERS disability retirement application upon notification by the Social Security Administration.

    Amount: 40% of your high-3 average salary minus 60% of your Social Security benefit for any month in which you are entitled to Social Security disability benefits.      It is obviously not true own-occupation and the payout would be taxed.

  • #2

    I would be reluctant to have a plan that kicks in at a year, gets taxed and only returns 40%. I'm not sure what the social security benefit would be.

    You may find yourself wanting to change employment in the future. If you have accumulated any medical illnesses during your VA employment the chance of being uninsurable will go up and you may not be able to get any affordable insurance at all.

    Maybe an own occupation policy with a rider to increase benefits if you change jobs?


    • #3

      It sounds like a very generic disability plan that is included with your employment at the VA, and one that costs you nothing. Two pithy expressions come to mind:

      1. You get what you pay for.

      2. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.

      If it were me, early in my career, I would add an individual policy, but I might opt for a little less coverage because of the VA disability benefit. Or you could take the approach that it has no value and buy maximum coverage in an individual policy. You could make the argument for either.

      It would be interesting to get the perspective of docs who were disabled while working at a VA, but it might be hard to track them down.


      • #4

        It is a pretty weak definition without a doubt.  We have had several clients that had both an individual policy through us and were VA physicians with FERS benefits, come the 2nd year of claim when the benefits are chiseled down to 40% minus other benefit offsets, taxed and being forced to work any job in the system they think is reasonable certainly did not bring out the warm and fuzzy feelings.

        Scott Nelson-Archer, CLU, ChFC
        281-770-8080 Direct / [email protected]


        • #5

          14 years in VA -- kept my personal DI --  the thought of doing C+P Exams for the duration was enough incentive for me to keep own DI.  


          • #6

            14 years in VA — kept my personal DI —  the thought of doing C+P Exams for the duration was enough incentive for me to keep own DI.  

            Click to expand...

            Somebody has to do a good job with the compensation and pension examinations.

            That said, I'd keep the individual disability insurance until achieving financial independence.


            • #7
              My thoughts are same as everyone else's.  Just get IDI.  Pretty weak definition.  I didn't think there was DI there b/c i coudln't find it when I was there.