Office Of Personnel Management v. Richmond

496 U.S. 414 (1990)


Richmond (P) was retired under a disability for vision impairment as a welder at the Navy Public Works Center. Provisions of retirement disability rendered a party ineligible for the disability annuity if actual income equaled at least 80% for two consecutive calendar years of the current rate of pay of the position occupied immediately before retirement. That provision was amended in 1982 with the measuring period changed to one year instead of two. P undertook part-time employment as a school bus driver and earned monies that were under the 80% limit. In 1986, he worked overtime and earned extra money and asked the Employee Relations Specialist for information about how much he could earn without exceeding the 80% limit. The specialist gave P the wrong advice by relying on the pre-1982 statute; this was confirmed by form writing. P worked the overtime and exceeded the 80% limit, and his disability annuity was discontinued in 1987. The annuity was restored in 1988, as P did not earn more than allowed by statute. D lost benefits for six months for a total of $3,993. The MSPB board rejected P’s contention that the government should be held responsible because it misinformed P. The Court of Appeals ordered the government to pay the money holding that the misinformation from Navy personnel estopped the Government and thus entitled P to payment of the benefits.