Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

When will annuity payments begin?

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Q. I plan on retiring on June 28, 2014. When should I expect my first annuity payment?

A. I can’t tell you that. What I can tell you is that you would be on the annuity roll in July, with your first month’s annuity payable on Aug. 1. Depending on much time it takes your agency to get your paperwork to OPM, you might not see your first interim payment until September. When your annuity is finalized, you’ll receive any additional money you should have received but didn’t.

Credit for military service in FERS retirement

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Q. I am a carrier with the USPS and recently paid back 14 years of active-duty military service toward my FERS retirement. I will be eligible for a Guard/reservist retirement at age 60. If I retire at age 62 from FERS and am applying the 14 years I bought back toward my annuity computation at that time, does it mean I have to waive my military retirement I will have been receiving since age 60? If so, to get two retirements I would only be using my Postal Service time for computation. Did I waste my time buying back the 14 years since I can only apply them toward one retirement? If this is true, can I still get the money back? Read the rest of this entry »

Minimum retirement age stipulations

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Q. I got out of the Coast Guard (honorable discharge if that matters) with 14 years of active-duty service. I worked for the Transportation Security Administration for eight months before settling into a position with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, where I bought my military time back. Can I combine my military time with my federal time to meet my minimum retirement age?  Read the rest of this entry »

Creditable civilian service

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Q. I am 65 and have been working for federal government (FERS system) since June 7, 2010. I also bought back three years of military service during the first four months I was working for federal government. I have a service comp date of 6/14/2007.  I want to retire, but when I called the Army Benefits Center, they said that I needed five years of creditable civilian service and that the three years I bought back did not go toward the five-year creditable civilian service. The Office of Personnel Management and other areas state that Military buyback time goes toward creditable service towards FERS. Will my military buyback service of three years go toward the five-year requirement to receive immediate benefits?   Read the rest of this entry »

Survivor annuity election

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Q. I will be retiring the end of May. My wife and I are both federal employees, and she will continue to work for another year and a half.  We are both FERS employees. We’re on the fence regarding a spousal annuity. If I were to leave her a full spousal annuity, would I be able to change that to a partial at a later date?  Read the rest of this entry »

Earned years toward retirement

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Q. I am a federal employee with the VAMC. My appointment is Excepted without time limit. I am currently a GS-8 supervisor with one year in my current position. I have been with the VA since August 2010. I also bought back my military time (4 years). My Service Comp Date is 07/2006. My husband was put on orders to Ft. Leavenworth for school from 06/2014-07/2015. My question is: If I have a break in service where I do not work for the federal government will I:
1) lose my earned years toward retirement?
2) will I lose my earned GS level for reemployment with the government?
3) would I lose my years that I bought back from the military?

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Social Security spousal benefit

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Q. I am 60 years old with a USPS pension (CSRS). I have earned 40 credits with side jobs to collect Social Security at age 62. My wife is 56. Can I get Social Security using her work record to increase what I get? Mine is $330/month before WEP. Please let me know the best scenario for me. Read the rest of this entry »

FERS and medical retirement

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Q. I am 67 years old and still working Civil Service with the Air Force. I was not planning on retiring anytime soon, but I fell at work, completely tore up my shoulder and will have to undergo reverse total shoulder replacement. I have been told this is a “career ender” and that I will be medically retired. I have been paying into FERS for 30+ years. I am drawing an allotment from the VA for Agent Orange diabetes mellitus. How do medical retirement and FERS and VA allotment work together? Read the rest of this entry »

Retirement annuity after job switch

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Q. I have recently retired from an air traffic controller job, collecting a retirement annuity from the government. I am 55 years old and was wondering if I can now get a job with another government agency (Homeland Security) and still retain my retirement annuity. Is there anything written about this, and where would I find it?

A. Whether you can get a job with another agency is up to them. As a rule, your new salary would be offset by the amount of your annuity. However, there are limited authorities that allow an annuitant to receive both his annuity and his full salary. Before you accept a job, you’ll have to be sure which rule applies. If you find a position that allows you to receive both, when you retire again, your annuity won’t be recomputed to include that new period of service.

Switching family health coverage

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Q. I am a retired USPS employee. Presently, I am enrolled with BCBS with self and family option. My wife wants to get Medicare Part B and cease to be enrolled with my FEHBP. Can my wife re-enroll with my plan if she decides to do so later on? Read the rest of this entry »

Unpaid non-deposit

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Q. A friend is in her 48th year of federal service and has not, to date, paid the non-deposit for her first three years of employment. Once she passed 41 yrs 11 months of federal employment, a deduction for the non-deposit began to be deducted from her check. Is this the usual protocol in this situation? Will she be able to repay her non-deposit before she retires, now that this has happened? Read the rest of this entry »

Tricare and FEHB benefits

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Q. I retired from the Army in 2011 and have been working as a contractor since then. I have just accepted a GS position. I have Tricare (retired) now. Does my new position have the option of Tricare or is that just a military thing? If not, then should I ditch the Tricare for the FEHB? Any advantages/disadvantages either way? Read the rest of this entry »

FERS supplement after MRA

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Q. I retired at 52 under FERS as a law enforcement agent after 27 years of federal service. I immediately began my second career working outside federal government.  My monthly annuity includes the FERS supplement. I reached my minimum retirement age of 56 last month, but the supplement is still included in my monthly annuity.  I make more than the “needs tested” amount annually but am still receiving the FERS supplement.

Should the FERS Supplement disappear the month following your MRA birth month? Is it removed by OPM automatically, or does OPM continue to pay the supplement? How exactly is the FERS supplement needs tested? Is it incumbent upon me to notify OPM? How does this work? I don’t want to collect the payment if I’m not eligible, and I certainly don’t want to be surprised with a bill from OPM for these payments at the end of the year.  Read the rest of this entry »

Social Security benefits for military service

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Q. How could I find out if I am getting military benefits from Social Security? I was in the military from 1960 through 1964 and began receiving Social Security benefits in 2004.

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CSRS deferred retirement

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Q. I was eligible for subject retirement at age 62 on Feb. 19, 2012, but I didn’t apply for it and am now applying at age 65. What will happen to the annuity I could have taken during the three years I was eligible but did not apply for? Read the rest of this entry »

Reserve time and federal civilian buyback

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Q. I have severed in the Air Force Reserves for 10 years. I have about three to four years of active duty time during that time in the reserves due to deployments and working extra days on military orders. If I buy back that time for my federal civilian position, how will that affect my retirement with the reserves should I go back in for my last 10 years in the reserves? Read the rest of this entry »

Air Reserve retirement

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Q. I’m an Air Reserve Technician with 33 years service. If I was to lose my military position due to no fault of my own, (ex. fitness) would I be able to retire and receive my supplement?

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Lump sum rate for unused annual leave

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Q. I have a question about determination of the amount I will be paid for unused annual leave. I was in a temporary promotion to DB-04 (GS-14 equivalent) NTE July 24, 2014. If I retire July 31, 2014, will I be paid for annual leave at the salary rate of the GS-14? Read the rest of this entry »

Texas unemployment eligibility and FERS retirement

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Q. I retired as a FERS employee in 1999 with 26 years of service.  I was 48 years old.  I returned to work full time in the private sector February 2007.  I was laid off 02/28/14 due to downsizing in the company.

Texas is the only state I have worked in.  Am I eligible for Texas unemployment benefits?  I am still able to work. Read the rest of this entry »

CSRS annuity calculation and FERS

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Q. I switched from CSRS to FERS with about 10 years in CSRS and 25.5 yrs in FERS. When my service in CSRS is calculated, my total service, including 918 hours of frozen sick leave, equals 10 years 2 months and 17 days.  Is there any way to apply the 17 days to either credit service in CSRS or even FERS (17 days in CSRS is worth more than 34 days in FERS) or do I just lose the 17 days? Read the rest of this entry »