Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

Retirement requests and HR inaction

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Q. I recently was hired by the VA National Call Center as a legal administrative specialist after many years of separation from the federal government. I worked as a senior personnel management specialist for three federal agencies in Boston and left in 1986 when my husband was dying. I have been waiting for more than five months for my service computation date and leave category to be adjusted. When I left federal service, we did not have the benefit of computers, but such adjustments were typically made in less than a month for our employees. As I am a senior, having my time properly credited for CSRS retirement and having access to my correct accumulated leave is important. Repeated contacts to our HR liaison are fruitless. I’m laughingly told by management that some people have waiting four years for their leave to be corrected. I will be retired in four years. I have been researching the regulations and cannot find any required timelines for these actions. Is this correct? Do I have any recourse? I am also appalled that employees are told not to contact HR directly at our VA Columbia National Call Center. We are told to submit a request by email to our supervisors.

Some HR issues are none of my supervisor’s business. This is totally inappropriate. Please advise on recourse for this issue also. I tried to access an email the VA’s Office of HR Management but could not find one.

A. There aren’t any required timelines in either law or regulation. I hate having to tell you that you should be patient, but it’s what you’ll have to do.

As for your being told not to contact HR directly, it may be a policy that was adopted to avoid having the specialists there from being bombarded from all sides by individual requests. Regardless of the reason, you shouldn’t feel obliged to go through your supervisor if the matter is confidential.

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Comments

  1. Pat M Says:
    April 30th, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    I had a 7 yr break in service, and was reinstated to a DOD Agency. They mistakenly put me in FERS and used my onboard date as my SCD (I had 25 yrs CSRS). Our HR Liaison was clueless, also. I used an online date calculator, and figured out exactly what my corrected SCD should be. I called the Benefits line, asked for a Retirement Specialist, and worked my way through a couple of them til I got one that was very experienced and knew her stuff. I emailed her and sent electronic (PDF) copies of relevant Form 50′s to support my new SCD and CSRS eligibility. It took a couple of months, but they did get it corrected. You need to make sure you are now in CSRS-Offset and not FERS, too. Block 30 on your Form 50 should say “C” and not “K.” I wouldn’t go through your supervisor, either. It’s not their business. Good luck, I know just how you feel.