By Reg Jones
Q. I am a CSRS employee, 55 years old with 31 years of service. If I receive a voluntary separation incentive payment, is it reduced by six weeks of severance pay I received in 1997? Would my spouse be able to keep FEHB family plan if I die? When I use the advanced retirement calculator it shows 75 percent reduction for basic insurance. Is that automatic? And does FEGLI pay out the same death benefit as currently indicated in my Employee Benefit Information System? Read the rest of this entry »
Q. I retired 20 months ago and received a voluntary separation incentive payment. I can get a non-career part-time job with the U.S. Post Office that has no benefits with it. I retired from an army base public works which is DOD. Will this job effect my VSIP and retirement? Read the rest of this entry »
February 21st, 2014 | Benefits Creditable service: FERS DOWNSIZING Earnings test FERS annuity computation High-3 PAY RETIREMENT service computation date SOCIAL SECURITY Special retirement supplement VERA
Q. I am a FERS employee working for the Department of Agriculture. I have been offered a job outside of the government and am trying to see the pros and cons of leaving. I am a FERS employee with a service computation date of Aug. 17, 1986, and am 46 years old. If I apply for Voluntary Early Retirement Authority, what would the disadvantages or advantages be?
Q. Would I be eligible for a Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay if offered? I am 57 and will have 33 years of service under CSRS in June. I took an NTE position in 2009 that ended in Sept 2011 and was unemployed from Sept. 30, 2011, to June 2012, when I was reinstated. Because I had the break in service — and since that break have been working less than three years continuously, would that make me ineligible for a buyout?
Also, is there a limit on how many times you can be turned down for a VSIP or any recourse after multiple times while others get approved for it?
Q. I noticed you can retire during a reduction in force at below the minimum retirement age with 25 years of service. However, I’ve also read that those people are not entitled to the special retirement supplement since they are below MRA. Can they be paid the supplement once they reach MRA, even though previously retired?
Q. I retired on a Voluntary Early Retirement Authority in January 2013. I turned 56 on Feb. 6. I understand I am eligible for the special retirement supplement. Do I need to notify/contact someone to get this processed? How long before I start receiving this benefit?
Q. My agency is offering Voluntary Early Retirement Authority/Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay. I have been approved for both. However, I have become disabled (chemo damaged my nerves, resulting in severe peripheral neuropathy). I thought I could leave via the early-out option for much needed relief and rest, then file for my federal disability.
My human resources department advised that, per the Office of Personnel Management, if I take the VERA, I cannot file for disability later, e.g. within one year.
I consulted with a lawyer, who specializes in federal disability retirement, and he advised that he has many clients who took the VERA option and later filed for disability within the one year.
February 17th, 2014 | Coverage after retirement Deferred retirement discontinued service retirement DOWNSIZING FEHBP HEALTH INSURANCE Minimum retirement age RETIREMENT separation Special retirement supplement
Q. I am 57 years and two months old. I am most likely going receive a sanction on my nursing license in late April or early May. I have 21 years and three months of service, including three years of military buyback time. I have carried federal health insurance since 1995. If I wait until the probable board sanction and I get terminated, will I still be able to defer retirement until age 60? Will I still be able to continue health insurance at age 60? Or would it be better to retire the day before the stated board of nursing action and avoid termination? Also, if I am terminated do I go to human resources and apply for deferred retirement, or do I do it through the Office of Personnel Management?
Q. I am CSRS with 33 years of service at age 52. I am considering a Voluntary Early Retirement Authority offer and understand the annuity is reduced 2 percent for each year under age 55. Is this a one-time annuity reduction at time of retirement, or is the reduction computed every year against the inflation-adjusted annuity?
Q. If a person qualifies for a buyout, does the position have to qualify for it?
Q. How does the Voluntary Early Retirement Authority work for cost-of-living adjustments and Social Security?
Hypothetical situation: Person retires at age 52 years old with 30 years as a FERS civilian in 2014. S/he does not get any COLAs until age 62 in 2024. If this person’s annuity is $2,000 a month, then their annuity remains the same until age 62. Would his/her annuity be readjusted with COLAs to the year 2024? If the person’s minimum retirement age is 56 in 2018, would COLAs kick in and his annuity be readjusted?
Q. I just received my 30-year pin for government service time worked as a FERS employee. I’ve been considering relocating to Florida and can’t find a government job. If I took a job at a town hall in Florida, would I be able to resign from my current government job and have them keep all my retirement and Thrift Savings Plan on ice until I would have been eligible to retire at age 56 without penalty? If so, would I also be eligible at age 56 for the special retirement supplement, even if I were working for the town, or would I have to retire from the town job to be eligible for the supplement?
The only reason I ask is that after seeing your answer to someone else’s similar question (they only had 20 years vested), part of your answer was: “The only way to reduce or avoid the reduction would be to retire and postpone the receipt of your annuity until a later date.”
Q. I have worked for the Postal Service since 1985. I did not reach career status until January 1994, when I became postmaster in my Level 11 office, so the 8½ years prior do not count, unfortunately. I have worked here my entire career. In September, it will be reduced to a Level 2 and I will not be allowed to stay. I would like to take the Voluntary Early Retirement Authority being offered. Will I be penalized the customary 5 percent per year under 30 years? I am 55 and, as of Jan. 22, have 20 years of career service (this excludes my work prior to 1994). Also, will I be able to take advantage of the special retirement supplement?
Q. Would I be penalized if I am a FERS employee, 49 years old with 26 years of government service. I just got a GS-11 job, so I do not have a high-3 at that level. My high-3 is at the GS-7. My job is offering the Voluntary Early Retirement Authority/Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay. Can I go out with no penalties?
Q. I am 55-year-old postal employee with 27 years of postal service. I have read that a Voluntary Early Retirement Authority will be offered to eligible employees. Would I be eligible for the special retirement supplement? I also have an Equal Employment Opportunity case that has not been adjudicated, how would this affect my case? Would it still go forward?
Q. Is there always a reduction in force after a Voluntary Early Retirement Authority/Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay?
Q. I intend to retire from government civilian service at age 60 under MRA + 10. At the time of my retirement, I will have 15 years of service. Accordingly, as I understand it, I will be eligible to defer or postpone my retirement annuity until age 62, thereby bypassing the age reduction penalty. Would I lose any of my accumulated sick hours (currently 1,200 hours) under either the deferred or postponed retirement programs?
Q. I have reached my MRA+10, and I am considering retiring. Since I am 60, I would like to postpone receipt of my annuity until 62 to avoid the age reduction. I have been told by my servicing HR department, which is not in my agency, that I must resign my position.
I have read the FERS handbook and noted that it recommends one not resign since it could affect survivor benefits should I die before applying for the annuity. Also, I read that the HR department must fill out the SF 3100 and add a remark “Appears to be eligible for immediate MRA+10 retirement annuity.” Also, a remark should be added to indicate if the employee appears to be eligible to continue Federal Employees Health Benefits and Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance coverage.
I would like to pick up my FEGLI when I begin my annuity at 62. My husband is a federal employee and pays for my FEHB and LTC insurance. The HR department seems unwilling to assist me and is just telling me to resign and submit the RI 92-19 60 days before the date I choose to receive the annuity. What is the correct way to separate from federal service in this instance? If it is retirement and not resignation, how does one separate without resigning? Do you have any suggestions on how to get the HR department to assist?
Q. I began working for the Defense Department in 1981. In 1993, I took a Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay. I received severance pay at that time. I came back to work in 1998. My adjusted service computation date is 1987. I have 26 years with DoD, and I am 52. If a Voluntary Early Retirement Authority is offered and I apply, provided I am approved, would I receive severance pay minus the amount I received in 1993 or none at all?
Q. I am a 51-year old FERS employee with 28 years of service. Because of my declining health, I plan to resign and take a deferred retirement. With more than 20 years of service under FERS, I can begin receiving a deferred annuity at age 60. Can I receive a reduced annuity at age 56, my minimum retirement age? If so, will the reduction be 20 percent or 30 percent? In other words, will I be penalized 20 percent (5 percent per year for four years) between the ages of 56 and 60, or 30 percent for the six years between the ages of 56 and 62?