Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

Service separation bonus and annuity computation

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Q. I have 14 years and 8 months of active Army service. In 1993, when Regan was initiating draw down of troops and instituted SSB (Service Separation Bonus),
I received a Service Separation Bonus in 1993′s drawdown of $40,000 before taxes and separated from the Army in Sept. 1993. In June 1995, I entered the federal service as a full time Civilian Government Employee working for the Army Material Command where I work today. At the end of this month, I will have 18 years and 9 months as a federal government worker. I am currently 56 years old.

Would it be more beneficial to add my active military service time to my federal government service time in order to receive a higher pension upon retirement? And if so, will I have to “pay back” the SSB I received in 1993? In general, my annuity would be based on the following formula: .01 x (your high-3) x (your years and full months of service). If I use this formula, then I would require a deposit, correct? Read the rest of this entry »

Retiring under MRA

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Q. I am 52 with 31 years of FERS service. If I retire now, would I still get the special retirement supplement when I turn 56?  Or is that only if I were offered a voluntary retirement?  Can I get my retirement now? What is the penalty given my age and years of service? Read the rest of this entry »

Disability and buyout retirement

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Q. I received an “early-out/buyout” in 2005 with 24 years (FERS) of service prior to my minimum retirement age. I was age 46 at the time. I am currently receiving social security disability income. Will I be eligible to receive a FERS annuity once I reach my minimum retirement age (MRA)? Will I still be able to collect social security disability income? Or if when I reach my MRA, can I collect the FERS Special Supplement and the social security disability income?

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VERA/VISP offered in 2014?

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Q. Is a VERA/VISP going to be offered in 2014?
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Temp time buy back

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Q. I was a federal temporary worker for GSA from 1985 to 1994. Our agency is now shutting down on Sept. 30 and I bought back my temp time until 1988. From then on, I cannot buy my time back. Since we are closing, is it possible to buy back my other years? This is through no fault of my own and five more years would surely help as I didn’t pay into the Thrift Savings Plan in my temp time. Read the rest of this entry »

Rehired after FERS discontinued service retirement

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Q. Due to BRAC, I am now a full time rehired annuitant. What is the “special retirement supplement” received after 30 years? In December 2014, I’ll have 30 years federal service, Army DOD. I’ll be 62 in February 2015. Will there be changes in the annuity due to coming of age to accept or reject low social security. Could you clarify?
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Conditions of new federal position

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Q. I worked from 4/1987 through 8/1998 as an Architect/Engineer SR with the USPS. I resigned with a good record. I have a form 50 that states my service which I submitted when I applied. I recently was hired to a new position.

I cannot get a clear understanding about my retirement, my vesting and if I have a probationary period and how long it is. I was not reinstated. I was FERS, and I never took my basic .8 contribution out. I did transfer my Thrift Savings Plan to a private brokerage account. They used the .8 to continue my FERS plus gave me the service time as far as leave goes (six hours/pay period).

1. How is my retirement calculated? What age can I retire? I am 57 now.

2. How long before I can be considered a vested federal employee with competitive rights to apply for another position?

3. How much service time do I have according to the VA? My personnel record has it like I am starting over.

4. Do I have a probationary period, and how long is it? Read the rest of this entry »

FERS rehired annuitant and VERA/VSIP

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Q. I am a discontinued service rehired annuitant. I worked at a U.S. Army post and was phased out during a base closure and realignment in 2011. I received priority placement in 2012 at a nearby Army post and was rehired. I’ve been here almost two years. VERA/VSIP is now being offered with a $25,000 buyout. I have the age and years in. I’m not interested in leaving yet; but as a FERS rehired annuitant, would I be eligible for the VERA/VSIP $25,000 buyout presently being offered? Read the rest of this entry »

Possible RIF’s effects on workers

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Q. I work at an airport as an air traffic controller for the FAA. The airport is not very busy with commercial traffic, and I am curious what the FAA would do with me if they shut down the air traffic control tower where I work at because of inactivity. If there were a reduction in force for air traffic controllers in the FAA, would they base it on our service computation date? Read the rest of this entry »

VSIP and insurance for retirement

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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 »

Government employment after VSIP

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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 »

VERA pros and cons

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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?

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NTE position and VSIP eligibility

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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?

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Retirement during a RIF

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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?

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Special retirement supplement

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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?

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VERA and disability retirement

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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.

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Involuntary separation, health insurance and deferred retirement

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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?

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VERA and one-time annuity reduction

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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?

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Buyout eligibility

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Q. If a person qualifies for a buyout, does the position have to qualify for it?

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VERA and COLA

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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?

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