By Reg Jones
December 4th, 2013 | Creditable service: FERS discontinued service retirement DOWNSIZING FERS annuity computation Minimum retirement age Reductions in force RETIREMENT Special retirement supplement VERA
Q. I am a FERS employee. If my command is offering a Voluntary Early Retirement Authority and I retire at the any age and 25 years of service (I am 47 years old and have more than 25 years of service):
1. Will I get my special retirement supplement along with my retirement pay? Or will I not be entitled to the supplement?
2. If my command has a reduction in force instead, will I be able to get my severance pay plus voluntary retirement with my retirement plus the supplement until my MRA?
Q. I was removed from the Postal Service for nonperformance four months ago after a reassignment due to a reduction in force and 24 years of service. I had also applied for disability retirement after being assigned to that job and was just waiting for approval. A package for severance pay was offered to those of us affected by the RIF if termination was necessary. My disability application was recently approved, and I’m so relieved. What about that four months of agony, though? I was really depressed and wondering if that was how my career would end. I really wanted that reassignment to work out or I never would have settled for that job, and I would have taken the severance deal. Will that severance pay be calculated into my annuity by the Office of Personnel Management? It’s not my fault that health conditions would not allow me to do the reassignment.
Q. I am a GS-11 with the Department of the Air Force. My service computation date is July 2007. I was just notified that I may lose my position to another GS-11 whose position falls under a reduction in force. The issue I have is this employ was offered a GS-09 position which is sitting vacant in my section, which he declined to take. So I am now losing my position and am being told I will be moved into the GS-09 position while the RIF’ed employee takes my position. This makes me think I don’t have to take the bump to the GS-09 and can take someone else’s position and knock them down to the GS-09 position. I am an 0080 but was an 0083 prior to this. There is an 0083 GS-11 position with a service computation date of 2009 which I would like to take instead. Am I eligible to bump that position and take it? Is that an option?
Q. My agency sent out a Voluntary Early Retirement Authority/Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay form to inquire about interest. Some got it, while others did not. It seemed only personnel going anyway got the buyout. I was told the reason I did not get it was I did not qualify. At the time, I was 54 and had 21 years of service. Does this VERA/VSIP constitute a reduction in force or restructuring? If so, why would I not qualify?
Q. Next November (2014), I will have 20 years of civil service but will not be the minimum retirement age; I will be 54. If there is a reduction in force next year, could the minimum age requirement be waived? I am retired military with 15 years (early retirement in 1994). I fall under FERS.
Q. I am a career employee with just over three years of civil service. I bought back 10 years of military service. If I am affected by a reduction in force before I reach five years of civil service, would I still be eligible for a deferred annuity when I’m 60? If I don’t qualify for FERS, does that mean I wasted the money spent for the military buyback?
Q. I am a Department of Army employee covered FERS and not under law enforcement, which has a mandatory retirement age. I am 57 years old, a career employee, a 10 percent disabled veteran with 38 years of service. I have also had top block ratings in all of my previous five ratings. My plan was to stay until age 62 because provisions under FERS for retiring after 62/20 years of service will maximize my benefits.
I am being told by management officials that I am going to be forced to retire because I would cause younger workers to be RIF’d from federal civil service. Most to the younger workers that I would RIF are retired Army lieutenant colonels and colonels who are already receiving more in military retirement than I would receive at 62.
Are there any provisions that allow for agency forced retirement of federal civil servants as part of an agency restructuring? I am aware of Voluntary Early Retirement Authority/Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay and discontinued service retirements, but I am at the top of my retention register and would bump military retirees out of jobs since we all perform essentially the same functions.
When it comes to retirement, planning is everything.
If possible, it should begin at least one year ahead of the date you have set to retire. However, events can conspire to force a quick retirement decision, such as the offer of a “buyout” or a RIF. In those cases, use whatever time you have to plan ahead. Even a little time, wisely spent, can produce a big payoff.
Here’s a checklist for you to follow:
* Sign up for a preretirement counseling seminar at your agency. If your organization doesn’t have one at a convenient time (or offer one at all), consider enrolling in one offered by an outside firm. In some cases, your agency will pay for the course.
* Set up a meeting with an agency benefits counselor to go through your Official Personnel Folder and make sure it includes complete documentation of all of your federal employment (including any military service), the effective dates of each adjustment to your pay, and records of your health benefits and life insurance coverage, plus any designations of beneficiaries you may have filed.
* Verify when you will be eligible to retire and whether you will be able to carry your health and life insurance into retirement.
* Ask for an estimate of your retirement annuity. If you owe any deposits or redeposits to the retirement system, find out the effect on your annuity of making or not making them. If you decide that it’s worth it to make a deposit or redeposit, ask your counselor to show you how to do that.
* Ask for two copies of the necessary retirement forms. Fill one out for your benefits counselor and one for yourself. Your benefits counselor will review the forms and contact you to clear up any questions or problems that may arise.
Once the paperwork is done and you’ve confirmed your retirement date, you can relax.
Q. Why are dual-status technicians forced out by the action of military nonretaining by a commander? If an individual has 25 years in and this action is taken, is this not a form of age discrimination? My unit is going through a reduction in force and there is rumor this is what is going to happen to technicians who are 50 with 25 years or 25 years any service to cut back on full-time manning. Why would a career dual-technician be forced out because of serving their country?
Q. I have over 14 years of civil service. I’m retired military (20 years). I’m almost 58 years old. I fall under FERS.
A while back, an email came down asking who would be interested in Voluntary Early Retirement Authority/Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay. I replied in the affirmative.
If they offer VERA/VSIP, my supervisor says he would not approve it for me, as he cannot afford to lose the position.
My plan was to retire at 60, but if they offered VERA/VSIP, I would go earlier. With talk of reductions in force being thrown into the mix, I’m concerned what course would be most beneficial for me. If RIF is enforced or if VERA/VSIP is offered, do they waive the 5 percent-per-year penalties for early retirement?
How do I find out how much penalty I would incur if they do not waive them? Should I buy back my military time? Keep it separate? Stay until 60?
Q. I am going on 42 with 23 years of federal service. I would like to know if I would qualify for anything if a reduction in force were to take place. I see the computation charts show any age but you need 25 years. I don’t have 25 yet, so would that mean I wouldn’t be eligible for buyouts or anything until then?
Q. Are there any differences between a FERS early retirement and an immediate retirement? During a reduction in force, can you retire before your minimum retirement age for both under early retirement and immediate retirement? For example, can you retire at age 53 with 30 years in FERS without any age reduction penalties to your annuity under both early retirement and immediate retirement? Which type of retirement is more appropriate for the previous example?
Q. I am a level 13 postmaster who will receive a reduction-in-force notice in June 2014. My position as EAS 13 Postmaster will be demoted to an EP-55 Part-time Career employee. My plans were to take the RIF in June and leave in September 2014.
I am 51 years old and have been a federal employee since 1983. I was counting on leaving under the discontinued service retirement in June. However, now that they have offered this Voluntary Early Retirement Authority even though it offers no incentive, should I take the “safe” out now or wait until the RIF next June? (I am aware that I will take a 2 percent-per-year reduction for each year I retire under the age of 55.)
Q. As a government civilian, you have the benefit to carry your Federal Employees Health Benefits into retirement provided you:
1. Are eligible to receive an immediate annuity.
2. Are insured on the date of retirement (or covered as a family member under the FEHB program), and
3. Have been covered for the five years of service immediately preceding retirement or since your first opportunity to enroll.
The decision to accept a reduction in force and move to unemployment is one option, but would you lose the right to carry FEHB into retirement because your were separated by the RIF. If you retire, you only need Medicare Part A as Part B is waived (do not have to pay the premium) because you can carry the FEHB medical with you. So is it true that if you want to carry the FEHB, you have to retire not accept the RIF?
Q. I am 55 with almost 10 years in FERS and 31 years military, for which I haven’t made a deposit. If a reduction in force happens, would I be eligible for a buyout or severance pay?
Q. I am a GS-9 and filling a GS-7 position that has not been filled. I have been informed that due to the agency downsizing, my GS-9 position will be eliminated. What are my options? Am I entitled to a GS-9 save-pay if I am offered the GS-7 position?
Q. I’m a 15-year employee with an excepted service position that has been abolished through a reduction in force. I have always had above and beyond evaluations for my 15 years of employment. Do I not have any rights to retention of employment? Following Office of Personnel Management laws, I would say yes. But I read that excepted service has the option to follow no procedure/policies on RIF. Keep in mind I hold an administrative/data entry position within the courts and therefore not appointed when a new administration moves into the White House.
Q. I am a 53-year-old federal employee with 28 years of service. If I am downsized or affected by a reduction in force, what is the age when I can collect my annuity? As importantly, I have been told by a federal certified retirement planner that because I am over 50 and have more than 25 years of service, when I become eligible to collect my annuity, I may also rejoin the Federal Employees Health Benefits program. Can you confirm that?
Q. I am 56 with eight years of service. With a reduction in force, would I qualify for a deferred annuity at 62? If so, is the formula still .01 percent of high-3 x eight years? Also, what about my health insurance? Would this be lost, or could I reapply at 62?
Q. If I am RIF’ed under FERS with 24 years of service at age 58 in September 2014, am I going to be penalized 5 percent per year on my annuity for being under 62 years old, or is there no penalty? I am an EAS employee with the Postal Service.