By Reg Jones
Q. I am a Postal Service employee in maintenance as an electrical technician. I have 23 years of service at age 56. Our office is going through an accelerated plant closing. I received a letter of involuntary reassignment (no date given) in May. There are no ET jobs within 50 miles of our office (limit on excessing under American Postal Workers Union contract). Under the contract, I can be forced into a lower-level job, (window clerk, city carrier, custodian) up to 50 miles away with saved grade and retreat rights. Can I qualify for a discontinued service retirement? If not, what do I need to qualify? I would like to retire without penalty. Otherwise, I need to work until I am age 60. Are there any other options I don’t know about?
Q. I am a permanent career employee who resigned from my position due to my husband’s job relocation. Because of that, I experienced a five-year break in service and returned to federal service to my permanent position. Prior to my resignation, I was under FERS with 17 years of service. I did not receive a refund for my contributions after I resigned. I am currently under FERS. I would like to know if there is any way I can make a retirement deposit for my five-year break in service?
Q. I had just over five years of federal service before resigning and moving out of state. So, I had a break in service. I am now back in the federal service and want to know if the prior years will count toward my retirement. And if I leave the federal system again, will I still get an annuity check at age 62 because I was vested? I did withdraw my Thrift Savings Plan, but I did not get a refund of my FERS retirement deductions. Can I get a refund of my FERS retirement deductions because I had a break in service?
Q. I’m 52 and have almost 34 years of federal service under CSRS. If I were to resign, would my retirement start at age 60? Would health insurance start, as well, at age 60?
Q. I am more than 58 years old and voluntarily resigning from my position with the Veterans Affairs Department. I have 20 years of creditable FERS service and plan to postpone the start of my annuity and my retirement until my 60th birthday. I plan to submit the Form 92-19 two months prior to my 60th birthday, which will be in October 2014. In the interim, I will be obtaining my health insurance through my spouse, but I have plans to regain our family health/life insurance (held less than five years) at the same time I start my annuity, which will be without age reduction because I have 20 years and will be 60 at that time. I am confused about my eligibility for the special retirement supplement between age 60 and 62. I do not think it will be retirement at MRA +10 at that time, but I may be wrong. Please explain what category my postponed annuity/retirement situation falls under.
Q. I have four years of federal service, and I am going to take Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay because it is being offered. I am worried that if I take VSIP and apply for different job after two years, my reinstatement eligibility will be different. In the documentation, they always lump VERA and VSIP re-employment. However, I am 26 years old and would not be receiving a pension. Do you know where documentation is that states re-employment rights when just taking VSIP? How do I know I am not considered a re-employing annuitant? Technically, a payout could be considered an annuity. Since the Office of Personnel Management says the retirement plan and Thrift Savings Plan contributions change with re-employment under VSIP it might not be worth the $4,000 to risk future retirement rights.
I read another post where you said resigning and resigning under VSIP are the same for reinstatement. However, I just want to see where that is documented so I know taking VSIP is the best choice.
Q. I am a FERS civilian employee with 27 years combined military/civilian service. I was placed on indefinite suspension. I waived my right to appeal. I have no intention of returning to federal service, and I would like to know if I can request (and be granted) removal from federal service? Do I have options for separation other than to await the disposition of the matter that caused the suspension?
November 15th, 2013 | annuity reduction Coverage after retirement Deferred retirement Eligibility EMPLOYMENT HEALTH INSURANCE Minimum retirement age MRA + 10 PAY Postal Service Re-enrollment Resignation RETIREMENT Special retirement supplement
Q. I am 49 and was wondering if I can retire at 52 with 20 years of Postal Service time even though my minimum retirement age is 56. If so, could I defer my pension until 60 and collect it then with a 5 percent penalty for each year before 62? Would I be eligible to continue my health benefits and collect the special retirement supplement until age 62 if I were to do that? Or would I have to use my MRA+10 computation to retire? If that is the case, would I then be able to continue my health benefits and receive the special retirement supplement at 56?
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 resigned about 12 years ago as a FERS employee after working for 17 years. My 61st birthday is approaching, and I want to take a deferred annuity with a full survivor benefit. I understand that because I’m retiring one year before I turn 62 I will be penalized 5 percent. I also understand that the cost of a full survivor benefit is 10 percent. I further understand that the survivor benefit is normally 50 percent of the unreduced annuity. And lastly, I understand that if my survivor were to die before me, my annuity would return to its “base amount.” My questions concern how these reductions are to be applied for my situation and how they affect my survivor. To keep this simple, allow me to assume that my gross unreduced annuity is $1,000 monthly.
1. I get that my 5 percent reduction for retiring at 61 instead of 62 would bring my annuity down to $950 monthly, which I believe would then be my “base amount,” but what is my cost for a full survivor benefit: 10 percent of $1,000, or 10 percent of $950?
2. What would be the amount of my survivor annuity: 50 percent of $1,000, or 50 percent of $950?
3. If my choice for a survivor annuity were to predecease me, what would my annuity then increase to: $950 or $1,000?
November 7th, 2013 | Annual leave Creditable service: FERS Deferred retirement EMPLOYMENT FERS annuity computation LEAVE Military service deposits Re-employment Resignation RETIREMENT Retirement date Sick leave
Q. I joined the military Sept. 12, 1978, and retired Oct. 1, 2008, with just over 30 years of active military service (no broken time). I began working for the federal government under FERS on Jan. 4, 2009.
I’ve been told that I can resign after five years of government service (Jan. 3, 2014) and collect retirement benefits from the federal government once I reach the age of 62. Is that correct?
If I have 40 hours of annual leave and 40 hours of sick leave, what is the earliest I can retire? Would it be two weeks prior to Jan. 3? Or one week? And if it is 2 weeks, will I be paid for both weeks or just one week (annual leave)?
Once I reach the age of 62, if I qualify for retirement benefits for my federal service, what will I need to do to begin collecting that benefit?
October 31st, 2013 | Creditable service: FERS DOWNSIZING EMPLOYMENT FEHBP FERS annuity computation HEALTH INSURANCE MRA + 10 Postal Service Postponed retirement Re-enrollment Resignation RETIREMENT Special retirement supplement
Q. Our Postal Service plant is going through a transfer of function. Jobs are being offered out of the area. If I refuse a position, I want to postpone my annuity until age 60 with more than 28 years of service. I have been told by human resources that if I postpone, I will not receive the special retirement supplement. Also, I will not continue Federal Employees Health Benefits during my postponement because of cost out of pocket but restart FEHB once my annuity begins at 60. Is this all possible?
Q. I am a 66-year-old FERS employee with 31 years of service and may be offered Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay in the next few weeks.
1. If I resign to get VSIP instead of retire, will I be eligible for unemployment benefits?
2. What is the timeline for date of departure once a decision is made? Next pay period? 30 days? Negotiable?
Q. My son-in-law is in his early 40s and is thinking about resigning after working full time for approximately 13 years. Is he entitled to any benefits such as health insurance, or partial retirement pay? Would the above answer in any way be altered if he continued to work part time?
Q. I celebrate my 25th anniversary with the federal government in February. At that time, I will be 58½ years old. If I were to resign and postpone my pension until 60 (my minimum retirement age), would I still receive the special retirement supplement when I file for retirement?
Q. My dad is getting ready to retire from the Transportation Security Administration with just over five years of service. He’s under FERS at age 57. Will he be able to continue his health insurance into retirement?
Q. I am a 45-year-old FERS employee with 10 years of service in the federal government and having Federal Employees Health Benefits from when I started, wanting to retire (at 45). Am I eligible for federal health insurance when I reach my minimum retirement age (58)? Or can I retire at 45 and rejoin the federal service (and take FEHB) at 56 or 57 and retire at 58 to get FEHB?
Q. I am a FERS employee and may have to postpone my retirement without suffering the age penalty. I am over 59 with 28 years of service. If I postpone my retirement until age 60 and do not carry the optional insurance that I will have to pay for plus 2 percent, would I still be eligible to restart my Blue Cross/Blue Shield coverage once my retirement begins. It will be almost six months that I will not have coverage. I have been enrolled in an insurance plan throughout my entire career. Also, if I am given separation papers involuntarily because of a transfer of function, could I resign and take an immediate retirement before 60 without penalty and also be eligible for the special retirement supplement?
Q. I work for the Defense Department with 16 years of service. If the rumored next round of Voluntary Early Retirement Authority/Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay occurs (and I should be 57 by then), can I take the VSIP, not pull my FERS retirement contributions and apply for the discontinued service retirement at 62? If yes, does my sick leave still count for calculating the retirement amount? Is giving up the DSR a requirement for VSIP?
Q. I am 47 years old with 20 years in the Postal Service and am planning on separating soon. Will I be eligible to keep with my current insurance? How/where do I find how much more my premium will be? Will I get my 400+ hours of annual leave in a lump sum? How long does that take to process? (I can stay employed longer if the lump sum would still be applied to this year’s income for tax purposes.) Would I be eligible for any pension at age 59½? Would my seven months of unused sick leave count toward it?