By Reg Jones
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. A good friend of mine was recently fired/released from duty because he did not meet the stringent medical standards of the Pentagon Police Department. We fall under the Pentagon Force Protection Agency. He has failed several hearing tests over the past two years. His conversational hearing is fine, but he fails the low- or high-frequency portion of the rigid test. His own doctor has tested him and says he is perfectly fine for duty. But the agency did not accept the second opinion.
And one of his main concerns is that he was hired three years ago with the same hearing loss that he currently has. He is going through a lot of financial difficulty and personal trouble because of this situation. The agency has offered him a new administrative position but at a substantial pay reduction. Is he entitled to any compensation? Would hiring a lawyer be wise (although he can’t afford one right now)?
Q. I plan to leave my federal civilian position soon but would like to use all of my accrued annual leave at once (I have about 380 hours) and leave on the last day. Do I have a right to make this request for leave? Does it require supervisory approval?
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 am a GS-15 with eight years of service. My entire office (including my senior manager) is on furlough. After the start of the furlough, I was offered and accepted a position in the private sector. My new employer understands the holding pattern federal employees are in and is being flexible on my start date in the new position. How do I resign during the furlough? Whom do I contact if I am prohibited from using my access to my federal information technology resources? Is there any advantage to waiting until the end of the furlough?
Q. I am age 66 in a Level 13 office as postmaster. My retirement date on Form 50 is Jan. 21, 2014, with 20 years of service. If I do nothing, I will be separated Sept. 30, 2014, with no problems. I don’t want to be offered a position which I won’t take and leave the post office with nothing.
Q. I worked 20 years and one day with the Postal Service, stopping work in 2007. I worked a private job from 2007 through 2012. I have suffered leukemia since 1996. It became severe in 2012, which stopped my work. I am applying to Social Security to include my disability that is killing my mind function and limiting my life expectancy. I am 49 years old. If Social Security disability is awarded, what is available through FERS and how should I proceed?
Q. I was involuntarily separated by base closure and realignment in 1996 with 11 years of service. My minimum retirement age is 56. Can I begin my annuity at age 56 with a penalty?
Q. I have been with the Postal Service for 24 years, and I have an action for removal for nonperformance looming over me and a pending disability retirement application with the Office of Personnel Management. If I get terminated before OPM makes its decision, will that guarantee approval of disability retirement? What about insurance? If I get terminated, can I make some kind of arrangements to keep my health and life insurance? I must keep my health insurance with this medical condition and my family. I also need to hold on to my life insurance since my history is blotted.
Q. I was separated (resign or be fired) from the federal government in 2007 after more than 21 years of service. Twenty of those years were under FERS and the remainder were under CSRS. I was involuntarily converted to FERS in 1987. During 2007, I was not eligible for the MRA+10 retirement, but now I meet the requirements. I understand that I am eligible for an unreduced annuity at age 60. Can I wait until age 62 to receive a higher benefit amount? Do I get any credit for contributing to CSRS for one full year? How many months before I am eligible for any type of benefits from the Office of Personnel Management? Should I apply?
Q. I am receiving a FERS disability retirement. I have 23 years of service (not counting time on disability) and will turn 50 in the coming months. I was on agency rolls until the award of my disability retirement, and then my agency separated me from service. If my disability annuity is terminated by the Office of Personnel Management, would I be considered involuntarily separated from federal service for purposes of qualifying for discontinued service retirement?
Q. I am 46 years old with 22 years in a 6(c) covered position. My agency removed me for failing to maintain my TS clearance (not for cause), which I continue to appeal via Merit Systems Protection Board. If I fail to be reinstated, can I work in the private sector and wait until age 50 to apply/receive my FERS special retirement? If no, can I resume federal employment and at age 50 apply/receive my FERS special retirement? Where can I find these guidelines? Is it an agency head approval situation?
Q. I was employed by the Postal Service for nearly six years and voluntarily separated. I am now employed by Defense Department and had 5½ years between employment periods. Is the sick leave I left at the Postal Service available to credit to my current job? How can I find the balance available?
Q. I’m preparing to leave FEMA (full-time, temp) after six years of service and transfer to the Veterans Affairs Department, with approximately 330 hours of accrued annual leave. Can I sell all or a portion of my earned leave, prior to leaving FEMA or after I start my new VA job?
Q. Can I be terminated and denied my retirement if I decide to use all of my sick time (400+ hours) while waiting for my retirement package to go through? A very stressful situation arose before a day off and I do not wish to return to work at the Postal Service. I am under FERS. I have 10 years with the Postal Service in Cleveland as an electronic tech and 7½ years of credited military service.