By Reg Jones
Q. I am a CSRS Offset employee with 30 years of service at age 55. If a Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay is offered and I’m accepted, can I use that money to buy back time — first year of federal service and two years of term employment in middle of my career (FICA-covered only) — to use toward my pension? I understand the years only paid to FICA apply to my total number of years but not toward my pension benefit.
Q. I plan to retire May 31, 2014.
1. How soon can I submit my retirement package?
2. If a Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay is offered before my retirement date, can I amend the date to get the VSIP?
Q. If you have 30 years of service at GS-6, can you be awarded Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay?
Q. 1. If I return to the federal government, will my federal pension be reduced?
2. If I return, can this added time be recalculated to add to my existing pension? And if it is added, how long (in years) would I have to work for it to be added to my pension?
3. I retired in 2005 and received a buyout. Will I have to pay back the buyout?
Q. I am nearing 20 years of service and am over 56 years old. As of March 6, 2014, I will have 20 years of federal service and, as of March 31, a total of 20 years, five months and 16 days counting all of my creditable sick leave.
To apply for Voluntary Early Retirement Authority/Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay, do I first have to be retirement eligible? Am I able to adjust my retirement date and still keep 20 years service by applying unused sick days, or are they only attached to the end of my total federal service time?
Q. I’m a Defense Department employee with 19 years of federal service, and I’m 37 years old (I had 12 years of active-duty military time, which I bought back toward my government time. If the Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay is offered again this year, I’m considering accepting the buyout. If I accept the buyout, can I still apply for a deferred annuity once I reach age 62? Is there much benefit to waiting until I have 20 years of federal service, as opposed to separating with 19 years? I still won’t be at my minimum retirement age (57), even if I wait until I have 20 years. I will still only be 38, and will still have to apply for a deferred annuity, so what’s the difference?
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. I am 63 with 30 years of federal service. I want to apply for a Voluntary Early Retirement Authority or Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay. Can I retire from the federal service at the same time?
Q. I resigned from the Postal Service after 10-plus years on July 31, 2012, at age 54 and received half of the $20,000 separation bonus in December 2012 and am expecting the other half this December. Do I qualify at age 62 for FERS? My husband also works for the Postal Service but is not planning to retire until age 62.
If he should die before me (and vice versa), will I, as his wife, receive his FERS annuity and mine? How is this determined? Or will the surviving spouse only receive a portion of the deceased spouse’s monthly annuity?
Q. I am 52 years old and have 25 years of federal service to include my 13 years of military time, which I bought back. I am under FERS.
1. Do I qualify for the Voluntary Early Retirement Authority/Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay, if offered?
2. Would I take a cut in retirement benefits?
Q. Can a federal retiree who received Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay work for a county public school transportation system within five years of receiving a VSIP? Working for a county government public school transportation system does not mean you need to payback the buyout, right? This only applies to re-employment in another federal government agency.
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. Is there an option to take buyout money as monthly payments rather than a lump sum, and what are the ramifications? I’ve heard there is an option but cannot find any information on it.
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.
Q. When I take Voluntary Early Retirement Authority/Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay and I have annual leave, are they combined into one lump sum for tax purposes, or are they separate?
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 61. I retired from the Postal Service in October 2009 (CSRS). I received a Voluntary Separation Incentive Payment of $15,000. Do I have to pay this back before I to return to federal service, less than five years after my retirement date?
Q. I am 63 years old and have worked for Department of Labor for 14.9 years. My department is offering buyouts, but I can’t seem to find anyone who can tell me if I’m eligible. Is anyone with less than 20 years ever eligible?
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. Would the receipt of lump-sum leave payment (estimated $17,000) and a Voluntary Separation Incentive Payment (estimated $25,000) count against the earnings test to receive the special retirement supplement? If so, I assume that would effectively eliminate the supplement in the first years.