Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

Credit for part-time hours

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Q. I am a CSRS employee with a period of “post-April 6, 1986” part-time service of about 10 years. During that time, I occasionally worked hours above my scheduled tour of duty. How do I get credit for that time in my retirement annuity?

A. The extra hours you worked are already a matter of record and you’ll get credit for them in your annuity computation.

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Reduction to part time

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Q. I will have 18 years in FERS and I am 59. My job  will be reduced to a part-time position in September and I need to know if I should retire before it gets reduced? Should I take the hit and stay with the part-time position until I turn 60? Will the part time reduce my annuity if I stay for the following six months? Read the rest of this entry »

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Severance pay

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Q. I am 52 with 17 years in the federal government (FERS). I am not eligible to retire yet and am not eligible for a discontinued service retirement. My agency field office is closing, and I have decided to decline their directed assignment outside of my state. I am eligible for severance pay due to the fact that it is not a reasonable job offer (it is outside of my commuting area, and I am not subject to a mobility agreement). I have submitted my information and found I am eligible to receive one year’s worth of severance payments. I know that if I receive severance payments but soon after get hired into another federal job, the severance payments will stop. Read the rest of this entry »

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Mandatory removal

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Q. I am a Dual Status Military Technician GS-12 and I will reach my Mandatory Removal Date in 2019 when I am 50 and not eligible for retirement yet. This will end my Federal employment as a military technician. What options are there for me to gain new employment in the federal system and what impact does my previous GS-12 grade have? Read the rest of this entry »

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Seniority

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Q. Does a person have seniority when two people in the same section are applying for the same job? Both have the same experience, one from active duty and retired from active duty of 23 years. But he will only have two years as a federal employee in August 2014. The other has 12 years federal service and 11 years active duty. Both are a GS-07 and looking to apply for a GS-09. I realize management has the right to hire anyone who they feel is qualified. Read the rest of this entry »

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Re-employment

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Q. I am a FERS retiree since 2003. May I work as a temporary fire lookout for the same agency?

A. There is nothing that would prevent you from being rehired by your former agency if it wanted to do so. However, you need to find out what the effect of taking that job would be. As a rule, the salary of a re-employed annuitant would be reduced by the amount of his annuity. If that turns out to be the case with the temporary lookout position, you’d end up working for nothing.

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Lump sum for unused annual leave

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Q. How soon would I receive my lump sum payment for unused annual leave when I retire?

A. Only your agency payroll office can answer that question.

Within grade pay increase

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Q. I will separate from the military in September with 11 years, 6 months of service. I am looking to get a federal GS job where I can buy back my military time. I know this goes toward the pension plan, but does it also count anything toward GS within-grade pay increase?

A. As a non-retired former member of the military, your active-duty service will be used to establish your service computation date and, thus, your annual leave accrual category. It doesn’t count toward the step at which you are hired. However, if you have special skills that would make you highly desirable, you can try negotiating for a higher entry step with the agency that is considering hiring you.

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State to federal

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Q. I’m considering moving from a state job in New Jersey to a federal job. Will any of the state pension deductibles be transferable to the federal government?

A: No.

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WEP effect

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Q. I served 5 years, 8 months, in the military, then 30 years in the Post Office. I had roughly 6 months of sick leave to use, so 37 years total. Military time was repaid prior to VERA in June 2011. My Social Security statement is 38 credits as of 2012. My VERA incentive was calculated under Social Security. If I become employed before I’m 62, how will my annuity be affected and how much will my Social Security benefits be? Is there a calculator to determine this amount using specific amounts?

A. Because you’ll have fewer than 30 years of substantial earnings under Social Security, your Social Security benefit would be subject to the windfall elimination provision. The WEP would reduce – but not eliminate – that benefit. To learn more about the WEP and how it would affect you, go to http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10045.pdf.

 

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‘Retire, FERS’ refund

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Q. My wife worked for the federal government from 2011 to 2012 and resigned in August 2012 due to medical reasons. During that two years of service, $222.07 was deducted from her pay for “Retire, FERS” and there were matching funds of $3281.31, so the total is $3503.30 for the “Retire, FERS.” Can my wife request that money be refunded?

A. If she doesn’t plan to return to federal service, she would only be entitled to a refund of her own retirement contributions. Doing so would cancel her entitlement to any future retirement benefit. However, if she got a refund and later returned to federal service, she could redeposit that money, plus accrued interest, to get credit for that period of service.

 

Texas unemployment eligibility and FERS retirement

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Q. I retired as a FERS employee in 1999 with 26 years of service.  I was 48 years old.  I returned to work full time in the private sector February 2007.  I was laid off 02/28/14 due to downsizing in the company.

Texas is the only state I have worked in.  Am I eligible for Texas unemployment benefits?  I am still able to work. Read the rest of this entry »

Temporary time

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Q. I was on a worker trainee, temporary appointment from August 27, 1981, to September 30, 1982. Do I have to buy back that time for it to be calculated in my retirement?

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FERS disability for term employee

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Q. My husband is a helicopter maintenance instructor on a term-appointment due to expire Dec. 31, 2014. He was taken out from his position as a primary instructor and put in the an assistant instructor position due to memory problems that are affecting his ability to teach and do proper fixes on the aircraft. His supervisor recommended in a counseling statement that he seek medical attention to identify any issues. He has been recently diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and excruciating face pain. He will meet the MRA + 10 retirements in August of this year (all term appointment time) but that provides very little in way of an annuity. Is he eligible to apply for FERS retirement disability? Does he have to apply for Social Security first? He is retired military but receives no disability benefits from the Army or VA. Read the rest of this entry »

Pay for reinstatement-eligible candidate

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Q. If someone is reinstated into a federal position, is it the same step as well as grade that they were when they resigned? I have 15 years additional professional experience since I resigned from the federal government. When I resigned I was a GS-11, step 4. However my current salary with a defense contractor is in line with a GS-11 step 10 salary. If I am reinstated, am I entitled to be compensated as close to my current salary without exceeding it or at the step I was at when I resigned (GS 11 step 4). Read the rest of this entry »

Deferred retirement at 31 years of service

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Q. I have 31 years of federal service at age 50: 27 Civil Service and 4 military which I bought back. Do I wait to fill out my retirement paperwork near my minimum retirement age, or do I fill that out at the time I resign? I read that because I have five point preference that my reinstatement rights don’t have a three year time limit? If I resign and then apply for a federal job and get hired at age 55, work one year and then retire at my MRA of 56, would I be eligible for the Social Security Supplement? Can I leave my Thrift Savings Plan money where it is and not transfer it to an IRA? 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 »

USPS pension

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Q. I worked for the USPS 1987-1996. Is there a pension for me that I’m not aware of that will be available me at retirement age? I cashed out my savings plan that I was contributing to when I was working, but I am referring to a pension that I may have become vested in. This would be great news, but where do I find out? Read the rest of this entry »

CSRS Offset, Social Security and WEP

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Q. I am 69 years old and will be 70 in December of this year. I was rehired by the government in January 2013 after a 31 year break in service. I had almost 12 years of prior service and I withdrew my CSRS retirement fund when I left the government in 1981. I am now planning to retire at the end of March of 2016 when my High-3 will be reestablished at my current GS12-10 salary. Since I have over 30 (consecutive) years of substantial earnings under Social Security, will the windfall elimination provision come into play when I retire?

Also, I did not repay the amount I withdrew in 1981, and additionally, I am currently collecting my Social Security benefit and have been since 2010. How will these circumstances effect my CSRS retirement and/or Social Security benefit when I finally retire at the date I mentioned? Read the rest of this entry »