By Reg Jones
Q. My husband is a federal police officer on Fort Benning, Ga. The police officers do not receive law enforcement pay, but the firefighters do. Does law enforcement pay affect retirement very much?
Q. My position is relocating well out of the commuting area. I cannot relocate along with that position. If I were placed in a new position at my current location but at a lower grade level, would I be entitled to save pay per 5 CFR 536?
Q. If I get an early retirement (I am 50 with 29 years), when can I go back as a rehired annuitant?
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 have worked for the Postal Service for 26 years. I just turned 50. I am under FERS. If I decided to retire at the end of the year, how would I calculate what my annuity will be? Additionally, if there were another early-out offer from the Postal Service, how would I benefit from that rather than retiring outside of the offer?
Q. I am a CSRS Offset retiree. I attended more than one pre-retirement seminar and was given examples of my retirement situation, along with reassurances that my retirement would closely follow the examples and that I was very fortunate to be CSRS Offset, and would be very happy.
I was told to check with Social Security to find out about my offset. Neither the Office of Personnel Management nor Social Security could know the exact amounts until I retired.
Following my retirement, everything, except Social Security, was in disorder for six months. OPM explained that they had to check with SS about the calculation of my offset, and that took some time. When I contacted SS, they said there was no offset for me because of my lengthy employment history and more than 30 years of SS payments (and I paid both CSRS and SS amounts since 1983).
The bottom line is, at the pre-retirement seminar, I was shown and walked through one method for calculating the offset and told that there was also another and that the one with the lowest amount would be used to determine my offset. My eventual monthly OPM payments were about $1,000 a month less than those demonstrated in the example based on all that was known about my salary and SS payment history at the pre-retirement seminar. I realize that the pre-retirement amount could be off a little, but $1,000/month is a lot. Each time I tried to sort this out, I was told by SS that there was no offset, and I was told by OPM that they used the offset given to them by SS.
To this date, this matter has never been satisfactorily explained and resolved. SS even sent me a letter stating that I was not subject to any offset, and OPM continues to state that my pension offset was based on the information supplied to them by SS. Can you supply me with someone to walk me through the calculations that were apparently so far from real?
December 5th, 2013 | annuity reduction Coverage after retirement discontinued service retirement EMPLOYMENT FEHBP HEALTH INSURANCE MRA + 10 PAY Postal Service Postponed retirement Re-enrollment RETIREMENT Special retirement supplement
Q. I have been told by the Office of Personnel Management that if I postpone my retirement until age 60, I would be penalized for every year I am under 62 and will not be eligible for the special retirement supplement.
I am 59½ with more than 28 years in the Postal Service. Our facility is consolidating, and our jobs are at stake. I am a clerk and do not want a carrier position because of my health. I plan on retiring in February to reach my 60th birthday. If I don’t accept a carrier position, can I:
1. Take an involuntary discontinued retirement; or
2. Retire and postpone my annuity until 60
I want to receive the special retirement supplement and no penalty on annuity.
Q. I have 12 years of full-time employment and am MRA +10. Instead of retiring outright, I was thinking of going to half-time for a year or two. I understand my share of health insurance premiums will go up dramatically while I am employed part-time, but what will happen when I finally retire? Will my share go back to the full-time amount, or will I continue to pay the extra half? This is a major part of my decision to stay on because my pension would barely cover the increased amount.
Q. I am a Postal Service employee with an issue. I was on active duty from January 1985 until April 1994, when I separated from the military and entered the Reserve.
I started work at the Postal Service in 1995, and bought back my military time.
In January 2003, I was mobilized on active duty until 2013. During this period (approximately July 2011), I fell into sanctuary (18-year lock in) and was retained on active duty to complete 20 years of active federal service, Feb. 28, 2013.
I am now back at the Postal Service trying to make up contributions for my last 10 years away from the Post Office and am being told by the Human Resource Service Center that I cannot receive an active-duty military retirement check and use that time toward the USPS retirement.
My retirement orders put me in the Retired Reserves, but I do get an active-duty check, and my last DD-214 states under “narrative reason for separation”: Sufficient service for retirement.
Q. I am a former CSRS employee with 15½ years of service. I left the service in 1993. I need to apply for deferred retirement. Is there any benefit in waiting? I am applying for a federal position that does not close for several months and am wondering what happens once I start collecting my deferred retirement? Should I wait to apply for my deferred retirement? What happens if I take a federal job in a year?
I also took a refund of part of my CSRS deductions in 1983 (money was from 1977 to 1983) when I moved to another state. Shortly after I moved, I got a new CSRS position and worked for 10 more years until 1993 and did not take a refund when I left at that time. How does that affect my retirement?
Q. I retired in 2008 with 33 years credited, of which three were in the military. I never bought back my military time. I am almost 59 now and have 35 quarters of Social Security banked. I understand that if I get over 40 before I turn 62, my pension will be affected. Most of my Social Security quarters earned were either military (in the 1970s; wasn’t much) and part-time work.
So I do not have much money vested in Social Security.
If I get 40 quarters and my pension is offset, how can I figure how much that will be? I may decide it’s to my benefit to continue part-time work.
Q. I am covered as a retiree from the Postal Service under a Federal Employees Health Benefits plan. I am also covered on a plan under my name from my late husband’s employer, from which he retired. The rules for coordination of benefits state that if you are covered under two plans in your name, the plan that you had longer would be primary. Since I retired in July, my FEHB plan changed in that it is no longer paid with pretax dollars; it is paid monthly and the premium is not the postal rate but the rate other federal workers and retirees pay. To me, this is not the same plan I had, and I am thinking the other plan would now be primary since I have had that plan for over two years. Also, over the years, I sometimes only had insurance through my husband, sometimes had both and sometimes just had FEHB. Can I safely say that because of the changes in July that the other insurance is now primary?
Q. I had cashed out the five years of FERS service from May 1987 through August 1992. I was reinstated in November 2005 and been with the federal government since.
I just received a letter from the Office of Personnel Management that I would have to pay $1,973 for FERS redeposit and $3,541 for the interest — a total of $5514. The date shown is Nov. 14, 2013.
I wonder if redeposit is a good approach at this time? Please explain the benefit of having this redeposit made vs. not doing anything.
And, for future reference, where can I tap on for more info on FERS retirement?
I plan on retiring in 2026.
Is there any other smarter way of analyzing the situation?
If I pay the total amount, what is the due date without further due on interest?
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 50 years old and have worked for the Department of the Navy for 25 years under FERS. The last five years of my career has been part time (20 hours per week). My wife has also worked for the Navy for 12 years (full time under FERS) and provides our Federal Employee Health Benefits family plan coverage. I have been covered by an FEHB plan consecutively for over 25 years. If I were offered early retirement, could I pick up the FEHB family plan coverage and carry it into retirement with me? If not, why not?
Q. What is the reason for veterans to buy back military time when still working for the government? In my case, I went from 6½ years active Navy (1984-1991) to the Postal Service (1993-present). Shouldn’t going from one federal agency to another federal agency be a continuation of service, and shouldn’t vets get a waiver since we were willing to sacrifice our lives for our country?
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. My husband is retired Postal Service, with Blue Cross/Blue Shield and Medicare Part A.
I will be 65 in March but only have 37 credits and do not qualify for Social Security or Medicare, according to my SS statement.
I would like to know if I qualify for Part A under my husband’s Medicare benefits and, if so, what will happen to that benefit if he dies before I do? Due to medical issues, I do not plan to work in to get those last three credits.
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 took the Postal Service Voluntary Early Retirement Authority offered in 2011, and retired at age 53. I began receiving annuity payments immediately upon retirement. I reached my minimum retirement age of 56 this month. I understand I will begin receiving the special retirement supplement beginning next month. My annuity is set up for direct deposit into my checking account. Do the supplement payments also come from the Office of Personnel Management, or do I need to do something to set those payments up to be direct deposit?