Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

Military buyback

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Q. I retired with 20 years of military service. I then spent 10 years under FERS and will spend my last 10 years under the law enforcement retirement due to a merger from my old department to a new one. I will be allowed to stay until I reach age 60 in five years. Is it worth buying my military time? Will I ever recoup it?

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CBP retirement calculation

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Q. The Customs and Border Protection primary officer retirement formula is 1 percent until July 2008 and 1.7 percent after that. Do CBP officers (GS-1895) receive 1.1 percent for the non-modified law enforcement officer time if retiring at age 62 with 20 years of service? It appears that the Office of Personnel Management is not giving CBP officers the 1.1 percent for age 62 with 20 years of service. If not, why not?

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Law enforcement retirements and FERCCA

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Q. When given the chance to convert from FERS to CSRS Offset due to the Federal Erroneous Retirement Coverage Corrections Act, I jumped at the chance since it is a better retirement. One issue I never got fully resolved was that I assume since I was in a 6(c) law enforcement covered position as a physical security specialist (0080 series) I must have been paying into the retirement at a higher rate to cover the early retirement option of FERS law enforcement. I now have more than 25 years with the USSS and six years of military time, which I have paid for in full.

1. If I can’t retire under the 6(c) category of CSRS, can I get the overpayment back?

2. Can my 6(c) time count on CSRS? If so, could I retire today since I am over 50 and have more than 25 years?

3. Is this a case that could go before the Merit Systems Protection Board?

4. It seems like I should have some form of adjustment made for the increased contribution.

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Law enforcement retirement

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Q. I completed 14 years in a federal law enforcement position before leaving. I would like to get my final six years to complete my 20 years and am considering a local law enforcement position as a correctional officer in a prison.

1. Does any other law enforcement position have to be with the federal government?

2. Would this position permit me to retire with the 20 years needed to get my law enforcement retirement?

3. How would my high-3 be calculated in this scenario? Would it be my high-3 from my total law enforcement career?

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LEO retirement recalculation

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 Q. I retired on disability in 2008 in a 6(c) (law enforcement) position. I would have been eligible to retire this year (at age 52) had I not become disabled. When will my retirement be recalculated since I fall under the age 57 mandatory retirement?

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Law enforcement retirement

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Q. I am 46 years old. I have 18 years with the U.S. Marshals Service as a criminal investigator. I also have 6½ years with the Army. At 48, I will fulfill my 20 years of covered federal law enforcement time. Do my additional years in the military put me through the 25-year window and allow me to retire at 48 with full benefits, or do I still have to wait until I am 50?

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Law enforcement retirement

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 Q. I resigned from a federal Series 1811 law enforcement officer position several years ago. The resignation from federal employment was prior to obtaining 20 years of service and while I was younger than 50. The mandatory retirement age for my position is 57.

At what point can I apply for the deferred annuity payment, and will that payment be reduced by 5 percent for each year that I am younger than 57? Also, how do I apply for the annuity? Whom do I contact — the Office of Personnel Management? My agency? And will I need to supply any type of documentation regarding my employment (SF-50, etc.)?

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LEAP and annuity computation

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 Q. I am a 59-year-old 1811 serving in a secondary law enforcement 1811 billet. I receive law enforcement availability pay, but I’m also on pay retention; therefore, with my salary and LEAP, most of LEAP is not paid due to salary cap.

1. Can the entire salary, including the nonpaid LEAP be used when calculating my retirement annuity?

2. If I retire at 59 or 60, can I receive the special retirement supplement?

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Retirement eligibility

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Q. I have 12 years of military service that I bought back. I have 16 years in federal law enforcement, with that law enforcement coverage as primary retirement coverage. I just turned 52 and have been in federal service since April 27, 1997. My position was just reclassified within my agency and is now covered under secondary law enforcement retirement coverage. Do I have sufficient time in to retire immediately now that I am covered under secondary law enforcement retirement, or do I need to still work another four years to get 20 in the position?

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Salary excess over pay cap

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Q. I am a GS-14, step 10, 1811 law enforcement officer. I work in the national capital region and receive Law Enforcement Availability Pay. My pay exceeds the annual federal pay cap, and approximately $650 per pay period is deducted from the amount of LEAP to bring my gross biweekly pay within mandatory limits.

By law, my high-3 will be calculated using the actual pay an employee receives, the amount from which retirement deductions are taken. This means the excess pay that is withheld is not used in high-3 calculations.

However, what happens to the excess funds that were earned yet withheld? And, since I earned it, will this excess be paid to me after retirement? Or is it just lost forever?

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Workers’ compensation and annuity computation

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Q. I am a GS 1811, injured in the line of duty in 2002. I have been collecting workers’ compensation for the past 12 years.

Prior to my injury, I had 12 years 1811 time. I bought back all of my active-duty military time back (6.8 years).

I am in FERS. I know that, as an 1811, my annual pension is 1.7 percent. Does my time on workers’ compensation also count toward 1811 time? I know my military time is calculated at 1.0 percent.

Assuming that the compensation counts toward government service, I would have 24 years at 1.7 percent = 40.8 percent, plus the military time of 6.8 percent. The total would be 47.6 percent. Is this correct?

The Department of Labor is trying to send my back to work in “light duty capacity.” I will be 65 years old at the end of the year. Will I also collect my Social Security at the rate for a 65-year-old? I worked in a local police department for 22 years and was grandfathered into the 1811 position.

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Law enforcement retirement

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Q. I am a 43-year-old FERS employee who just completed my 20th year in a covered law enforcement position. I understand the 25 at any age/20 at age 50+ rules. I also understand that I may transition to a nonlaw enforcement position for the next five years and retire at age 48, or simply continue working until age 48 and retire with 25 years of law enforcement. However, at this point (age 43 with 20 years), if I retire and apply for deferred benefits, will those benefits be available when I turn 50, as 50 is the minimum retirement age with my completed 20 years of LE service? If it is not age 50, what is the earliest age that I could apply for the deferred benefits? If it is later than age 50, can you please explain why? I am interested in resigning from my federal law enforcement career now that I have completed 20 years, but I want to sacrifice as few benefits as possible.

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Max VA percentage for 6(c) coverage

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Q. As a federal employee under FERS, is there a maximum percentage from the Veterans Affairs Department that a 6(c) law enforcement officer can receive? I’m at 30 percent; I reach my minimum retirement age in June 2017; and I want to increase my percentage. I have a culmination of multiple issues that could increase my percentage dramatically, but I don’t want this to affect my job as an LEO.

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Law enforcement pay

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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?

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Re-employment after mandatory retirement age

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Q. I was required to retire from a federal law enforcement position in 2011 after 22 years (GS-13, step 10) due to reaching the maximum age. I may have an opportunity to work with another agency in a permanent position at the GS-12 level. What are the ramifications on my retirement and health benefits? Also, what if this were a re-employed annuitant position?

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Law enforcement annuity computation

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Q. I am a law enforcement officer, born 1967. My 6(c) service computation date is Nov. 1, 1989, and I plan to continue to work as a 6(c) until Dec. 31, 2014 (but not retire, simply change jobs/agency). I would like to continue working as a FERS regular employee until Dec. 31, 2020, when my youngest is out of college. If I change from 6(c) to regular FERS either now or at the end of 2014, do I mess up my ability to retire with the 6(c) computation of my 20 “good years,” or lose the ability to retire before minimum retirement age on an unreduced annuity, or give up the ability to avoid wage earnings testing against my special retirement supplement prior to my MRA?

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Social Security deductions

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Q. I am a law enforcement officer who retired after 27 years at age 51. I am receiving the special retirement supplement, which I should receive fully until age 56 despite any additional income. I started a private-sector position immediately upon my retirement. They are taking full Social Security deductions from my pay. It seems to me that I have “topped out” on Social Security based on my service. Should I still have Social Security deducted? If so, will I receive any benefit from this when file my taxes next year?

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Law enforcement retirement eligibility

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Q. I am in a law enforcement position with 20 years as of September. I’m age 47. I’m looking at transferring to another federal agency that is not law enforcement. Would I be able to retire at the age of 50 from that agency if I choose, or will I be able to stay there after the age of 57?

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Law enforcement annuity calculation

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Q. I was employed as a primary law enforcement (6(c) covered position) for 14 years. I paid 1.7 percent into FERS during that time. I left that position and went to a noncovered position, which is a regular FERS retirement 1 percent. When I spoke to human resources, nobody could give me an answer to what happens to the 0.7 percent, which was taken out for 14 years. Granted, I was told that the 0.7 percent would be held until retirement in case I decided to go back to 6(c) covered position, and I would be credited the time and money toward that retirement. Now that I’m getting close to retirement, I’ll have 33 years at age 56 in four years. How does the 0.7 percent figure into the retirement? Since I “overfunded” my FERS “regular” retirement by 0.7 percent for 14 years, would I receive a lump-sum check for 0.7 percent, as an overage payment into the retirement system? Receive credit in time? Or just plain lose it?

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6(c) retirement and earnings cap

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Q. I am looking at retiring in about a year. At that time, I will be 53 with 26 years of 6(c) coverage under FERS. I know I can retire right now, but will I be penalized for not waiting until I am 57 (mandatory retirement age)? Also, I understand I can earn as much as I can after retirement, but until what age? I had an officer tell me it was 57 and another said it was 62, the age when regular Social Security benefits are paid. I also believe that the Social Security benefits at 62 would be reduced but by how much?

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