Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

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 »

FERS rehired annuitant and VERA/VSIP

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Q. I am a discontinued service rehired annuitant. I worked at a U.S. Army post and was phased out during a base closure and realignment in 2011. I received priority placement in 2012 at a nearby Army post and was rehired. I’ve been here almost two years. VERA/VSIP is now being offered with a $25,000 buyout. I have the age and years in. I’m not interested in leaving yet; but as a FERS rehired annuitant, would I be eligible for the VERA/VSIP $25,000 buyout presently being offered? Read the rest of this entry »

Annuitant considering rehire

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Q. I retired from the federal government in 2007, receive an annuity and would like to come back to work for the federal government as a rehire. Federal job applications have a section entitled “Who May Apply.” If the position advertises for “United States Citizens,” am I eligible to apply as an annuitant?
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Social security and civil service pensions

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Q. I have worked for the postal service since 1982, so I will not get social security because I do not have any credits. I was told though that if my husband passes away, I cannot receive any of his social security benefits because I have a civil service pension. Is this correct? Read the rest of this entry »

Retire from law enforcement at 48

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Q. I am currently employed with the Bureau of Prisons,and in three years, I will have 20 years law enforcement time. But I will only be 48 years old. Can I just retire from the BOP in three years with total of 20 years law enforcement at age 48? I’d wait until I am 50 years old and start collecting my retirement. From age 48 – 50 I plan just to work at Wal-mart or a grocery store. I also bought back 6 years of my military. Read the rest of this entry »

Buying back LWOP

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Q. I am a CSRS-offset employee planning to retire at the end of the year and trying to get all my ducks in a row.

While working for the Postal Service as an Army Reservist, I was on leave without pay for two months and six days in 1984, and four months and 19 days in 1994. I thought I would have to pay this time back in order to receive retirement credit. However, in the 2014 CSRS Retirement Planning Guide published by FEDweek, on page 40, I read, “A total of six months of LWOP (including furlough days) in any calendar year is considered to be creditable service. In other words, for calculating your length of service, it’s treated as if you had never been on leave. Further, you don’t have to make a deposit to get credit for that time.”

Does this mean I will be credited my time on LWOP for service and retirement? Read the rest of this entry »

FEHB and deferred retirement

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Q. I started work in an letter of authorization appointment in June 2004. In January 2005, I was hired under a TERM contract not-to-exceed four years. I completed that term and a second one. At the end of that period, my only option to continue was to return to an L/A appointment. Because I was coming from a position with benefits (FEHB and FERS), I was able to keep them in the L/A appointment. The L/A appointment rules are changing (all the time, it seems), and at this point I don’t know if my L/A appointment can be renewed.

Though I’ve never been a permanent federal employee, at the end of this appointment, I will have nine years, and one and a half months of full time FERS, plus 10 months at 3/8 time. I will be 52.

I understand that as a general rule FEHB benefits cannot be picked up in the case of a deferred retirement, but I’m wondering if there is an exception because neither myself nor my employer are wanting me to stop working, there just isn’t a way to keep me working. (Well, there is a possibility I could work under a service contract act but would not have federal benefits.) Read the rest of this entry »

CSRS annuitant considering reemployment

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Q. I’ve read where normally one’s salary is cut by the amount of annuity he or she is receiving, but what happens if the new salary is less than the existing annuity? Read the rest of this entry »


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Q. How can a nonappropriated fund employee move into a GS position in the same directorate without opening the position to the general population?

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Age restrictions

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Q. Is there an age restriction for potential employees if they are older than 69?

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Law enforcement and SRS eligibility

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Q. I am eligible for a 30-year retirement in July at age 50. If I do not get another job, I am eligible for a special retirement supplement due to the mandatory early retirement that federal law officers must take.

If I don’t work for, say, six months and then get a job in the private sector and work two years, or if I get a job immediately upon retirement and only work a couple of years, will I still be eligible for the supplement after leaving the private sector?

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LWOP and promotion

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Q. 1. Does management have a right to use leave without pay as a basis of a “black eye” and keep an employee from being promoted even though the employee has exceptional rating for more than three years?

2. Can management require a probationary period of one year prior to promotion if the employee is qualified and filling a GS-5,6,7 position as a GS-5 where the employee was promised to be promoted once accepting the position in front of witnesses?

The employee needed to be on LWOP due to excessive use of leave taking care of a family member’s medical issues, and the family member eventually died following treatments.

The agency never offered advanced annual leave or advanced sick leave or Family Medical Leave Act to this employee.

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11 questions on military buyback

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Q. 1. How are the days of active-duty service calculated?

2. Is that a one-to-one credit added to years of service?

3. Can you buy it back after you retire and adjust the annuity accordingly?

4. Can you buy back portions of it?

5. Can you pay in installments?

6. What percentage of military pay per year would you get in retirement? For CSRS, it is roughly 2 percent based on high-3; would it be calculated on actual salary back then or adjusted for inflation?

7. Any chance for a retroactive payment once established?

8. Will I lose any benefits if I do this?

9. Can I do this if I was not in the military long enough to earn a pension?

10. How does Social Security fit into this picture?

11. Can I get all three (FERS/CSRS, Social Security, military/Defense Department) separately? What is the penalty for collecting multiple pensions if done separately?

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NTE position and VSIP eligibility

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Q. Would I be eligible for a Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay if offered? I am 57 and will have 33 years of service under CSRS in June. I took an NTE position in 2009 that ended in Sept 2011 and was unemployed from Sept. 30, 2011, to June 2012, when I was reinstated. Because I had the break in service — and since that break have been working less than three years continuously, would that make me ineligible for a buyout?

Also, is there a limit on how many times you can be turned down for a VSIP or any recourse after multiple times while others get approved for it?

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