Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

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 »

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 »

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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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 »

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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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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39 quarters

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Q. I am 61 years old and have been retired from the fire service. I have, according to Social Security, 39 units which were not earned at fire service. If correct, I need one unit to earn Social Security at age 62, and I need this unit also to be eligible for Medicare at age 65? Is there any other way to get this one quarter other than going to get a job for three months?

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CSRS actuarial reduction

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Q. I worked under CSRS from 1963 to 1984 and withdrew my contributions when I left. I returned to a term position in 2002 and was informed that I couldn’t elect CSRS, so I selected a FERS pension. I am 72 and still employed. When I retire, I will receive an actuarially reduced CSRS pension. Does the reduction computation continue each year into retirement? What is the reason (law or regulation) that this reduction is itself not reduced or eliminated if I retire at a more advanced age (and will receive the pension for fewer years)?

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FERS redeposit and taxes

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Q. My wife left her government job a number of years ago and withdrew the money from her FERS account. She re-entered government service a few years ago. She then requested the redeposit amount required to bring her FERS account whole again. To make her FERS redeposit payment, she took a withdrawal from her IRA.

We received a 1099-R from her IRA firm showing the withdrawal and we will need to report on our taxes as income. Since the money went back into FERS, can I deduct that amount as if it were being rolled over into an IRA?

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Buyout eligibility

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Q. If a person qualifies for a buyout, does the position have to qualify for it?

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Social Security + annuity

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Q. I am a federal employee under FERS. In 2011, I retired from federal service from the House of Representatives. I returned to federal service one month later. Because my retirement package was already computed, my income is split equally between my retirement annuity and my pay from the House of Representatives. The deposits are listed as US Treasury Civ Serv for my annuity and US House of R for my regular monthly salary. I turned 66 in November; thus I’m eligible for full Social Security retirement if I choose to draw it. I would like to continue working. Will I be able to receive full Social Security retirement with no offset to my annuity or monthly salary?

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Contribution rate for reinstated employee

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Q. I started my career with the federal government in December 2010. If I am not mistaken, my retirement contribution is 1.2 percent. I left the federal government in June 2013. I will be reinstated hopefully in about a month. As a reinstated employee whose initial date of entering the federal workforce was in 2010, will I be abided by the new retirement contribution rate of 4.4 percent?

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Re-employment after retirement

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Q. I am collecting my CSRS pension, having retired from the Postal Service in February 2011 after a combined 37+ years of service — nine years and seven months with the Air Force, and 30 years and two months with the Postal Service. I’ve worked for a private corporation for about a year and had no problem with working and collecting a pension.

But now I have an opportunity to get a job with the U.S. Census Bureau. Since it is a government agency, I figured there may be some conflicts regarding collecting a salary and a pension at the same time. But each person I’ve asked regarding a potential conflict, I’ve received a different answer, which is to say, nobody really knows the answer but everyone has an opinion.

Is there clarification that you can give to me regarding the possible conflict I may have? It may not be worth my while to take a position with the Census Bureau if my financial losses outweigh my financial gains.

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Re-employment after retirement

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Q. I retired, I believe, under the MRA + 10 program, at the end of my member’s term. I have a total of 13 + years with the House of Representatives. I get a small annuity. I may have an opportunity to return to full-time service with the Department of Homeland Security. How will that affect my retirement? I assume the annuity would go away but am not sure how the health care would be handled. And I have been retired almost five years now. Will this new position accrue along with my previous 13 (since they were with the House and not GS)?

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