By Reg Jones
Q. I am 57 years and two months old. I have 21 years of federal service (FERS), including two years and 11 months of military buyback time. I am considering early retirement. I have maintained Federal Employees Health Benefits since I started 18 or so years ago. The human resources experts here are telling me that if I defer my retirement to age 60 (which I am eligible) that I can never again receive FEHB. I cannot find that statement anywhere. I have seen a local in-service slide presentation that you can defer retirement until age 60 or 62 and pick up health insurance at that time. Can you tell me what is correct in this scenario?
February 10th, 2014 | Coverage after retirement Creditable service: FERS Deferred retirement Early retirement FEHBP HEALTH INSURANCE Minimum retirement age MRA + 10 Postponed retirement Re-enrollment RETIREMENT
Q. Do I have any options for early retirement that will allow me to keep Federal Employees Health Benefits if I retire at age 52-55 with 20-23 years of service with a minimum retirement age of 57? I know I can take postponed, but then I lose FEHB. So I was wondering if there was any other way.
Q. I retired from a federal agency in 2005 and have maintained my Federal Employees Health Benefits plan into retirement. I accepted employment at the county level where I live. They offer an excellent benefit package, including an attractive health plan. I’m thinking about working there for a few years, and I’m trying to find out what options are available to me as far as choosing which medical insurance to go with.
I recently heard about suspending my FEHB plan so I can reactivate it at a later date. If this is possible, I can take advantage of the county’s health benefits package while employed there, then re-enroll in my FEHB plan when I leave them in the future. While this sounds great, I am having trouble trying to find out all the details I should know about suspending my FEHB plan before I jump in. Can you help?
January 28th, 2014 | Creditable service: CSRS Creditable service: FERS CSRS annuity computation Deferred retirement EMPLOYMENT FEHBP FERS annuity computation HEALTH INSURANCE High-3 LIFE INSURANCE PAY Postal Service Re-enrollment RETIREMENT
Q. I am a 60 percent disabled veteran, so I earn a disability income. When I started work at the Postal Service, I bought my military time back so it would count toward retirement, so my service date is Sept. 1, 2001 (actually started in 2006). I am 46 years old now and I am looking to leave the USPS within three to four years. What options do I have for retirement? Could you explain deferred annuity and any other options available to me?
Q. I will become Medicare qualified as of April 1. Is it possible for me to suspend my coverage? If so, are there any penalty/requirements? Is there a waiting period to get back in to the plan?
Q. Do I have to be on active federal service to apply for retirement? In other words, can I resign from my current GS job, not work and check the “retired scene” for a month or two (i.e. take a break), then apply for retirement if I so desire, but keep the option not to retire and apply instead for another job if I find not working to be boring?
And if my decision is to go ahead and retire, are there special requirements? How do I apply for retirement if/when I am not on current register?
Q. I am 52 years old, 25 years in FERS, potentially being offered a Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay. If I do the VSIP, I will be employable at my current salary outside the government.
If I take the VSIP, can I carry my Federal Employees Health Benefits into retirement if I pay for it?
Can I delay collecting my retirement until age 62 and carry my FEHB through to retirement?
Q. I am considering leaving federal service. I have 13 years of service. I’m 59. No problem getting deferred annuity at 62. But I wanted to know if I can still get a health insurance option?
Q. Reading some of the questions that are being answered, there is some confusion. Some say if you retire at your minimum retirement age, you will not be able to continue health care coverage, but you must wait to retire at 60 to be able to remain in program. Other answers have been you can have your health care coverage renewed when you reach 60 when you apply for your deferred annuity. Can you clear this up? If I retire at my MRA which is 56, will my health care coverage continue?
Q. I am a rural carrier under FERS. I am 58 with 22 years. If I defer my pension until 60 to keep from getting the 5 percent-per-year penalty under 62, can I still get my health insurance now?
Q. I am a retired letter carrier. My wife has been on my Federal Employees Health Benefits since my retirement four years ago. She is enrolled in a graduate program and receives health insurance through her university. Can I drop her from my health insurance while she is covered by the university and then add her again when she graduates?
Q. My husband has a rare syndrome, and his prognosis is only a couple years. He cannot be left alone during the day, and I cannot afford to pay someone to stay with him all day. I am age 50, and a GG-13 Step 7 with 15 years of government service (four years of active-duty time is included in this). Can I retire now (I am under FERS) and still keep my health insurance? What would I receive in pension, and what would be the cost of keeping my health insurance as I cannot afford to lose it due to all of his medical appointments?
Q. Are there penalties for leaving/retiring 22 months before I turn 55? I am CSRS with more than 30 years. Would I have health insurance? I’m thinking I would lose 4 percent of the full retirement.
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 am a 51-year-old Defense Department employee with 13 years of continuous service under FERS and considering leaving federal service and working in the private sector. Since my minimum retirement age is 56, I am ineligible for the MRA+10 retirement option at this time. If I return to federal service at age 56 or later, is there a minimum duration that I would be required to work before I can retire under MRA+10? I have been continuously enrolled in Federal Employees Health Benefits for the past 13 years and would re-enroll immediately upon returning to federal service. I would also leave my FERS and TSP retirement untouched.
Q. I’m 52 and have almost 34 years of federal service under CSRS. If I were to resign, would my retirement start at age 60? Would health insurance start, as well, at age 60?
November 15th, 2013 | annuity reduction Coverage after retirement Deferred retirement Eligibility EMPLOYMENT HEALTH INSURANCE Minimum retirement age MRA + 10 PAY Postal Service Re-enrollment Resignation RETIREMENT Special retirement supplement
Q. I am 49 and was wondering if I can retire at 52 with 20 years of Postal Service time even though my minimum retirement age is 56. If so, could I defer my pension until 60 and collect it then with a 5 percent penalty for each year before 62? Would I be eligible to continue my health benefits and collect the special retirement supplement until age 62 if I were to do that? Or would I have to use my MRA+10 computation to retire? If that is the case, would I then be able to continue my health benefits and receive the special retirement supplement at 56?
Q. I was a tenured foreign service officer. I have nine years of creditable service. I voluntarily left the Foreign Commercial Service after multiple posts. I left in August 2010 with excellent reviews and under great conditions and awards. I was 54 when I left the service to join a private company. I am now 58.
I would like to apply for retirement benefits to qualify for Federal Employees Health Benefits for myself and to gain any other benefits from the pension. Can you help me to understand what I may be eligible for and when I could apply?
Q. I am 39 and on disability retirement from the Postal Service. I initially turned down continuing my Federal Employees Health Benefits insurance. Is it possible to enroll now, seven years later?
Q. As a currently “working” federal employee with Federal Employees Health Benefits, soon to receive Medicare and Tricare for Life, how can FEHB be eliminated from the three insurances but be reobtainable should there be a lapse in Medicare or TFL?
The situation is simple for a federal employee going into retirement: Fill out form 79-9 electing to suspend FEHB for Medicare and TFL.
Is there a form or path to do the same if a federal employee continues to “work” and wants to eliminate FEHB coverage?
I am told, if “working,” an employee must cancel FEHB. It would be retainable during a future open season. The problem is this is done over the telephone without any written documentation such as a form 79-9 for a retired worker suspending his FEHB. Is it this confusing?
I have called the Office of Personnel Management, the Army Benefits Center, my local human resources office, Medicare and TFL. They either don’t know the answer or don’t feel obligated to impart any guidance for fear of giving misleading information. Can you shed some clear guidance on my question? I am aware that, to have TFL, one must be military retired and Medicare Part B must be purchased.
What is the order of precedence with FEHB, Medicare and TFL? I am told the following:
If working: FEHB, Medicare then TFL.
If retired: Medicare, FEHB then TFL
Of course, with FEHB not in the equation, it would be only Medicare and TFL in either case, working or retired.