Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

Lump sum rate for unused annual leave

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Q. I have a question about determination of the amount I will be paid for unused annual leave. I was in a temporary promotion to DB-04 (GS-14 equivalent) NTE July 24, 2014. If I retire July 31, 2014, will I be paid for annual leave at the salary rate of the GS-14? Read the rest of this entry »

Voluntary FERS retirement and OWCP

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Q. I’m currently receiving Worker’s Comp. payments for a work related knee injury in July 2012. I’ve had two surgeries and tried numerous physical therapy sessions and the problem has only worsened. I’m in pain all the time. I haven’t returned to work since my injury. I told my doctor that I couldn’t keep up the therapy because it was too painful. My agency required a medical answer from my surgeon as to whether I was able to do anything. He stated that I was permanently incapacitated at this time. I was surprised my agency hadn’t separated me, and I was still on leave without pay. I told my doctor, boss and agency, I didn’t see any other way but to retire. I’m 57 with 17 years under FERS. If I take an immediate retirement, MRA + 10. Can I elect to continue my OWCP payments in leu of my OPM annuity until my injury is resolved through additional surgery i.e. knee replacement? Or, do I lose the compensation?

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Unused sick leave over 41 years 11 months CSRS service

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Q. I have over 41 years 11 months creditable service under CSRS. I also have unused sick leave to take me over the 80% max threshold. I used the chart to convert sick leave hours into months and days (rounding up). Does sick leave just get added to the credible service years, months and days, or is it done separately? Also if it is added to the credible service and the days are dropped, does that mean that I can potentially lose up to a month of sick leave days? If so, should I begin taking sick days when I need them, instead of using annual leave, so I don’t just lose them?
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Leaving federal service

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Q. I am a federal employee (FERS employee from January 1988 to the present) who will likely be leaving federal employment for a private sector position in a different city. What happens to the following:
1. Can I either leave my money in the TSP account or roll it over; in any case, I am not touching the balance until I retire.
2. Am I correct that my retirement annuity freezes until I actually retire and that it would be based on the following calculation — years of service (.26) x the average of the high-3 annual salary?
3. Do I get a lump sum payout for annual leave?
4. Can I get my sick leave back if I return to federal service?
5. I know health care terminates after 30 days. But am I eligible to get any Federal health care after I retire from the private sector?

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Sick leave

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Q. If an employee has sick leave to use or loose before retirement and has a medical appointment, can his or her supervisor disapprove the sick leave for a doctor’s appointment?
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Best retirement FERS date

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Q. I started Government employment Jan. 13, 2013, and I want to retire on my 62nd birthday Dec. 7, 2016, or should I wait till Jan. 13, 2017. Does it really make a difference? Read the rest of this entry »

OWCP and FERS disability retirement

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Q. I was approved for FERS disability retirement but remained on Worker’s Comp. and yet to take the FERS disability retirement. I had 18 1/2 years at air traffic control. When I reach age 62 and the FERS is recalculated, is the time on OWCP counted for that calculation? Read the rest of this entry »

Unused annual leave at retirement

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Q. An earlier post mentioned that you would get a payout of unused annual leave if you retire before Jan. 5, 2019. What happens to your unused annual leave if you retire after Jan. 5, 2019? Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

Annual leave computation

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Q. My service computation date is 11/1999. Will I accrue eight hours of leave starting 11/2014? 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 »

Sick leave payout at retirement

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Q. I am a FERS covered employee and am anticipating retirement in 2018. Will I receive full pay for all of my unused sick and annual leave? Read the rest of this entry »

Leave without pay

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Q. Must you use all of your annual and sick leave before going on leave without pay?

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Buying back LWOP for annuity calculation

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Q. At 19, I was recruited and placed into a civilian Defense Department position as a cooperative education student. I would be placed on leave without pay during periods when I was attending college and not working. This continued for five years. My start date was June 1980 and I finished my degree in August 1985. My service computation date is April 1982. Is there an option to buy those LWOP periods to bring my SCD to 1980?

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Use-or-lose leave

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Q. I have 208 hours of use-or-lose leave. Will I get paid for it when I retire?

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Terminal leave and creditable service

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Q. I was hired by a federal agency while on terminal leave from the Army. Is this creditable service toward retirement from the federal agency?

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Retirement date

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Q. What are the differences if my retirement date is Nov. 29, 2014, or Dec. 1, 2014? I will be retiring from the Postal Service as a Level 18 postmaster. I am retiring under CSRS. My service computation date is July 6, 1979. I will be turning 55 on Nov. 16. I have worked continuously at the Postal Service, and I have 1,848.84 hours of accumulated sick leave.

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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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Retirement date and leave

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Q. Can you please comment on any pros and cons to retiring Nov. 29, 2014? I will have a prior balance of 208 hours of annual leave and 192 hours in 2014 accumulated as of that date and do not want to forfeit the use-or-lose balance.

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Sick leave and FERS multiplier

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Q. I am a 59-year-old FERS employee with 33 years of federal service. If I retire in May 2015, four months short of my 62nd birthday, will my 900-plus sick leave hours be used to push my service date past my birthday and therefore make me eligible for the .011 pension multiplier (instead of the .01 multiplier)?

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