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 »

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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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 »

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 »

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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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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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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Annual leave accrual and military service deposit

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Q. I am a full-time federal employee with more than two years of service, and I am also a veteran with eight years of active-duty service. I was informed by my supervisor that I should be accruing more than four hours of annual leave per pay period based on my years of service from the military. I am paying to buy back those eight years of military service. Do I have to wait until my eight years of service have been paid for to have my annual leave accrual adjusted, or should it be adjusted right away? I am a GS employee under FERS.

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Special retirement supplement and TSP

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Q. I am looking at retiring in January 2015. I will be 56 years old Oct. 15. I will have 30 years in as of Dec. 24. Waiting until the end of leave year to cash in all available annual leave. I am looking at cashing out my Thrift Savings Plan in a lump sum to pay off all debts. Will that income be considered part of earned income so that the special retirement supplement is reduced?

If so, would it be in my interest to retire at the end of 2014 so that my annual leave hits that year instead of 2015? I will have more than 1,800 hours of sick leave accrued by the end of 2014. Can that be used to offset the age so that I could perhaps retire earlier so that the TSP lump sum is counted in 2014?

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Rolling unused annual leave over

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Q. I was recently told by a more senior colleague that it is valuable to accrue the maximum amount of vacation days you can in your first year, such that you get the greatest value/return when you finally retire (assumes you don’t use this maximum amount and roll it over year over year). Is this true? Why is that the case? Is it because when you retire (if you have unused vacation days), you can request their value in payment/cash rather than taking them as time off?

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Leave options for cancer diagnosis

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Q. I am completely out of annual leave and sick leave and have recently received a cancer diagnosis. My local human resources department has informed me of two options: voluntary leave transfer program and advance leave request. However, I don’t want to have to worry about losing my job, etc., and may not feel good enough to come back to my old job. What are my options? Are there any disability benefits available to me? What is early retirement for someone like me who is only 48 years old and has eight years of service with the Veterans Affairs Department?

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SRS and lump-sum payment for annual leave

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Q. Does the lump-sum payment for annual leave count against maximum earnings to be eligible for the special retirement supplement? Also, if I choose a retirement date and the application begins processing, can I back out before that date?

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Lump-sum payment for leave

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Q. I retired from the Department of Agriculture on Jan. 3 with a balance of 440 hours of annual leave. The earnings statement for the lump-sum payment I received Feb. 1 shows that I was paid at my 2013 GS-12 hourly rate. I thought I was to be paid for this leave with the new 2014 hourly pay rate that is 1 percent higher since this payment was made after the new rates went into effect. Am I correct? If so how do I get this rectified?

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Leftover leave and annuity computation

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Q. I am a FERS employee and have more than 650 hours of annual leave and over 2,000 hours of sick leave. I am 58 years old with 28 years of FERS service this year. Would I be able to cash out my annual leave when I stop working at the end of this year if I deferred my retirement until age 60 so I would not get penalized by 5 percent a year for retiring before 30 years of service?

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Sick leave vs. annual leave

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Q. I am going to retire in September. Is it better to use my annual leave for sick leave appointments in 2014 so that the sick leave rolls into my retirement? What is the formula which would tell me how much sick leave = how much extra pension?

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Terminal leave payments

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Q. The following is from the U.S. Postal Service Employment and Labor Relations Manual:

512.732 Entitlement Amounts
Separating employees may receive lump-sum terminal leave payments as follows:

Nonbargaining Unit Employees. Nonbargaining unit employees may receive a lump-sum leave payment for accumulated annual leave carried over from the previous year; accrued annual leave for the year in which they separate, including amounts over the carryover maximum; any unused donated leave; and for full-time and part-time regular employees, holidays that fall within the terminal leave period.
I retired Oct. 31 with an annual leave balance of 576 hours, for which I received a lump-sum payment.

That balance, if used, would have carried me into February 2014. Shouldn’t I have also been paid for all the holidays between my retirement date and the time my annual leave would have been exhausted?

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Annual leave at retirement

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Q. Is there a cap on the amount of annual leave I can have on the books at retirement. I plan to retire Dec. 28 and will have 295 hours at that time.

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