By Reg Jones
Q. I am 61 and will be 62 in September. I would like to retire at age 62. I have eight years of federal civilian service and bought back three years and eight months of military service. I know I cannot retire until I am 62. Due to a current civil legal action that I have, I would like to resign my position within the next 30 to 60 days. This would mean a deferred annuity with a retirement date of Sept. 30. My boss is looking to suspend me from duty without pay due to this situation pending the final results of my civil action. What will I be losing by resigning and not waiting until my retirement date, even if I am suspended from duty without pay? Should I just stay on suspension and submit for retirement for the end of September?
Q. I turned 55 in April and have more than 33 years in CSRS. I have 3,069 hours of accumulated sick leave, and 304 hours of annual leave in my current year balance, 164 restored annual leave with a term date of January 2014, and 444 hours of restored annual leave with a term date of January 2015. To get credit for my sick leave, I need to retire with total service and sick leave equaling a multiple of 174 hours? And, I’ll get a lump-sum payout from my annual leave of 912 hours at my current hourly rate?
Q. I am a federal employee planning to retire at the end of June, when I will have worked 39 years and one month. I have accrued 262 hours of sick leave and was told my sick leave would be attached to my retirement in increments of one month. I was also told that one month was valued at 22 days or 176 hours. If this is so, by my calculations, I would have 86 hours available to use at this point if I planned to carry 176 hours for additional retirement benefit. Of course, I will continue to accrue sick leave during these next two months while I am working. I just want to know how my sick leave is accounted for when it is added to my retirement. I want to make sure I don’t come up short of the month I have planned to add on.
Q. For personal reasons, I would like to leave the government prior to the end of the year but want my retirement date effective Jan. 11, 2014, to get full credit for my sick leave. Would it make sense to take leave without pay to bridge the time?
Q. I am a FERS employee with slightly more than 32 years of service and eligible to retire. I would like to hold off retiring until January, when I will receive full credit for my sick leave in computing my years of service. However, I may have the opportunity soon to move into a nonfederal position to start my second career this spring. Can I ask to go on leave without pay until January and delay my effective retirement date for about six to seven months? And, while on LWOP, can I work at this new job? If it makes a difference, I am a member of the SES.
Q. I’m 61 with about 18 years under FERS and 800 hours of sick leave. I quit my job with the post office in February 2012 and will defer my retirement until December, when I turn 62. Can I wait another month until January 2014 and receive 100 percent of sick leave value? Would this be a good move to make?
Q. I have heard a rumor that President Obama changed the Office of Personnel Management guidelines regarding the sale back of accrued sick leave. Do you know of such a change? I will be leaving federal service in August and have quite a bit of sick leave. I will not be retiring because I don’t have five years’ service.
Q. I was a nonappropriated funds government employee from 1979 to 1990 holding UA7, UA8 and UA9 positions (AAFES and Army NAF). I resigned in 1990 and have worked in the private sector since.
Now I plan to return to federal government employment as a GS5 or GS7.
How will my service time count toward retirement, and is it possible to repay my NAF pension funds into the system? Also, how will my accrued sick leave be handled?
Q. I have been a FERS employee since 1991. I heard that if I stay for about 42 years, my retirement benefit will be at its highest. Is this true?
Q. I am looking to retire from an 1811 federal law enforcement job at age 50 under FERS. Can I apply for another federal job upon retirement? If so, what are the restrictions regarding retirement, Thrift Savings Plan, vacation and sick leave?
Q. I plan to retire the end of this year under FERS and will be 67½. If I retire Dec. 31, that will be in the middle of a pay period. If I wait until Jan. 11, that will be the end of a pay period and I will get all of my sick leave counted toward retirement. If I wait until Jan. 11, will I lose all annual leave over 240 hours? I won’t be on the rolls for annuity until Feb. 1 or eligible for my first check March 1, I think. I was hoping that if I put in my retirement paperwork for Jan. 11, 2014, three months in advance, I would not lose the annual leave, but I don’t know.
Q. I retired from the Department of Housing and Urban Development on Jan. 3, 2007, after working there for 33½ years plus 1½ years of credit for accumulated sick leave. I elected to provide full survivor’s benefits to my wife.
Can I determine what my annuity would have been had I not elected to provide full survivor’s benefits to my wife? I know this information was provided to me before I decided to retire, but I cannot locate those documents.
Q. I work for USPS under FERS. On Feb. 4, 2015, I will be 57 and have 30 years of service. I will also have approximately six months of sick leave. Can I use my sick leave as days worked and retire six months earlier?
Q. I am a postal employee covered under FERS. I will have 33 years of service at my minimum retirement age in January 2016. I have a year’s worth of sick leave and hopefully this will continue to grow. In computing the special retirement supplement, will my service time include the year’s sick leave credit?
Q. I am medically retired from the military. I have 12.5 years of active duty from September 1991 to May 2004. I’ve worked for the Veterans Affairs Department since October 2006. I am only getting six hours for leave. Why is my service time not being used?
Q. What is the formula for calculating the FERS annuity percentage? I work for the Postal Service and have 28 years of service at age 53 (minimum retirement age 56). I heard the FERS annuity percentage was 1 percent x (high-3 average wages) x years of service. However, I also heard unused sick leave changes the percentage, and if you have over 2,080 hours saved and returned, it changes the percentage from 1 percent to 2 percent. I thought the unused sick leave only increased your years of service, but others tell me it increases the percentage.
Q. I am a law enforcement officer who has been out on workers’ compensation since June 2011. My scheduled retirement date is in July with 20 years of service at age 55. I’m being paid partial disability at this time. Since I haven’t been on the job since 2011, did annual and sick leave still accrue? What happens with workers’ comp after retirement?
Q. I’m a FERS employee preparing to retire at age 60 and 29 years of service. I have informed my human resources office and received the applications and an annuity estimate. I realize from reading your columns that the end of a pay period and month are good times to retire to receive the last annual leave increment and to begin the annuity on the first day of the following month. This year, a biweekly pay period ends on Saturday, June 1. However, that is not a work day in my agency. Can I retire on Friday, May 31 and accrue annual leave for the pay period? Would my annuity begin with an effective date of June 1?
Q. After 35 years with the federal government, I retired Feb. 29, 2012.
During my last full pay period, I used 16 hours of sick leave. I discovered after a call from OPM recently that a correction to my final sick leave balance was made by my former employing agency, modestly increasing my sick leave balance. OPM informed me today that after the correction, my sick leave balance was six hours short of the number of hours needed to bring my total creditable working hours up by one more full month.
After hearing this, I realize that had I used six hours LESS sick leave (instead of 16 hours) in my last full pay period in pay status, and used just 10 hours of sick leave plus six hours of annual leave for the time I took off during that last full pay period, I would have had enough creditable work hours to complete another full month toward the calculation of my annuity.
My question to you now is whether or not leave I used in my last full pay period can be recharacterized almost a year since retiring because that would initiate another updated correction to my sick leave balance, which would be forwarded to OPM via the National Finance Center, and subsequently permit a recalculation of my final annuity amount.
I was paid a lump sum for unused annual leave a few weeks after retiring but would gladly reimburse the agency for six of those hours if possible if a correction to my time and attendance report for the last full pay period could be done, allowing for a recharacterization of leave I used during my last full pay period, which would increase my annuity, even if only a little.
Q. I am a FERS transferee with more than 29 years in federal service.
When I transferred from CSRS to FERS in 1998, I had 103 hours of sick leave (under CSRS). I am planning to retire in 2014 and will have almost 1,700 hours of sick leave. I am being told that the only sick leave I will get credit for as a FERS transferee is the 103 hours of sick leave that was on the personnel action when I transferred — not the almost 1,700 hours of sick leave that have accumulated since. Can this be correct?