Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

Sick leave

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Q. I have an estimate of 13 years, three months and eight days service credit. I have 43 hours of sick leave accrued. I’ll accrue 40 more by retirement. Would I be better off using them as needed for medical appointments as they will not add any time to service credit?

A. Assuming that your numbers are correct, those hours wouldn’t add up to the 174 needed to create an additional month and be used in your annuity computation.

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Service credit and sick leave

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Q. I am a FERS employee with 32 years of service credit. I was in CSRS for 5 years, 10 months and 28 days. I left the government but came back 3 years later as a FERS employee. When I retire I will have 28 days of CSRS service credit and 25 days of FERS Service Credit. Will 7 days of my excess sick leave (56 hours) be applied to my remaining days of 23 to give me an extra month toward retirement?

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Sick leave at retirement

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Q. Is there a limit to how much sick leave you can turn in at retirement?

A. If you mean is there a limit on how much unused sick leave can be used in the computation of your annuity after you meet the age and service requirement so to retire, the answer is no. There isn’t any limit.

Credit for annual and sick leave

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Q. I am currently planning on retiring on May 31, 2014. Will this allow me to me to get my full annual and sick leave earned during the preceding two weeks? Also, will it allow me to be on the annuity rolls starting in June 2014? I currently have 240 hours of annual leave computed through Jan. 11, 2014. Will this leave, along with any annual leave amassed from Jan. 12, 2014, through my retirement date, be combined for buyout purposes? I also will have 1,420 sick-leave hours earned, and I assume that it will be applied to my total longevity, bringing it up by approximately eight months. Read the rest of this entry »

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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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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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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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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Sick leave and retirement

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Q. I’m FERS and will have 28 years and nine months in at my minimum retirement age of 56. I have a sick leave balance of 2,819 hours (I’ve never used any sick leave in my whole career). I’m 54 now and will work at least until 56. My sick leave credit will give me more time toward my FERS annuity (approximately 30 years). Does the sick leave give me 30 toward the special retirement supplement if I go at my MRA, or do I need to work until I have 30 years of service, which is three years from now. My hire date is Aug. 2, 1986.

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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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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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Unused sick leave, creditable service and annuity computation

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Q. I am planning to retire at the end of pay period 26, which is Jan. 10, 2015. I will have 13 years, 11 months and 20 days of service. I will be 10 days short of 14 years of service. If I have 80 hours of unused sick leave, will that cover the 10 days to get 14 years of service?

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Sick leave

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Q. I have about 700 hours of sick leave and can retire from CSRS the normal way. However, I am presently off of work and could use my sick leave until I retire.

Should I retire now and apply the sick leave time to my pension, or use the sick leave up and then retire?

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Sick leave and FERS annuity computation

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Q. I am covered by FERS. At my minimum retirement age of 56, I will have 28 years of federal service and approximately one year’s worth of unused sick leave. My understanding is that if I retire at that point, my annuity will be reduced by 35 percent – 5 percent for every year I am under 62. Is there any way I can avoid this age reduction to my annuity other than:

1. Continuing in federal service until I am 58, at which point I will have 30 years of service without counting any unused sick leave, or

2. Postponing receipt of my annuity until I am age 60?

For example, what if I wait to retire until I am 57, at which point I will have 30 years of service including my unused sick leave. Could I retire at that point and start receiving my annuity without an age reduction at some point before I am 60?

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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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Best retirement date

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Q. I have read a number of articles noting the best dates to retire in 2014. For example, I have seen March 22 and Dec. 28. As a GS-13 FERS employee who will have about 32 years of service at age 61 as of Dec. 28, does it really make that much of a difference to wait until Dec. 28 versus March 22 (at which time I will already be 60) in terms of my FERS annuity? I have about 1,800 hours of sick leave, have been maximizing my Thrift Savings Plan contribution most of my career, and I was eligible for buyout this past October. I’m thinking it’s time to go in 2014.

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Postponing, deferring and unused sick leave

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Q. I intend to retire from government civilian service at age 60 under MRA + 10. At the time of my retirement, I will have 15 years of service. Accordingly, as I understand it, I will be eligible to defer or postpone my retirement annuity until age 62, thereby bypassing the age reduction penalty. Would I lose any of my accumulated sick hours (currently 1,200 hours) under either the deferred or postponed retirement programs?

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