Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

Retirement annuity after job switch

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Q. I have recently retired from an air traffic controller job, collecting a retirement annuity from the government. I am 55 years old and was wondering if I can now get a job with another government agency (Homeland Security) and still retain my retirement annuity. Is there anything written about this, and where would I find it?

A. Whether you can get a job with another agency is up to them. As a rule, your new salary would be offset by the amount of your annuity. However, there are limited authorities that allow an annuitant to receive both his annuity and his full salary. Before you accept a job, you’ll have to be sure which rule applies. If you find a position that allows you to receive both, when you retire again, your annuity won’t be recomputed to include that new period of service.

Unpaid non-deposit

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Q. A friend is in her 48th year of federal service and has not, to date, paid the non-deposit for her first three years of employment. Once she passed 41 yrs 11 months of federal employment, a deduction for the non-deposit began to be deducted from her check. Is this the usual protocol in this situation? Will she be able to repay her non-deposit before she retires, now that this has happened? Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

Service separation bonus and annuity computation

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Q. I have 14 years and 8 months of active Army service. In 1993, when Regan was initiating draw down of troops and instituted SSB (Service Separation Bonus),
I received a Service Separation Bonus in 1993′s drawdown of $40,000 before taxes and separated from the Army in Sept. 1993. In June 1995, I entered the federal service as a full time Civilian Government Employee working for the Army Material Command where I work today. At the end of this month, I will have 18 years and 9 months as a federal government worker. I am currently 56 years old.

Would it be more beneficial to add my active military service time to my federal government service time in order to receive a higher pension upon retirement? And if so, will I have to “pay back” the SSB I received in 1993? In general, my annuity would be based on the following formula: .01 x (your high-3) x (your years and full months of service). If I use this formula, then I would require a deposit, correct? Read the rest of this entry »

Lump sum annual leave payout

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Q. I retired from the USDA Forest Service at the end of PP-26 (1-11-2014). I had 442 hours of annual leave and 15 credit hours at the time of my retirement.  All of this lump sum time was paid out at the 2013 pay rate.  From everything I had read, I thought these hours should have been paid out at the 2014 (1 percent pay raise) rate. Should these hours been paid at the ’13 or ’14 pay rate?

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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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Planning for retirement

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Q. I will be 62 the end of June this year. I am in FERS, would like to retire this year and am trying to make a sound decision regarding what date would be best.
1) I have 918 sick hours accumulated. Will they convert 100% into service time?
2) When trying to calculate how much I will get for retirement, is it based on basic pay or total pay with locality adjustment?
3) Is there any penalty if I retire at age 62 if I have less than 20 years of FERS service?
4) Is there any offset with Social Security? Read the rest of this entry »

Overseas direct deposit

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Q. I would like my FERS retirement monthly benefits direct deposited to my overseas account. What foreign countries does OPM allow direct deposit of retirement benefits? Is the Philippines on the list? Read the rest of this entry »

Pay for reinstatement-eligible candidate

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Q. If someone is reinstated into a federal position, is it the same step as well as grade that they were when they resigned? I have 15 years additional professional experience since I resigned from the federal government. When I resigned I was a GS-11, step 4. However my current salary with a defense contractor is in line with a GS-11 step 10 salary. If I am reinstated, am I entitled to be compensated as close to my current salary without exceeding it or at the step I was at when I resigned (GS 11 step 4). Read the rest of this entry »

FERS Pension after buyout

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Q. I worked for the federal government as a FERS employee for 14 years and then took a buyout and left my position. Will I receive my full pension at age 62 based on my high-3 at the time I left? Read the rest of this entry »

CSRS offset and Social Security

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Q. As a CSRS offset employee, I am aware that the CSRS benefit will be reduced at age 62. If I choose not to claim Social Security benefits at age 62 and wait until my full retirement age of 66, will my SS benefit increase as it would under standard SS practices? 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 »

Annuitant considering rehire

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Q. I retired from the federal government in 2007, receive an annuity and would like to come back to work for the federal government as a rehire. Federal job applications have a section entitled “Who May Apply.” If the position advertises for “United States Citizens,” am I eligible to apply as an annuitant?
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Traditional and Roth TSP

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Q. I am 58 years old and employed by the U.S. Post Office. I have a traditional Thrift Savings Plan account and would like to start contributing to a Roth TSP.  I cannot withdraw the Roth portion (without penalty) until five years after my account is opened, what happens if I want to withdraw some of my traditional TSP at age 60?  Will the withdrawal include amounts from both the traditional TSP and the Roth? Read the rest of this entry »

Civil Service Retired tax question

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Q. My father retired from civil service in 1987.  Box 2a “Taxable amount” on his form 1099-R says the taxable amount is “unknown.”  My tax program asks for an amount.  How do I find out what the taxable amount is? Read the rest of this entry »

CSRS annuitant considering reemployment

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Q. I’ve read where normally one’s salary is cut by the amount of annuity he or she is receiving, but what happens if the new salary is less than the existing annuity? Read the rest of this entry »

Annuity payments

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Q. I have been receiving a monthly annuity payment after the death of my husband 3½ years ago. Would it be possible to receive the balance in a lump sum now, or do I have to continue getting the monthly payments?

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Spousal annuity and dual career FERS employees

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Q. My wife and I are both federal employees nearing retirement. What are the pros and cons of deciding not to have a spousal annuity for either one of us since we will have our own benefits, including our own Thrift Savings Plans and Social Security?

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VERA pros and cons

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Q. I am a FERS employee working for the Department of Agriculture. I have been offered a job outside of the government and am trying to see the pros and cons of leaving. I am a FERS employee with a service computation date of Aug. 17, 1986, and am 46 years old. If I apply for Voluntary Early Retirement Authority, what would the disadvantages or advantages be?

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Law enforcement and SRS eligibility

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Q. I am eligible for a 30-year retirement in July at age 50. If I do not get another job, I am eligible for a special retirement supplement due to the mandatory early retirement that federal law officers must take.

If I don’t work for, say, six months and then get a job in the private sector and work two years, or if I get a job immediately upon retirement and only work a couple of years, will I still be eligible for the supplement after leaving the private sector?

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