Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

Credit for military service in FERS retirement

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Q. I am a carrier with the USPS and recently paid back 14 years of active-duty military service toward my FERS retirement. I will be eligible for a Guard/reservist retirement at age 60. If I retire at age 62 from FERS and am applying the 14 years I bought back toward my annuity computation at that time, does it mean I have to waive my military retirement I will have been receiving since age 60? If so, to get two retirements I would only be using my Postal Service time for computation. Did I waste my time buying back the 14 years since I can only apply them toward one retirement? If this is true, can I still get the money back? Read the rest of this entry »

Minimum retirement age stipulations

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Q. I got out of the Coast Guard (honorable discharge if that matters) with 14 years of active-duty service. I worked for the Transportation Security Administration for eight months before settling into a position with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, where I bought my military time back. Can I combine my military time with my federal time to meet my minimum retirement age?  Read the rest of this entry »

Creditable civilian service

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Q. I am 65 and have been working for federal government (FERS system) since June 7, 2010. I also bought back three years of military service during the first four months I was working for federal government. I have a service comp date of 6/14/2007.  I want to retire, but when I called the Army Benefits Center, they said that I needed five years of creditable civilian service and that the three years I bought back did not go toward the five-year creditable civilian service. The Office of Personnel Management and other areas state that Military buyback time goes toward creditable service towards FERS. Will my military buyback service of three years go toward the five-year requirement to receive immediate benefits?   Read the rest of this entry »

Survivor annuity election

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Q. I will be retiring the end of May. My wife and I are both federal employees, and she will continue to work for another year and a half.  We are both FERS employees. We’re on the fence regarding a spousal annuity. If I were to leave her a full spousal annuity, would I be able to change that to a partial at a later date?  Read the rest of this entry »

Earned years toward retirement

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Q. I am a federal employee with the VAMC. My appointment is Excepted without time limit. I am currently a GS-8 supervisor with one year in my current position. I have been with the VA since August 2010. I also bought back my military time (4 years). My Service Comp Date is 07/2006. My husband was put on orders to Ft. Leavenworth for school from 06/2014-07/2015. My question is: If I have a break in service where I do not work for the federal government will I:
1) lose my earned years toward retirement?
2) will I lose my earned GS level for reemployment with the government?
3) would I lose my years that I bought back from the military?

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Social Security spousal benefit

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Q. I am 60 years old with a USPS pension (CSRS). I have earned 40 credits with side jobs to collect Social Security at age 62. My wife is 56. Can I get Social Security using her work record to increase what I get? Mine is $330/month before WEP. Please let me know the best scenario for me. Read the rest of this entry »

FERS and medical retirement

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Q. I am 67 years old and still working Civil Service with the Air Force. I was not planning on retiring anytime soon, but I fell at work, completely tore up my shoulder and will have to undergo reverse total shoulder replacement. I have been told this is a “career ender” and that I will be medically retired. I have been paying into FERS for 30+ years. I am drawing an allotment from the VA for Agent Orange diabetes mellitus. How do medical retirement and FERS and VA allotment work together? Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

FERS supplement after MRA

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Q. I retired at 52 under FERS as a law enforcement agent after 27 years of federal service. I immediately began my second career working outside federal government.  My monthly annuity includes the FERS supplement. I reached my minimum retirement age of 56 last month, but the supplement is still included in my monthly annuity.  I make more than the “needs tested” amount annually but am still receiving the FERS supplement.

Should the FERS Supplement disappear the month following your MRA birth month? Is it removed by OPM automatically, or does OPM continue to pay the supplement? How exactly is the FERS supplement needs tested? Is it incumbent upon me to notify OPM? How does this work? I don’t want to collect the payment if I’m not eligible, and I certainly don’t want to be surprised with a bill from OPM for these payments at the end of the year.  Read the rest of this entry »

CSRS deferred retirement

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Q. I was eligible for subject retirement at age 62 on Feb. 19, 2012, but I didn’t apply for it and am now applying at age 65. What will happen to the annuity I could have taken during the three years I was eligible but did not apply for? Read the rest of this entry »

Reserve time and federal civilian buyback

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Q. I have severed in the Air Force Reserves for 10 years. I have about three to four years of active duty time during that time in the reserves due to deployments and working extra days on military orders. If I buy back that time for my federal civilian position, how will that affect my retirement with the reserves should I go back in for my last 10 years in the reserves? Read the rest of this entry »

Air Reserve retirement

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Q. I’m an Air Reserve Technician with 33 years service. If I was to lose my military position due to no fault of my own, (ex. fitness) would I be able to retire and receive my supplement?

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CSRS annuity calculation and FERS

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Q. I switched from CSRS to FERS with about 10 years in CSRS and 25.5 yrs in FERS. When my service in CSRS is calculated, my total service, including 918 hours of frozen sick leave, equals 10 years 2 months and 17 days.  Is there any way to apply the 17 days to either credit service in CSRS or even FERS (17 days in CSRS is worth more than 34 days in FERS) or do I just lose the 17 days? 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 »

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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VA disability and FERS medical

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Q. I am a civilian FERS employee who received a work related injury.  Right now, I’m in the process of buying back my active military service (four years).  My injury is one that may eventually put me out on FERS medical retirement.  Can I collect federal medical retirement and VA disability?  Would it be beneficial for me to stop my military buyback? Read the rest of this entry »

Annuity reductions for survivor benefits

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Q. Ten percent  of retirement earned (i.e.30 years at age 55 = 56.25 of the high three) must be paid to give a wife the full survivor benefit.  What if the wife is 12 years younger?  Is it still 10 percent? Read the rest of this entry »

Retiring under MRA

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Q. I am 52 with 31 years of FERS service. If I retire now, would I still get the special retirement supplement when I turn 56?  Or is that only if I were offered a voluntary retirement?  Can I get my retirement now? What is the penalty given my age and years of service? Read the rest of this entry »

FERS MRA+10 and heath coverage

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Q. If my wife chose to retire now, at her minimum retirement age of 56 with 13 years of FERS service, would she be able to postpone her annuity until age 60?  She currently carries FEHB (self), as long as she has had it the last five years, can I pick her up under my FEHB (self+1 or family) once she retires and then when she becomes 60 she can reinstate her own self-plan at that point? Read the rest of this entry »

Disability and deferred retirement

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Q. I am a FERS employee with the Defense Logistics Agency and have 22 years of service. I turn 50 on Sept. 30. I am considering deferred retirement when I turn 50. What penalties would be applied if my minimum retirement age is 56? I am 100 percent  VA disabled total permanent, but not sure I want to go through another disability battle with OPM. Read the rest of this entry »