By Reg Jones
Q. I’m age 50 with 25 years of non-Postal service under FERS. If I have a medical condition that qualifies me for disability retirement, will I still be covered under FEHB after retiring on disability? I would only pay my portion of the premium as if I am still employed, correct? I have been enrolled in Federal Employees Health Benefits my entire career.
And would I still receive the special retirement supplement when I hit my minimum retirement age of 56, even though I am retired on disability?
Q. I am a CSRS Postal Service employee, and I understand that to carry Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance coverage into retirement, I must be enrolled for five years prior to retirement. I am enrolled in the basic coverage, as well as Option B. I am considering eliminating the Option B coverage but do not want to do anything that may have an adverse effect upon retirement. If I eliminate the Option B coverage but retain the Basic coverage, will I be allowed to choose any optional coverage at the time of my retirement, or must I be enrolled in the specific optional coverage for five years to carry it into retirement?
Q. I am a FERS-covered firefighter with a retirement date of Dec. 30.
I have been on the job since Dec. 30, 1984 (at retirement, I will have 29 years and one day) and I am 49. I have easily met the FERS firefighter retirement requirement of 25 years, any age.
I know the mandatory retirement age is 57 (I don’t need to concern myself with that).
I have been informed to be prepared for three to four months (potentially up to six months) before I would receive a “full/normal” retirement check.
I have recently started a small business which will be my self-employment after the fire department retirement.
I have read that I would be exempt from the “earnings test” as it pertains to the special retirement supplement reduction until I reach the minimum retirement age.
1. Is there a minimum retirement age for firefighters? If so, what is that age?
2. Have I already passed that age?
3. Is there a limit on what I can make in my self-employment and still draw the Social Security supplement?
4. Is three to four months (or more) to receive a “full/normal” retirement check a true/realistic time frame?
5. Is it true that “scheduled/mandatory” overtime is to be included along with the high-3 calculations?
Q. I am 55. I wish to stop working for the government in three years, when I will be 58. I will have 26 years under FERS. I have approximately 2,000 hours of sick leave. Can I defer my retirement and submit for retirement at age 60? Would I lose my sick time, or would it be credited?
Q. I am a Postal Service employee in maintenance as an electrical technician. I have 23 years of service at age 56. Our office is going through an accelerated plant closing. I received a letter of involuntary reassignment (no date given) in May. There are no ET jobs within 50 miles of our office (limit on excessing under American Postal Workers Union contract). Under the contract, I can be forced into a lower-level job, (window clerk, city carrier, custodian) up to 50 miles away with saved grade and retreat rights. Can I qualify for a discontinued service retirement? If not, what do I need to qualify? I would like to retire without penalty. Otherwise, I need to work until I am age 60. Are there any other options I don’t know about?
Q. I am a FERS employee. I am 57 with 26 years of service.
1. Do I get annuity computation for sick leave? If so, how is it computed?
2. I was born in 1956. What is my minimum retirement age, and how much service should I have under the MRA?
3. What happens with my annual and sick leave when I retire?
4. When should I start preparing my paperwork for my retirement?
5. My agency is going through a reorganization. We have the options for early retirement, buyout, being reassigned to New York or Boston (I live in D.C.), or leave the agency. Would the above actions make me eligible for the discontinued service retirement? Would I be penalized for every year I’m under 62?
Q. I have 22 years in federal service under FERS and am 56 years old. I have held Tricare Prime under my retired spouse for over five years and Blue Cross/Blue Shield under my position for four years. If I take early retirement, can I carry my insurance into retirement? Do I meet the conditions to receive the special retirement supplement until I reach age 62? If not, under what conditions could I receive the special retirement supplement that would carry until I reach my Social Security age?
Q. I plan to retire in 2014 with a CSRS pension. Will my spouse’s Social Security benefits be reduced when I begin to receive my CSRS pension?
I do not have sufficient quarters to qualify for Social Security. My wife has never been employed by the federal government and has only held jobs in the private sector where she has paid into Social Security. She meets the eligibility requirements to receive Social Security benefits, and she intends to apply to receive her Social Security benefits this season.
Q. I have worked for the Postal Service for 26 years. I just turned 50. I am under FERS. If I decided to retire at the end of the year, how would I calculate what my annuity will be? Additionally, if there were another early-out offer from the Postal Service, how would I benefit from that rather than retiring outside of the offer?
Q. I’m 55, with 29 years of federal service, of which only 16 is creditable to retirement under FERS because I have never repaid my active-duty time. I am being separated due to medical reasons. I have retired on the reserve side, and so can’t remain on the civil service side. I have applied for priority placement within the local commuting area but have not received an appointment. Am I eligible for, and at what point will I receive severance pay? According to personnel, I can’t receive retirement until 62, unless I repay the active-duty time.
Note: My letter stated that I was being removed through no fault of my own, that I was eligible for immediate unreduced retirement annuity based on my federal service. Under normal circumstances, I would receive a full year of continued employment as a civilian in what was my current slot. But I was denied that year of employment based on the full 29 years which supposedly made me eligible for retirement, but I was told I could not apply for retirement based on the actual creditable time. I want to know if this was correct.
Q. I am a CSRS Offset retiree. I attended more than one pre-retirement seminar and was given examples of my retirement situation, along with reassurances that my retirement would closely follow the examples and that I was very fortunate to be CSRS Offset, and would be very happy.
I was told to check with Social Security to find out about my offset. Neither the Office of Personnel Management nor Social Security could know the exact amounts until I retired.
Following my retirement, everything, except Social Security, was in disorder for six months. OPM explained that they had to check with SS about the calculation of my offset, and that took some time. When I contacted SS, they said there was no offset for me because of my lengthy employment history and more than 30 years of SS payments (and I paid both CSRS and SS amounts since 1983).
The bottom line is, at the pre-retirement seminar, I was shown and walked through one method for calculating the offset and told that there was also another and that the one with the lowest amount would be used to determine my offset. My eventual monthly OPM payments were about $1,000 a month less than those demonstrated in the example based on all that was known about my salary and SS payment history at the pre-retirement seminar. I realize that the pre-retirement amount could be off a little, but $1,000/month is a lot. Each time I tried to sort this out, I was told by SS that there was no offset, and I was told by OPM that they used the offset given to them by SS.
To this date, this matter has never been satisfactorily explained and resolved. SS even sent me a letter stating that I was not subject to any offset, and OPM continues to state that my pension offset was based on the information supplied to them by SS. Can you supply me with someone to walk me through the calculations that were apparently so far from real?
Q. My husband will retire under CSRS. I will retire under FERS.
Concerning survivor benefits: If we elect to have a reduced annuity in each of our retirements for the spouse, will that spouse receive the maximum survivor annuity plus their own federal retirement upon the death of the other spouse? In other words, can a spouse simultaneously receive a survivor annuity and their own federal retirement pension? Are there any penalties or reductions because we both work for the federal government?
Q. My planned retirement date is Jan. 11. Will I forfeit my use-or-lose leave?
Q. I am a FERS employee with a service computation date of March 30, 1986, and a retirement SCD of Feb. 4, 1982 (I had 4+ years of active duty, for which I made a military deposit.)
My birthday is Feb. 15, 1959, so I will be 55 in February 2014 and 56 in February 2015.
If I were to receive and accept a Voluntary Early Retirement Authority offer in 2014, would I still receive the special retirement supplement until I turn 62? If so, would it start immediately when I retired, or would I need to wait until I turned 56?
December 5th, 2013 | annuity reduction Coverage after retirement discontinued service retirement EMPLOYMENT FEHBP HEALTH INSURANCE MRA + 10 PAY Postal Service Postponed retirement Re-enrollment RETIREMENT Special retirement supplement
Q. I have been told by the Office of Personnel Management that if I postpone my retirement until age 60, I would be penalized for every year I am under 62 and will not be eligible for the special retirement supplement.
I am 59½ with more than 28 years in the Postal Service. Our facility is consolidating, and our jobs are at stake. I am a clerk and do not want a carrier position because of my health. I plan on retiring in February to reach my 60th birthday. If I don’t accept a carrier position, can I:
1. Take an involuntary discontinued retirement; or
2. Retire and postpone my annuity until 60
I want to receive the special retirement supplement and no penalty on annuity.
Q. When I reach age 56, I will have 20 years of federal employment. I realize I can retire at MRA + 10 with a reduced benefit of 30 percent. Can I defer or postpone my retirement to age 60, qualify under the 60/20 and not take a reduced benefit? Also, how does this affect my health benefits? Do I purchase my own health insurance and then re-enroll when I apply for my annuity?
Q. I am looking at retiring in September 2014 at age 57 years and five months. I will have 34 years in FERS and a little less than a year of sick leave to convert. I have $359,000 in my Thrift Savings Plan account. I am single, never married. What are my best options? I am located in an isolated area and am unable to attend any retirement seminars, especially now with the budget issues.
Q. I have 12 years of full-time employment and am MRA +10. Instead of retiring outright, I was thinking of going to half-time for a year or two. I understand my share of health insurance premiums will go up dramatically while I am employed part-time, but what will happen when I finally retire? Will my share go back to the full-time amount, or will I continue to pay the extra half? This is a major part of my decision to stay on because my pension would barely cover the increased amount.
December 4th, 2013 | Creditable service: FERS discontinued service retirement DOWNSIZING FERS annuity computation Minimum retirement age Reductions in force RETIREMENT Special retirement supplement VERA
Q. I am a FERS employee. If my command is offering a Voluntary Early Retirement Authority and I retire at the any age and 25 years of service (I am 47 years old and have more than 25 years of service):
1. Will I get my special retirement supplement along with my retirement pay? Or will I not be entitled to the supplement?
2. If my command has a reduction in force instead, will I be able to get my severance pay plus voluntary retirement with my retirement plus the supplement until my MRA?
Q. I was born in 1958 and would like to retire from the federal government with 10 years of service at age 57. Would I be eligible for the special retirement supplement?