Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

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 »

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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Military deposit refund for CSRS

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Q. I am CSRS and presently employed be the Air Force. I paid my military deposit in full, and as I will never have Social Security quarters, I would like to have it refunded back to me. Although OPM cannot quote the regulation, they said that if I was still making payments on it I could request a refund but because it is paid in full I cannot. Can you quote the regulation that states that? Can you quote the regulation that says that I can have this refunded! Read the rest of this entry »

CSRS Offset, Social Security and WEP

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Q. I am 69 years old and will be 70 in December of this year. I was rehired by the government in January 2013 after a 31 year break in service. I had almost 12 years of prior service and I withdrew my CSRS retirement fund when I left the government in 1981. I am now planning to retire at the end of March of 2016 when my High-3 will be reestablished at my current GS12-10 salary. Since I have over 30 (consecutive) years of substantial earnings under Social Security, will the windfall elimination provision come into play when I retire?

Also, I did not repay the amount I withdrew in 1981, and additionally, I am currently collecting my Social Security benefit and have been since 2010. How will these circumstances effect my CSRS retirement and/or Social Security benefit when I finally retire at the date I mentioned? Read the rest of this entry »

Redeposit of CSRS

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Q. I am a CSRS Offset employee with almost 30 years of service. After my first period of civilian service (1981 through 1992), I was laid off during a RIF. I withdrew my CSRS deposit in 1992 and have not paid it back.

Can I still get retirement credit for my civilian service prior to March 1, 1991, and receive actuarial reduction versus paying back my withdrawal plus interest? Read the rest of this entry »

Credit for CSRS service

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Q. I joined the federal government on Dec. 19, 1983, under CSRS and later switched to FERS in January 1988. No social security was paid in from 1984 to 1987. I am planning to retire now, and this is my first and last job in the federal government.

Will my 4 years of service under CSRS ( 1984-1987) will be credited to FERS? Read the rest of this entry »

CSRS remarriage

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Q. I retired in 2009 at the age of 59. I was a Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) employee. I am drawing my pension and have never paid into the Social Security system. My future spouse will draw his full social security at age 66. If I understand correctly, if he should die before I do, I will never be eligible to draw his Social Security. Could this be possible since my annuity is twice as much as his Social Security?

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Life insurance

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Q. I have been retired from CSRS since 2004 with 34 years of service. It is my understanding that I have $25,000 in life insurance to be paid to my beneficiary when I die. That will most likely be my wife. How should she go about claiming the life insurance?

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Buying back LWOP for annuity calculation

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Q. At 19, I was recruited and placed into a civilian Defense Department position as a cooperative education student. I would be placed on leave without pay during periods when I was attending college and not working. This continued for five years. My start date was June 1980 and I finished my degree in August 1985. My service computation date is April 1982. Is there an option to buy those LWOP periods to bring my SCD to 1980?

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Phased retirement

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Q. I had heard that there might be an option to retire “gracefully,” e.g, work halftime for two years while also getting your retirement. I am under CSRS. Is this so?

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Military retirement deferment

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Q. I have read on your site where, in some instances, military retirees are told when they retire from there civilian job, they will be required to waive their military retired pay. At times, they are told they can receive both pensions. I am a National Guardsman with 24 years on active duty. I plan on accepting a federal position (GS). If I leave active duty and revert to M-Day (weekend duty) in the National Guard, buy back my years in the federal system and work for five to eight years until age 56½, will I be able to collect both pensions upon retirement? Will I collect a federal pension at 56½ and have to wait until age 60 for military pension? If, before age 56½, I go back on active duty for a year, how will that be affected?

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Terminal leave and creditable service

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Q. I was hired by a federal agency while on terminal leave from the Army. Is this creditable service toward retirement from the federal agency?

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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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11 questions on military buyback

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Q. 1. How are the days of active-duty service calculated?

2. Is that a one-to-one credit added to years of service?

3. Can you buy it back after you retire and adjust the annuity accordingly?

4. Can you buy back portions of it?

5. Can you pay in installments?

6. What percentage of military pay per year would you get in retirement? For CSRS, it is roughly 2 percent based on high-3; would it be calculated on actual salary back then or adjusted for inflation?

7. Any chance for a retroactive payment once established?

8. Will I lose any benefits if I do this?

9. Can I do this if I was not in the military long enough to earn a pension?

10. How does Social Security fit into this picture?

11. Can I get all three (FERS/CSRS, Social Security, military/Defense Department) separately? What is the penalty for collecting multiple pensions if done separately?

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NTE position and VSIP eligibility

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Q. Would I be eligible for a Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay if offered? I am 57 and will have 33 years of service under CSRS in June. I took an NTE position in 2009 that ended in Sept 2011 and was unemployed from Sept. 30, 2011, to June 2012, when I was reinstated. Because I had the break in service — and since that break have been working less than three years continuously, would that make me ineligible for a buyout?

Also, is there a limit on how many times you can be turned down for a VSIP or any recourse after multiple times while others get approved for it?

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Drawing Social Security while still working: CSRS

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Q. I work for the Postal Service with 35 years of service, covered under CSRS and I turned 62 in June. I have 40 quarters of work in under Social Security. Can I file to draw my Social Security benefits while I am still working full time under CSRS, since they get offset to almost nothing when I retire?

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Survivor annuity and Social Security

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Q. I am a 2012 CSRS retiree. My wife will soon be eligible for Social Security retirement, as she is closing in on the 40 quarters benchmark. When I die, and she receives the CSRS survivor monthly benefit, will her own Social Security retirement benefit be affected by the windfall elimination provision? (Her Social Security benefit will be minimal, having just reached the 40 quarters).

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Military retirement + civilian retirement

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Q. I left active duty after 14 years and joined the reserves. Due to my specialty in certain investigations (CID agent), I was involuntary mobilized prior to obtaining a civilian (1811) job. I was mobilized for four continuous years, bringing my active-duty time to 18 years. Once off active duty, I was able to report for my first day of work as an 1811 in the GS. Since I was not eligible for active-duty retirement, I was able to use my 18 years for sick/vacation time. My unit is planning to mobilize this year (for a year), and my plan is to mobilize and hope to stay on until reaching 20 active-duty years, thereby clinching an active-duty retirement. If I buy the 18 years back now for the GS civilian job, and then I mobilize for two years, would I be eligible for the active-duty retirement since I will have reached 20 years?

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State taxes

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Q. I am going to be a retired CSRS employee. The Postal Service does not take state taxes out of the CSRS retirement check. How do I go about paying my state taxes?

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Annuity reduction

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Q. I turned 60 on May 17. As of this past November, I have 27 years as a fed. If I retired now, with less than 30 years, is there a penalty? How much?

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