By Reg Jones
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 »
Q. I have a unique situation that I would appreciate some clarification on regarding the FERS Special Retirement Provision. I am a current federal law enforcement officer with 12 years of creditable code M coverage. Prior to becoming a federal employee, I was an air traffic controller in the military. I now have an opportunity to change my position to become a GS-2152 air traffic controller with the Defense Department. My question, since both law enforcement officer and air traffic controller positions have special retirement provisions, is how would my retirement calculation be handled? Would I still be able to retire under special provisions at 20 years/50 yrs old?
Q. I have been a FERS employee since 1985 and this year will have 28 years of Social Security substantial earnings.
I was born in the U.K., a U.K. citizen, and worked there in the 1970s before marrying and emigrating to the U.S. with my U.S. Navy husband. I am now eligible to receive a U.K. state pension, 10 years of which are based on employment.
I am now told that my U.K. pension is subject to the windfall elimination provision, as those 10 years are not covered by Social Security. This seems grossly unfair as, at the time I earned my U.K. salary, I was not a U.S. citizen, resident or employee, and had no intentions of becoming one.
Q. 1. I have three years of active duty in the Army from 1976 to 1979. I have been a federal employee in the Indian Health Service for 2½ years. I am at GP Grade 12, Step 3. I receive a basic pay and a locality pay. My service computation date for leave is May 8, 2008. My retirement plan is FERS and FICA. FLSA category is exempt.
I have recently learned that I can buy back my military time in active duty, but I do not understand what this means. What exactly am I buying back, and how is this reflected on my retirement?
2. At this time, my position occupied is competitive service. After three years as a federal employee, your position occupied will convert to career status. If I buy back my time in the military, will those three years of active duty be added to my 2½ years of federal employment to bring me to a total of 5½ years, putting me into career status?
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?
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?
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?
Q. If a fed changes agencies or takes a new position and has less than five years of service when making that change, would they be shifted to the new 4.4 percent contribution since they would be hired after 2014 into their new agency/position? Is the five-year rule meant for noncontinuous service, or does it apply to continuous, as well?
February 21st, 2014 | Benefits Creditable service: FERS DOWNSIZING Earnings test FERS annuity computation High-3 PAY RETIREMENT service computation date SOCIAL SECURITY Special retirement supplement VERA
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?
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?
Q. I am a FERS federal employee and I turn 62 in March. Can I draw my Social Security at 62 (worked in industry for 27 years and have been a federal work for 15 years) and still keep working for the federal government? I would like to work until I am 66 to get a higher amount of retirement from the federal government. I realize I would have to pay taxes on the Social Security since I would be making more than what is allowed and it is considered income and I would get a reduced amount for the rest of my life by taking it at 62.
February 21st, 2014 | Benefits Creditable service: CSRS Creditable service: FERS CSRS annuity computation EMPLOYMENT FERS annuity computation High-3 Military service deposits PAY Re-employment RETIREMENT SOCIAL SECURITY taxes Windfall elimination provision
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?
Q. Does my wife have to sign up for Medicare? If so, when does she have to sign up? And, if my wife does not sign up for Medicare, will she incur any penalty?
Scenario: I am a working FERS employee and my wife still works. She is not a government employee. I have self-and-family Federal Employees Health Benefits coverage. I am not yet age 65. My wife will turn 65 this year.
Q. I noticed you can retire during a reduction in force at below the minimum retirement age with 25 years of service. However, I’ve also read that those people are not entitled to the special retirement supplement since they are below MRA. Can they be paid the supplement once they reach MRA, even though previously retired?
Q. I am under FERS, working for the Postal Service. If I retire at age 59 and receive the special retirement supplement, will it affect my future Social Security benefit at age 62? Will not claiming any income and not paying into Social Security for three years lower my future benefit when I do collect at 62? Does the future benefit lock in when you begin collecting the supplement?
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?
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?
Q. I retired on a Voluntary Early Retirement Authority in January 2013. I turned 56 on Feb. 6. I understand I am eligible for the special retirement supplement. Do I need to notify/contact someone to get this processed? How long before I start receiving this benefit?
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.
Q. I’m 61 (born in 1952) and am retiring this year at age 62. Beginning in 1970, I served three years of active duty in the Navy, 10 years in the Reserve, 16 years of active-duty reserves. I retired to the fleet reserve in 1999, which delayed my retirement pay to age 60 (2012). I joined the Postal Service in 2001. At that time, I entered FERS and did military buyback. With my Navy and postal time, postal computation shows I have 30 years this year and am eligible to retire from the Postal Service. Will I be able to receive both Naval Reserve retirement and Postal Service retirement, or am I only eligible to collect Postal Service retirement?