By Reg Jones
Q. I retired, I believe, under the MRA + 10 program, at the end of my member’s term. I have a total of 13 + years with the House of Representatives. I get a small annuity. I may have an opportunity to return to full-time service with the Department of Homeland Security. How will that affect my retirement? I assume the annuity would go away but am not sure how the health care would be handled. And I have been retired almost five years now. Will this new position accrue along with my previous 13 (since they were with the House and not GS)?
Q. I am nearing 41 years and 10 months of CSRS service. I plan to continue working for another six years. I have been told that no service beyond 41-10 will count toward my high-3. If that is correct, it seems unfair, especially given zero raises in the past three years.
Q. I retired Jan. 3 from the Department of Health and Human Services/Indian Health Service with almost 45 years of service. My entrance on duty was May 3, 1969. I am covered under CSRS. I was expecting to receive my first annuity check Feb. 1. However, there was no electronic deposit in my bank account. I tried calling the Office of Personnel Management, but all I got was a busy signal. Therefore, I contacted OPM via email. I haven’t heard back from them as the automatic response I got indicated that it could take up to 30 days to respond.
I also contacted my human resources folks where I worked and was told that I was expecting too much from OPM. They indicated that OPM does their calculations in 30-day increments. Since I retired on Jan. 3, I did not meet the 30-day increment. They said that OPM would be working on my annuity during February and that I “might” receive an interim annuity check on March 1. However, they couldn’t guarantee it.
I did review the “best” date to retire and all the information I reviewed did indicate that Jan. 3 would be the “best” date to retire since I would not only get credit for the holiday but that I would also receive credit for the entire month of January. I did receive my lump-sum annual leave with my last paycheck, and this was extremely helpful. I am wondering how long I will have to wait for my first annuity check. My last earnings and leave statement indicated that my retirement data was sent to OPM on Jan. 27.
Q. When I retire under CSRS, I will not have state taxes taken out of my check. How do I know how much to pay the state? Do I pay quarterly or yearly? Where do I find the information?
February 10th, 2014 | annuity reduction Benefits Creditable service: CSRS CSRS annuity computation EMPLOYMENT Military service deposits part-time PAY RETIREMENT SOCIAL SECURITY Windfall elimination provision
Q. I served three years on active duty from 1966 to 1969. I was hired as a federal employee in 1970. I retired in 2009 at age 61 and not eligible at that time for any Social Security benefits. I did not buy back my military service because of the provision under section 22A5.1-3G of the CSRS/FERS Handbook, where it states that “employees who retired prior to age 62; and are not eligible for Social Security at age 62; continue to receive credit for the post-1956 military service even if they become entitled to Social Security at a later date and the military deposit was not made.”
Because of some part-time work I have been doing over the past four years, I am now eligible for Social Security benefits. If I apply for such benefits, will it affect my CSRS annuity? I understand that the windfall elimination provision will apply to me.
Q. Is there a plan where civil service employees who are 65/66 years old with only five years of civil service will be eligible to receive any retirement benefits? I did not start my civil service time until September 2010 at age 63. I was given approximately nine months credit for my Vietnam time, bringing my service computation date to Nov. 6, 2009.
Q. I began work for the Department of Agriculture in April 1957, and continued until Oct. 24, 1957, when I was drafted into the Army. I was honorably discharged Oct. 23, 1959, and returned to work for the USDA, where I continued to work until I retired Oct. 31, 2006. During my tenure with the USDA, I was covered under CSRS.
I have spoken to several federal employees about my retirement. Since I retired with more than 41 years and nine months under CSRS but continued to pay my Medicare until my retirement date of Oct. 31, 2006, they told me that I was entitled to a refund for these payments.
Q. I was a postal worker for 12 years when I was injured on the job in 2001 and am now collecting workers’ compensation. Would I receive any retirement benefits at age 65?
Q. I just received my first interim annuity check from the Office of Personnel Management for my CSRS firefighter retirement. They did not provide me with the percentage of the full payment that they sent. The check was less than 60 percent of what I believe I should be receiving. What should I do if OPM sends me a check that they claim is 100 percent of what I will receive but is much less than what I believe I should receive? How will I know if OPM properly included special firefighter provisions?
January 28th, 2014 | Creditable service: CSRS Creditable service: FERS CSRS annuity computation Deferred retirement EMPLOYMENT FEHBP FERS annuity computation HEALTH INSURANCE High-3 LIFE INSURANCE PAY Postal Service Re-enrollment RETIREMENT
Q. I am a 60 percent disabled veteran, so I earn a disability income. When I started work at the Postal Service, I bought my military time back so it would count toward retirement, so my service date is Sept. 1, 2001 (actually started in 2006). I am 46 years old now and I am looking to leave the USPS within three to four years. What options do I have for retirement? Could you explain deferred annuity and any other options available to me?
Q. I have tried numerous times to buy back or pay back for my military service so it can be used to civilian retirement. Each time I have been denied. What is the proper way to do this? How do I find out how much it will cost me each paycheck? And normally how long does it take? I was in the Army from August 1972 (months of delay entry) to December 1986.
I am now employed by the government in civilian service position (GS). I understand the time presently is going to leave only, and not my retirement. I would like to pay this back so when I can retire, it will be included.
Q. My accountant, a CPA, has a question about the Form W-4P (withholding Certificate for Pension or Annuity Payments) where it states to put down the “additional amount, if any, you want withheld from each pension or annuity payment.” He is asking me to tell him how much of my monthly pension payment is not taxable. My human resources specialist has given me a federal retirement benefits estimate if I retire from the federal government March 3. My total CSRS annual net retirement annuity is estimated to be $128,412, and my monthly annuity after health insurance premiums are deducted is estimated to be $10,701. How much of that monthly net pension is not taxable?
It is my understanding that my cumulative CSRS retirement contributions, which are listed on my civilian leave and earnings statement are my after-tax contributions to my retirement.
Q. I’m a Defense Department employee who was initially hired part time under CSRS in 1979, but elected to switch to FERS. At that time, I’m not sure if I was refunded the money I put into CSRS. I’m showing eight years of frozen service (with no mention of CSRS Offset), Thrift Savings Plan eligibility date of July 11, 1993, TSP service computation date of Jan. 1, 1984, and TSP status date of July 11, 1993.
The first entry I’m seeing in my FERS account is dated Feb. 1, 1988. Am I eligible for a CSRS retirement annuity for the eight years of frozen service, or am I only entitled to a FERS annuity for all of my years of service?
Q. Have military retirees ever had to waive their military retirement pay just to accept a federal job?
Q. I withdrew my CSRS for a bit of service with the Postal Service in 1990. I then was rehired by the Postal Service and have just retired. I redeposited $2,818 to make my annuity about $100 more per month. That withdrawal didn’t affect my years of service, just the annuity amount. Can I deduct that redeposit somehow from my federal tax return for this year?
Q. I have worked 39 continuous years as a CSRS employee and am in the process of getting divorced from my wife of 37 years. We will be dividing the CSRS pension. My wife has sufficient Social Security quarters in the private sector that she will receive a Social Security retirement benefit based on her own record. Her lawyer and the Social Security office in Alabama say that she will incur a government pension offset because she is receiving a pension from which she didn’t pay Social Security. I think they are actually calling this a Social Security Offset. I’ve explained that this shouldn’t apply as she didn’t earn this pension and the GPO only applies to me. I contacted the Office of Personnel Management and have read your blogs on this question and both say her Social Security retirement wouldn’t be affected. What is the correct answer, and is there any direction or publications I can reference to steer us to the right answer?
Q. I am a CSRS employee planning to retire in 2015. I’ll retire in May or September, depending on when a full year at my highest step will be included in my high-3. September 2015 is the month of my 56th birthday, as well as the anniversary of my 38th year of federal service. I’ll receive my final within-grade increase in May 2014, after having been three years at the previous step. As far as high-3 is concerned, will one full year at the highest step be included in the high-3 on the anniversary of the WIGI in May, or on the anniversary of my entry on duty with the federal government?
Q. My wife is retired under CSRS and does not have the 40 credits to qualify for Social Security on her own. Can she qualify for Social Security benefits as my spouse? If she does, will the Social Security simply offset her CSRS annuity?
Q. How does time spent on workers’ compensation for full and partial disability count toward CSRS retirement? I was injured after 13 years of civil service, was fully disabled two years, partially disabled (25 percent) for 10 years, and returned to work from 2003 to the present. To calculate CSRS Offset retirement, do the two years on full disability count as two years creditable service? Do the 10 years on 25 percent partial disability count as 10 years or 2½ years creditable service?
Q. I retired in March 2012. I got a Voluntary Separation Incentive Payment paid to me after I retired. I started my Social Security at that time. I have recently gotten several confusing letters from the Social Security Administration saying I owe them different sums of money for overpayment due to having too much income. They are including my buyout gross payment as regular income.
Is there some official source you can give me to pass onto them that my $25,000 should not be considered in my earnings putting me over the limit for receiving benefits following my retirement. I am submitting a Form 131, but it just refers to severance, and I can’t find an absolute statement that says VSIP payments fall in that category. I have heard it informally as severance due to retirement, but I would like something official.