Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

Reinstatement after retirement

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Q. I retired in January with 38.4 years of Postal Service EAS service, too early. In February, my doctor changed my blood pressure medication, and it was like the fog had lifted. I realized I made the biggest mistake of my life. I’ve called Shared Services, OPM, our human resources department multiple times for reinstatement with the same response of no, except one person from OPM indicating I could return and suspend my retirement. I am desperate. Using the medication sounds like a poor excuse except for the fact that my actions were so out of character for me. Read the rest of this entry »

FERS Postal Service

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Q. I have 27 years in the Postal Service; my age is 56, and I am looking to retire soon. Am I eligible to retire with my full annuity? If not, how much would I be eligible for? Would I be eligible for early-out retirement if offered? Read the rest of this entry »

Early retirement

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Q. My husband may be transferred resulting in my need to leave federal government employment. I have 21 years of service with the federal government and was born in 1959. For clarification:
1. Do I need to be 56-years-old before I can leave and qualify for deferred retirement?
2. If I leave, and am eligible for a deferred retirement, at what age can I begin my retirement without a penalty?
3. Will my accumulated sick leave apply toward my time?
4. If I take a deferred retirement, will I still qualify for FEHB and, if so, at what age?

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Creditable service and early retirements

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Q. When is creditable service NOT creditable? As an Air National Guard Federal Technician, my local human resources office insists that three-plus years of Title 10 Active Duty military service (which I’ve paid my deposit for) cannot be used to satisfy the 20-year minimum service criteria for early/involuntary (loss of military membership) retirements in IAW 5 USC 8414 (c)(2). Is this correct?
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Disability vs. early retirement

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Q. I am 51 years old and have suffered a stroke. I realize I could probably apply for FERS disability retirement, but I have a dilemma. I am buying back my military service time, but I have about five years to buy it all back. Which is better to apply for disability retirement or regular early retirement? Read the rest of this entry »

Special retirement supplement for early retirement

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Q. I retired on Jan. 31, 2014, under an offer of early retirement and will not reach my minimum retirement age until August 2014. Can I apply for special supplement income prior to my MRA knowing it takes time to process or do I have to actually wait until I reach 56 years of age?
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Retire from law enforcement at 48

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Q. I am currently employed with the Bureau of Prisons,and in three years, I will have 20 years law enforcement time. But I will only be 48 years old. Can I just retire from the BOP in three years with total of 20 years law enforcement at age 48? I’d wait until I am 50 years old and start collecting my retirement. From age 48 – 50 I plan just to work at Wal-mart or a grocery store. I also bought back 6 years of my military. Read the rest of this entry »

Retiring before MRA

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Q. I have 25 years of service in the federal government, and I’m 48 years old.

If I leave government service now, when would I receive my pension if I take a deferred annuity.  If I start at the minimum retirement age, would there be a reduction for every year I’m under age of 62? What if I wait and leave federal service at age 53 with 30 years of service? Would there still be a reduction in pension if I began receiving my pension at the minimum retirement age, even with 30 years of service?

Also, at what age can I do a one time withdrawal from my Thrift Savings Plan without paying a penalty, and if I want monthly TSP payments, what age can I start without paying a penalty if I left government service before the MRA?

I know there are repercussions to leaving government service before the MRA, and would like to know what they are, since I am really slowing down with health related issues. Read the rest of this entry »

Disability and retirement

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Q. I am 50 years old. I did six years active duty which I have not paid back to get credit, and I have 24 years civil service.  I had a heart  attack two years ago. I have a stint and  defibrillator, but I am able to  work.  There is no way my boss would give me a positive disability letter. I have a little different outlook on life now. I’d like to travel, etc.  Luckily, I have a few hundred thousand in my Thrift Savings Plan. What are my retirement options, if any, right now?  I know I have no leave and need to somehow buy back my military time.  Is it even possible to retire?  If I could even get disability, would buying back my military time add to my retirement? Read the rest of this entry »

Early retirement and penalties

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Q. Can I retire with 26 years of service if I’m 56 years old?  I am under FERS.  If so, is there any penalty? Read the rest of this entry »

VERA for 2014?

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Q. My wife is thinking of early retirement at age 50 with 22 years in. Is there any Voluntary Early Retirement Authority (VERA) for 2014?

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Army Reserve retirement buyback

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Q. I am a 48-year-old Army Reserve retiree (Gray Area). I was mobilized in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and was medically flagged during mobilization as being asthmatic and ultimately unfit for duty. After a Medical Evaluation Board, the Physical Evaluation Board offered for me to accept an early retirement in lieu of a disability separation.

Unfortunately, I was retired as an E-4 with 16 years, 2 months, 7 days of combined service and a total of 2,524 points . The breakdown is 4 years active duty Marine Corps 1983-1987, and Army Reserve 1992-2003 with one additional year of active duty from those eleven years for a total of 5 years active duty. I cannot collect my USAR pension until age 60. Since my reserve retired pension will only be about $425 a month in today’s dollars ($585 in 2025), would it possible (or beneficial) to pursue federal employment and buy back my Reserve retirement rather than let it stay as is for 12 more years and collect the small reserve retirement pension at age 60 and then Social Security at age 65-70? I have more than 20 years private-sector civilian experience but with no retirement accounts to fall back on.

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Early-out and SRS eligibility

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Q. I will be 52 years old March 9. I am covered under FERS, and I have 31 years of federal service. If my base offers an early-out this year, I plan to take it.

I have a substantial balance in the Thrift Savings Plan and would like to withdraw it in its entirety when I take the early-out so I can invest it in my daughter’s business.

1. Will I be penalized for withdrawing my TSP funds early? If so, how much? I know I will be taxed, and I am OK with that. My husband plans to keep working. He is a GS-12, retired military and we have no bills, so we will be fine.

2. I know I cannot draw Social Security, and I don’t plan to do so until I reach the required age. In the meantime, will I be eligible for the special retirement supplement if I retire now? If not, at what age will I be eligible, if at all?

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Leave options for cancer diagnosis

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Q. I am completely out of annual leave and sick leave and have recently received a cancer diagnosis. My local human resources department has informed me of two options: voluntary leave transfer program and advance leave request. However, I don’t want to have to worry about losing my job, etc., and may not feel good enough to come back to my old job. What are my options? Are there any disability benefits available to me? What is early retirement for someone like me who is only 48 years old and has eight years of service with the Veterans Affairs Department?

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Deferred annuity and FEHB

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Q. I am 57 years and two months old. I have 21 years of federal service (FERS), including two years and 11 months of military buyback time. I am considering early retirement. I have maintained Federal Employees Health Benefits since I started 18 or so years ago. The human resources experts here are telling me that if I defer my retirement to age 60 (which I am eligible) that I can never again receive FEHB. I cannot find that statement anywhere. I have seen a local in-service slide presentation that you can defer retirement until age 60 or 62 and pick up health insurance at that time. Can you tell me what is correct in this scenario?

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FERS annuity eligibility

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Q. I received an “early-out/buyout” in 2006 with 22½ years of service prior to my minimum retirement age. I was age 46 at the time. Will I be eligible to receive any FERS annuity once I reach my minimum retirement age?

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Deferred/postponed annuity

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Q. Do I have any options for early retirement that will allow me to keep Federal Employees Health Benefits if I retire at age 52-55 with 20-23 years of service with a minimum retirement age of 57? I know I can take postponed, but then I lose FEHB. So I was wondering if there was any other way.

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COLA

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Q. I was offered and took an early FERS retirement. I wasn’t in any special occupational group. I was an IT specialist. Will I receive the 1.5 percent cost-of-living adjustment, or do I have to wait until I’m 62.

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Early retirement and spousal Social Security

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Q. My husband is 66 years old and retired last year with full Social Security benefits.  My daughter is receiving Social Security benefits until she graduates from high school at age 18. I was told that had my salary not exceeded the maximum amount allowed, I would also receive some benefits until my daughter turns 18.

I am 54 years old, a federal worker under FERS with 23 years of service. My office is going through a major reorganization. I understand that if I am offered an early retirement, I will have immediate annuities without the 5 percent reduction each year under 62), will have Federal Employees Health Benefits and have the special retirement supplement when I am at my minimum retirement age.

1. I assume that since I won’t have a job, I will be able to receive Social Security benefits until my daughter turns 18 and graduates from high school in June 2016. I will be at my MRA in January 2015. At my MRA, will I be able to continue receiving my Social Security benefits and the special retirement supplement simultaneously?

2. When I turn 62 and the special retirement supplement stops, should I apply for Social Security benefits from my husband’s retirement until I am at my full retirement age (66 and 10 months)? This way, I would have my own full Social Security retirement benefits without reduction. Am I correct?

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Converting to regular retirement

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Q. I was a CSRS clerk who got injured off the job. I have 29½ years and am 53 years old. When I turn 55, can I convert to regular retirement? (I am currently on disability retirement.) And can I take an early-out if one is offered?

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