Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

Survivor annuity election

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Q. I will be retiring the end of May. My wife and I are both federal employees, and she will continue to work for another year and a half.  We are both FERS employees. We’re on the fence regarding a spousal annuity. If I were to leave her a full spousal annuity, would I be able to change that to a partial at a later date?  Read the rest of this entry »

FERS supplement after MRA

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Q. I retired at 52 under FERS as a law enforcement agent after 27 years of federal service. I immediately began my second career working outside federal government.  My monthly annuity includes the FERS supplement. I reached my minimum retirement age of 56 last month, but the supplement is still included in my monthly annuity.  I make more than the “needs tested” amount annually but am still receiving the FERS supplement.

Should the FERS Supplement disappear the month following your MRA birth month? Is it removed by OPM automatically, or does OPM continue to pay the supplement? How exactly is the FERS supplement needs tested? Is it incumbent upon me to notify OPM? How does this work? I don’t want to collect the payment if I’m not eligible, and I certainly don’t want to be surprised with a bill from OPM for these payments at the end of the year.  Read the rest of this entry »

FERS MRA+10 and heath coverage

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Q. If my wife chose to retire now, at her minimum retirement age of 56 with 13 years of FERS service, would she be able to postpone her annuity until age 60?  She currently carries FEHB (self), as long as she has had it the last five years, can I pick her up under my FEHB (self+1 or family) once she retires and then when she becomes 60 she can reinstate her own self-plan at that point? Read the rest of this entry »

Disability and deferred retirement

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Q. I am a FERS employee with the Defense Logistics Agency and have 22 years of service. I turn 50 on Sept. 30. I am considering deferred retirement when I turn 50. What penalties would be applied if my minimum retirement age is 56? I am 100 percent  VA disabled total permanent, but not sure I want to go through another disability battle with OPM. Read the rest of this entry »

Leaving federal service

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Q. I am a federal employee (FERS employee from January 1988 to the present) who will likely be leaving federal employment for a private sector position in a different city. What happens to the following:
1. Can I either leave my money in the TSP account or roll it over; in any case, I am not touching the balance until I retire.
2. Am I correct that my retirement annuity freezes until I actually retire and that it would be based on the following calculation — years of service (.26) x the average of the high-3 annual salary?
3. Do I get a lump sum payout for annual leave?
4. Can I get my sick leave back if I return to federal service?
5. I know health care terminates after 30 days. But am I eligible to get any Federal health care after I retire from the private sector?

Read the rest of this entry »

Planning for retirement

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Q. I will be 62 the end of June this year. I am in FERS, would like to retire this year and am trying to make a sound decision regarding what date would be best.
1) I have 918 sick hours accumulated. Will they convert 100% into service time?
2) When trying to calculate how much I will get for retirement, is it based on basic pay or total pay with locality adjustment?
3) Is there any penalty if I retire at age 62 if I have less than 20 years of FERS service?
4) Is there any offset with Social Security? Read the rest of this entry »

FERS retirement calculations

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Q. You recently stated in your posts you can receive your FERS retirement benefits calculated at the rate of .011 with 20 years of service, at age 62. Does this benefit rate of 1.1, apply if you left your employment before the MRA (resigned), have more than 20 years of service and elect to receive a deferred retirement at age 62? At age 60, benefits are calculated at .01. Is there a choice? Read the rest of this entry »

Surviving spouse’s retirement benefits

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Q. My husband retired under CSRS, and I expect to retire under FERS in a few years. When he retired, he elected survivor benefits for me, and I will do the same for him. What will be the rate the survivor will receive: only their benefit or their benefit plus the survivor portion? The answer will make a big difference in how comfortable we can live in retirement, before and after one of us passes. Read the rest of this entry »

FERS retirement multiplier

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Q. A recent post stated you can receive your FERS retirement benefits calculated at the rate of .011 with 20 years of service at age 62. Does this benefit rate of 1.1, apply if you resigned your employment before the minimum retirement age, have more than 20 years of service and elect to receive a deferred retirement at age 62? At age 60, benefits are calculated at .01. Is there a choice? Read the rest of this entry »

FERS Pension after buyout

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Q. I worked for the federal government as a FERS employee for 14 years and then took a buyout and left my position. Will I receive my full pension at age 62 based on my high-3 at the time I left? Read the rest of this entry »

OWCP and FERS disability retirement

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Q. I was approved for FERS disability retirement but remained on Worker’s Comp. and yet to take the FERS disability retirement. I had 18 1/2 years at air traffic control. When I reach age 62 and the FERS is recalculated, is the time on OWCP counted for that calculation? Read the rest of this entry »

Conditions of new federal position

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Q. I worked from 4/1987 through 8/1998 as an Architect/Engineer SR with the USPS. I resigned with a good record. I have a form 50 that states my service which I submitted when I applied. I recently was hired to a new position.

I cannot get a clear understanding about my retirement, my vesting and if I have a probationary period and how long it is. I was not reinstated. I was FERS, and I never took my basic .8 contribution out. I did transfer my Thrift Savings Plan to a private brokerage account. They used the .8 to continue my FERS plus gave me the service time as far as leave goes (six hours/pay period).

1. How is my retirement calculated? What age can I retire? I am 57 now.

2. How long before I can be considered a vested federal employee with competitive rights to apply for another position?

3. How much service time do I have according to the VA? My personnel record has it like I am starting over.

4. Do I have a probationary period, and how long is it? Read the rest of this entry »

FERS retirement

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Q. This is a two part question. I’m a FERS employee with a minimum retirement age of 56 1/2.
I would like to retire at my MRA if possible but want to make sure I understand the penalties and rules. First, I will be about 1 1/2 years short of 30 years with the government at age 56 1/2. It’s my understanding that I can still retire at that age but can postpone receiving an annuity to avoid the 5 percent per year penalty if I don’t take benefits until age 60. Is this correct?

Second, if I decide to postpone taking the annuity until age 60, I won’t be eligible to receive health care benefits until that time. I would need to find alternative health care during that gap between age 56 1/2 and 60. But would I be able to re-enroll again at age 60 with no issues?
Read the rest of this entry »

Calculating service time

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Q. Is the annuity based on years of service or years and months? If I retire with creditable service of 29 years and nine months, will I only receive an annuity based on 29 years or will the additional months months be factored in (pro-rated)?
Read the rest of this entry »

FERS and SS disability

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Q. Will my regular FERS retirement, when it exceeds FERS disability, be converted from disability to retirement?  Since I am on FERS disability, my tenure continues to run.  How will the supplemental SS portion of my FERS retirement be affected by the SSDI payment?  SSDI does not change until I recover or reach 65. Read the rest of this entry »

Sick leave payout at retirement

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Q. I am a FERS covered employee and am anticipating retirement in 2018. Will I receive full pay for all of my unused sick and annual leave? Read the rest of this entry »

Social Security benefits and federal pension

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Q. I am retired from the FBI.   I have 22 years covered under CSRS and 11 under FERS.  Because my FERS supplement ends in August when I turn 62, I plan to apply for Social Security,  who has advised my monthly benefit payment will be 1120.00.  My FERS supplement is approx 500.00 per month.  My question is:  When I begin receiving social security benefits in August, will I receive the entire 1120.00 or will it be reduced? Read the rest of this entry »

Deferred FERS annuity

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Q. I am a FERS employee.  If I were to retire at or after my MRA with 30+ years,  for example at age 59 with 32 years,  and deferred my annuity to age 62 or higher, would the deferred annuity be calculated with the 1.1 multiplier? Read the rest of this entry »

FERS disability payments and SS

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Q. I’m 53 and on disability retirement under FERS.  Upon reaching Social Security recipient age, will my FERS disability payment end so I’ll only receive my regular Social Security payment? Read the rest of this entry »

When to retire on disability

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Q. I am 62 and have 7 years of service under FERS. My disabilities have worsened, and I must retire fairly soon.  I have some other income from a state pension that will help while I apply for SSDI, but I need to know when would be the best time to retire.  I do not believe my retirement will amount to more than enough to cover my life and health insurance with a little to spare according to a recent retirement estimate I received from HR.  So given that, is there a particular day of the month, being paid bi-weekly, when I should set for my retirement date? Read the rest of this entry »