By Reg Jones
Q. My wife and I were both career federal employees. She left federal service a few years ago with FERS MRA+10. She postponed retirement until now to avoid the penalty.
Just before leaving service, I changed my Federal Employees Health Benefits coverage from self only to self and family to cover her. She then terminated her coverage (had been covered more than five years continuously prior to that).
When she starts retirement, she can enroll in FEHB self-only coverage. Can I also change my coverage to self-only at that time? Is her eligibility to continue FEHB coverage a qualifying life event for me to change from self and family to self only?
Q. I am a FERS employee. I am 57 with 26 years of service.
1. Do I get annuity computation for sick leave? If so, how is it computed?
2. I was born in 1956. What is my minimum retirement age, and how much service should I have under the MRA?
3. What happens with my annual and sick leave when I retire?
4. When should I start preparing my paperwork for my retirement?
5. My agency is going through a reorganization. We have the options for early retirement, buyout, being reassigned to New York or Boston (I live in D.C.), or leave the agency. Would the above actions make me eligible for the discontinued service retirement? Would I be penalized for every year I’m under 62?
December 5th, 2013 | annuity reduction Coverage after retirement discontinued service retirement EMPLOYMENT FEHBP HEALTH INSURANCE MRA + 10 PAY Postal Service Postponed retirement Re-enrollment RETIREMENT Special retirement supplement
Q. I have been told by the Office of Personnel Management that if I postpone my retirement until age 60, I would be penalized for every year I am under 62 and will not be eligible for the special retirement supplement.
I am 59½ with more than 28 years in the Postal Service. Our facility is consolidating, and our jobs are at stake. I am a clerk and do not want a carrier position because of my health. I plan on retiring in February to reach my 60th birthday. If I don’t accept a carrier position, can I:
1. Take an involuntary discontinued retirement; or
2. Retire and postpone my annuity until 60
I want to receive the special retirement supplement and no penalty on annuity.
Q. When I reach age 56, I will have 20 years of federal employment. I realize I can retire at MRA + 10 with a reduced benefit of 30 percent. Can I defer or postpone my retirement to age 60, qualify under the 60/20 and not take a reduced benefit? Also, how does this affect my health benefits? Do I purchase my own health insurance and then re-enroll when I apply for my annuity?
Q. I have 12 years of full-time employment and am MRA +10. Instead of retiring outright, I was thinking of going to half-time for a year or two. I understand my share of health insurance premiums will go up dramatically while I am employed part-time, but what will happen when I finally retire? Will my share go back to the full-time amount, or will I continue to pay the extra half? This is a major part of my decision to stay on because my pension would barely cover the increased amount.
Q. I was born in 1958 and would like to retire from the federal government with 10 years of service at age 57. Would I be eligible for the special retirement supplement?
Q. I am a 51-year-old Defense Department employee with 13 years of continuous service under FERS and considering leaving federal service and working in the private sector. Since my minimum retirement age is 56, I am ineligible for the MRA+10 retirement option at this time. If I return to federal service at age 56 or later, is there a minimum duration that I would be required to work before I can retire under MRA+10? I have been continuously enrolled in Federal Employees Health Benefits for the past 13 years and would re-enroll immediately upon returning to federal service. I would also leave my FERS and TSP retirement untouched.
Q. I am more than 58 years old and voluntarily resigning from my position with the Veterans Affairs Department. I have 20 years of creditable FERS service and plan to postpone the start of my annuity and my retirement until my 60th birthday. I plan to submit the Form 92-19 two months prior to my 60th birthday, which will be in October 2014. In the interim, I will be obtaining my health insurance through my spouse, but I have plans to regain our family health/life insurance (held less than five years) at the same time I start my annuity, which will be without age reduction because I have 20 years and will be 60 at that time. I am confused about my eligibility for the special retirement supplement between age 60 and 62. I do not think it will be retirement at MRA +10 at that time, but I may be wrong. Please explain what category my postponed annuity/retirement situation falls under.
November 15th, 2013 | annuity reduction Coverage after retirement Deferred retirement Eligibility EMPLOYMENT HEALTH INSURANCE Minimum retirement age MRA + 10 PAY Postal Service Re-enrollment Resignation RETIREMENT Special retirement supplement
Q. I am 49 and was wondering if I can retire at 52 with 20 years of Postal Service time even though my minimum retirement age is 56. If so, could I defer my pension until 60 and collect it then with a 5 percent penalty for each year before 62? Would I be eligible to continue my health benefits and collect the special retirement supplement until age 62 if I were to do that? Or would I have to use my MRA+10 computation to retire? If that is the case, would I then be able to continue my health benefits and receive the special retirement supplement at 56?
Q. If I meet my MRA+10, which will be age 56 and 24 years at the Postal Service, and defer my annuity until age 60, would I be able to keep my health benefits at age 56? If not, could I start receiving them when I hit 60? Also, can I receive Supplemental Security Income at age 60? If yes, how long until regular SSI kicked in?
November 8th, 2013 | Creditable service: FERS Deferred retirement FEHBP FERS annuity computation HEALTH INSURANCE LIFE INSURANCE MRA + 10 Postponed retirement Premiums Re-enrollment RETIREMENT Tricare
Q. I turn 60 on Jan. 1, 2015. I am a FERS employee who will have 20 years creditable service in January of 2014. If I retire Dec. 13, 2014 (the end of a pay period) do I understand correctly that my Federal Employees Health Benefits and Federal Employees Group Life Insurance coverage will be extended for 31 days at no cost to me?
I plan on postponing my annuity receipt until Jan. 1 (when I turn 60) to avoid the under-62 penalty. Also, do I understand correctly that since my postponed annuity date will be Jan. 1 that my first annuity payment will not be until February?
I am also an Air Force Reserve enlisted ART employee, so I have to leave at 60, but because of the changes to Reserve retired pay eligibility based on active duty orders, I qualify for Reserve Retirement pay earlier than 60. But as you know, if I retired when I was eligible, I would not be able to enroll in Tricare for retirees (except the plan for “gray area,” which involves paying the entire monthly premium).
Q. I want to retire at age 57 with 28 years federal service and receive my health benefits but defer the annuity until age 62. Is that possible? My co-workers say I should work until age 59 with 30 years federal service and begin collecting all benefits then. What would the difference in the benefits be?
Q. I retired from active duty after 24½ years and immediately started as a federal employee, for 7½ years now. I’ve never elected Federal Employees Health Benefits coverage because I’m enrolled in Tricare Overseas. I’m planning to retire at MRA+10 in 2½ years at age 57½.
1. If I begin enrollment now in FEHB and retire at my minimum retirement age in 2½ years, can I count the time in Tricare toward the five-year enrollment requirement for FEHB?
2. If I don’t enroll in FEHB now, can I count my time in Tricare for the entire FEHB five-year enrollment requirement and get FEHB in retirement by paying premiums then?
Q. I am a 53-year-old FERS employee who will have 16 years of service (including nine years of military buyback) at age 56. I will meet the requirements of MRA+10 at age 56 and will have been in the Federal Employees Health Benefits plan for more than five years by then. I am trying to understand if it is possible for me to retire at or after age 56 and defer the receipt of my annuity to reduce or avoid the age penalty, then re-enroll in FEHB when I begin receiving the annuity.
I have read all the previously answered questions and the FEHB Program Handbook. I am still confused. Some of your answers say “you would not be able to re-enroll in the FEHB program at that time. No one who retires on a deferred annuity can do that.” Another says, “If you retire and defer the receipt of your annuity … when you finally begin receiving your annuity, you’ll be able to re-enroll in FEHB.” The Handbook says if you are “entitled to retire on an immediate annuity,” you qualify. Am I not “entitled” to retire on an immediate annuity at age 56 but elect not to? Is there a subtle difference between “retiring” at age 56 without annuity and “leaving government and later applying for a deferred annuity”?
October 31st, 2013 | Creditable service: FERS DOWNSIZING EMPLOYMENT FEHBP FERS annuity computation HEALTH INSURANCE MRA + 10 Postal Service Postponed retirement Re-enrollment Resignation RETIREMENT Special retirement supplement
Q. Our Postal Service plant is going through a transfer of function. Jobs are being offered out of the area. If I refuse a position, I want to postpone my annuity until age 60 with more than 28 years of service. I have been told by human resources that if I postpone, I will not receive the special retirement supplement. Also, I will not continue Federal Employees Health Benefits during my postponement because of cost out of pocket but restart FEHB once my annuity begins at 60. Is this all possible?
Q. I celebrate my 25th anniversary with the federal government in February. At that time, I will be 58½ years old. If I were to resign and postpone my pension until 60 (my minimum retirement age), would I still receive the special retirement supplement when I file for retirement?
Q. I am a FERS employee and may have to postpone my retirement without suffering the age penalty. I am over 59 with 28 years of service. If I postpone my retirement until age 60 and do not carry the optional insurance that I will have to pay for plus 2 percent, would I still be eligible to restart my Blue Cross/Blue Shield coverage once my retirement begins. It will be almost six months that I will not have coverage. I have been enrolled in an insurance plan throughout my entire career. Also, if I am given separation papers involuntarily because of a transfer of function, could I resign and take an immediate retirement before 60 without penalty and also be eligible for the special retirement supplement?
Q. I have 15 years of federal service and would like to do an early retirement with MRA+10. Would I have to take a reduction in my Thrift Savings Plan, or just my federal retirement only?
Q. I am a new federal employee (start date in June) and was born in 1963. When would I be able to leave the federal government and retain federal health care benefits?
Q. I’m under. I know, under MRA +10, I need to have more than 10 years of service and have to be at least 57 to retire before my minimum retirement age with a 5 percent-per-year reduction for each year under 62 or retire at 60 with no reduction. If I have one year of unused sick leave accrued by the time I’m 59, could I retire at 59 and have my year of unused sick leave credited toward my years of service to avoid the reduction of 5 percent, or do I still have to work until 60 to avoid reduction even though I’ll have a full year of unused sick leave?