Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

Special retirement supplement

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Q. If I retire with MRA and 30, can I waive the special retirement supplement and draw the increased annuity at 62?

A. Even if you waived the special retirement supplement — which I don’t think is possible — it would have no affect on your FERS annuity. That annuity is set on the day you retire and doesn’t change until you reach age 62 and are first eligible for a cost-of-living adjustment.

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SSDI and regular retirement pay

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Q. I retired Dec. 31, 2013, from the Federal Bureau of Prisons. I worked 23 years and worked four years in the Air Force. I currently receive annuities from my high-3 and also FERS annuity supplement. Can I also receive SSDI along with my regular retirement pay? Read the rest of this entry »

No need to stop special retirement supplement

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Q. I am a retired federal law enforcement officer receiving a FERS supplement. I turned 62 on March 17, which means my FERS supplement should end. However, when I looked on the OPM website, I saw where the supplement will be included in my April pay. Do I have to initiate action to stop the supplement, or will it be done automatically ?

A. You don’t have to do anything. The special retirement supplement ends on the last day of the month in which a retiree turns age 62. Because annuity payments are made retroactively, your April payment was for the month of March.

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 »

Air Reserve retirement

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Q. I’m an Air Reserve Technician with 33 years service. If I was to lose my military position due to no fault of my own, (ex. fitness) would I be able to retire and receive my supplement?

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Air Reserve technicians

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Q. Are Air Reserve Technicians in the same group as law enforcement officers, firefighters and air traffic controllers when it comes to retirement? I am 52 years old with 30-plus years of service. Can I retire now and receive the supplement immediately or will I not receive it until my minimum retirement age which is 56? Read the rest of this entry »

Deferred retirement at 31 years of service

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Q. I have 31 years of federal service at age 50: 27 Civil Service and 4 military which I bought back. Do I wait to fill out my retirement paperwork near my minimum retirement age, or do I fill that out at the time I resign? I read that because I have five point preference that my reinstatement rights don’t have a three year time limit? If I resign and then apply for a federal job and get hired at age 55, work one year and then retire at my MRA of 56, would I be eligible for the Social Security Supplement? Can I leave my Thrift Savings Plan money where it is and not transfer it to an IRA? Read the rest of this entry »

Law enforcement retirement

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Q. I am a federal law enforcement officer and currently have 22 years of service. I’ll turn 46 in March of this year. I also have five years of Marine Corps time that I was active duty.

I understand the rule that I can retire at any age with 25 years of creditable service or retire at age 50 with 20 years of service. I will fall into the 25 year rule, since I will be less that 50 when I am eligible. I know I am supposed to get a Social Security bridge when I retire until my regular Social Security age. I am not sure if that age is 57, mandatory retirement for LE or is it 62, 70 or some other number.

I am also confused about the amount of money I can earn, such as through consulting work or private business, when I retire and still maintain my supplement.

I am also confused that if I leave my current law enforcement job with 22 years and start working for another federal agency will I be mandated to retire at 57? When I do retire, will my computation be a law enforcement computation or a regular federal employee computation?
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Rehired after FERS discontinued service retirement

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Q. Due to BRAC, I am now a full time rehired annuitant. What is the “special retirement supplement” received after 30 years? In December 2014, I’ll have 30 years federal service, Army DOD. I’ll be 62 in February 2015. Will there be changes in the annuity due to coming of age to accept or reject low social security. Could you clarify?
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Special retirement supplement eliminated

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Q. If my Special Retirement Supplement is eliminated due to income earned the previous year, am I still taxed on the amount I would have received?

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VERA pros and cons

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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?

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Law enforcement and SRS eligibility

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Q. I am eligible for a 30-year retirement in July at age 50. If I do not get another job, I am eligible for a special retirement supplement due to the mandatory early retirement that federal law officers must take.

If I don’t work for, say, six months and then get a job in the private sector and work two years, or if I get a job immediately upon retirement and only work a couple of years, will I still be eligible for the supplement after leaving the private sector?

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Retirement during a RIF

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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?

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Special retirement supplement and Social Security

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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?

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Special retirement supplement

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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?

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Sick leave and retirement

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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.

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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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Involuntary separation, health insurance and deferred retirement

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Q. I am 57 years and two months old. I am most likely going receive a sanction on my nursing license in late April or early May. I have 21 years and three months of service, including three years of military buyback time. I have carried federal health insurance since 1995. If I wait until the probable board sanction and I get terminated, will I still be able to defer retirement until age 60? Will I still be able to continue health insurance at age 60? Or would it be better to retire the day before the stated board of nursing action and avoid termination? Also, if I am terminated do I go to human resources and apply for deferred retirement, or do I do it through the Office of Personnel Management?

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Special retirement supplement and TSP

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Q. I am looking at retiring in January 2015. I will be 56 years old Oct. 15. I will have 30 years in as of Dec. 24. Waiting until the end of leave year to cash in all available annual leave. I am looking at cashing out my Thrift Savings Plan in a lump sum to pay off all debts. Will that income be considered part of earned income so that the special retirement supplement is reduced?

If so, would it be in my interest to retire at the end of 2014 so that my annual leave hits that year instead of 2015? I will have more than 1,800 hours of sick leave accrued by the end of 2014. Can that be used to offset the age so that I could perhaps retire earlier so that the TSP lump sum is counted in 2014?

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Dual status retirement

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Q. I am a military technician who is reaching age 60. At that time, I will only have 16 years civil service. Will I receive a full retirement with the special retirement supplement? Or will it be a reduced retirement?

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