By Reg Jones
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?
February 21st, 2014 | Benefits Creditable service: FERS DOWNSIZING Earnings test FERS annuity computation High-3 PAY RETIREMENT service computation date SOCIAL SECURITY Special retirement supplement VERA
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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.
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?
February 17th, 2014 | Coverage after retirement Deferred retirement discontinued service retirement DOWNSIZING FEHBP HEALTH INSURANCE Minimum retirement age RETIREMENT separation Special retirement supplement
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?
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?
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?
Q. FERS discontinued service retirement with 29 years and nine months. After five months of trying to reach the Office of Personnel Management, I was told I’m not entitled to the special retirement supplement due to less than 30 years. I am 56 years old. All paperwork received prior to retirement indicated that I was entitled to it.
Q. I just received my 30-year pin for government service time worked as a FERS employee. I’ve been considering relocating to Florida and can’t find a government job. If I took a job at a town hall in Florida, would I be able to resign from my current government job and have them keep all my retirement and Thrift Savings Plan on ice until I would have been eligible to retire at age 56 without penalty? If so, would I also be eligible at age 56 for the special retirement supplement, even if I were working for the town, or would I have to retire from the town job to be eligible for the supplement?
The only reason I ask is that after seeing your answer to someone else’s similar question (they only had 20 years vested), part of your answer was: “The only way to reduce or avoid the reduction would be to retire and postpone the receipt of your annuity until a later date.”
Q. I have worked for the Postal Service since 1985. I did not reach career status until January 1994, when I became postmaster in my Level 11 office, so the 8½ years prior do not count, unfortunately. I have worked here my entire career. In September, it will be reduced to a Level 2 and I will not be allowed to stay. I would like to take the Voluntary Early Retirement Authority being offered. Will I be penalized the customary 5 percent per year under 30 years? I am 55 and, as of Jan. 22, have 20 years of career service (this excludes my work prior to 1994). Also, will I be able to take advantage of the special retirement supplement?
Q. Does the lump-sum payment for annual leave count against maximum earnings to be eligible for the special retirement supplement? Also, if I choose a retirement date and the application begins processing, can I back out before that date?
Q. I retired from the Postal Service last year and, when I received my CSA 1099R, it has my FERS annuity and my special retirement supplement taxable amount combined. If the supplement is taxed like Social Security, which is different from my FERS annuity, why are they combined on my CSA 1099R, and how do I separate the two on my tax Form 1040A? My gross income will be over $44,000 and, from what I have been reading, at that amount, I should only be taxed on 85 percent of my supplement. Is this correct?
Q. I am 55 years old and plan on retiring when I turn 56 (minimum retirement age) with 30 years of service. I worked for 4½ years under CSRS and then had a break in service for almost three years. When I went back to work, I was put in the CSRS Offset and worked for another five years. I then had another break in service for two years before going back to work. At this point, I switched to FERS. Am I entitled to the special retirement supplement when I retire?
Q. I am 52 and I want to retire when I reach 57. I started my career with the Postal Service in 1993, which gives me 20 years. I am in the Air Force Reserve with 30 years (four years and six months active) and I also have nine months of deployment on active duty. Will I be able to buy back the full five years and three months so I can meet the 30-year requirement at age 57? How is the special retirement supplement calculated under age 62?
Q. I am 55-year-old postal employee with 27 years of postal service. I have read that a Voluntary Early Retirement Authority will be offered to eligible employees. Would I be eligible for the special retirement supplement? I also have an Equal Employment Opportunity case that has not been adjudicated, how would this affect my case? Would it still go forward?
February 10th, 2014 | Creditable service: FERS discontinued service retirement EMPLOYMENT FERS annuity computation Minimum retirement age part-time RETIREMENT SOCIAL SECURITY Special retirement supplement
Q. I am a federal air technician with the Air National Guard. I have 34 years in the Guard and 27 years as a federal full-time technician. I am in FERS and have a minimum retirement age of 56. I will be 53 this year.
It has been communicated to me that I will probably not be retained this year, meaning that Dec. 31, 2014, I will be involuntarily retired, thus losing my full (technician) and part-time (traditional Guard) employment. When can I begin collecting my retirement pay, Social Security, Thrift Savings Plan? Are there any penalties if I was forced to retire?