By Reg Jones
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?
Q. When I retire, is there a period of time I have to wait if I want to work as a contractor for the government? Is this a standard rule/law or does it vary by agency? Will working as a contractor for the government affect my retirement annuity and/or special retirement supplement?
Q. I left the Postal Service (CSRS) in 2000 with 21 years and seven months of service. I will be 56 years old next month. At what age can I draw supplemental annuity? What are the penalties for withdrawing sooner?
Q. I am retiring in February and expecting the special retirement supplement. Apparently, the federal 2014 budget canceled the supplement. Does that apply to newly hired employees or current employees? Does the language in the budget establish a cutoff date for the supplement?
Q. I am retiring at age 55. I will have 26 years of 6(c)-covered service and an additional two years of military for a total of 28 years. What is the maximum amount of special retirement supplement I can get as a military veteran?
Q. I am a FERS retired firefighter and wanted to know if and how the post-retirement earning test applies. At age 55, is my special retirement supplement dependent on how much I am making at that age? If so, once the supplement is lost, can you get it back if earnings drop prior to age 62?
Q. I am FERS-covered and will retire this year with 20 years at age 62. My annual FERS annuity is about $25,000. After retirement, I plan to work in a private company in a foreign country for an estimated annual $90,000 salary. I will roll over my Thrift Savings Plan savings to a traditional IRA. I will not withdraw my Social Security until I reach my full retirement age at 66 when I will no longer have any wages.
1. Am I allowed to draw FERS annuity while living in a foreign country?
2. How will my salary from the private company affect my FERS annuity? That is, will my FERS annuity be reduced due to an earnings income limit?
Q. I retired under the FERS disability provisions 16 years ago. I want to find out what portion of my monthly retirement benefit represents the special retirement supplement portion. At the time of my retirement, I had 16 years of creditable service. I am receiving about $1,900 per month, and I believe my calculation at age 62 would be times 1.1 percent. I will not be eligible for Social Security until age 62 and one month. Will I lose the supplement for one month?
Q. I have a few years to go but have been looking at my retirement options. I started working for the Veterans Affairs Department in 1992, then joined the Army under the Military Employment/Reemployment Rights Act in 1995. I returned to VA in January 2000. At that time, I bought back my military time.
Now I’m looking at my qualifications for the special retirement supplement. I can find numerous examples of people that were in the military prior to their federal job. It appears that the time can count for their FERS retirement, but not for the supplement.
Since my situation is a bit different, will my military time count toward the supplement? It’s never too early to plan, and those four years could make a big difference to my retirement date.
Q. I am CSRS Offset. I’ve been paying into Social Security for many years and I plan on retiring before I’m 62 years old. Once I retire, will I stop paying into Social Security? Also, will I be eligible for the special retirement supplement before I’m eligible to collect when I’m 62 years old?
Q. I am a special category employee retiring this month with 30 years of service. I will be 55 in April. My minimum retirement age is 56. I know means testing of the special retirement supplement begins when I am 56, but how, mechanically, does it work? Do I get a letter on or near my 56th birthday asking me what my earned income was during the previous year? Or do I get such a letter on or near my 57th birthday, asking the same question about the previous year (the year I turned 56)? Or does the Office of Personnel Management rely on my income tax returns to make such determinations? How long can I earn in excess of $15,450 (the threshold for means testing in 2014) before I start losing SRS money to means testing?
January 22nd, 2014 | annuity reduction Benefits Creditable service: FERS Early retirement FEHBP HEALTH INSURANCE Minimum retirement age PAY RETIREMENT SOCIAL SECURITY Special retirement supplement spouse benefits
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?
Q. I’m planning to retire next year under FERS with 30 years of service and I’m eligible for the special retirement supplement. Please explain where the Social Security application process fits — i.e., at what point do I apply to Social Security? Concurrently with FERS? Must I wait for both applications to be approved before I’m considered officially retired?
Q. I am a 58-year-old Postal Service employee with 30 years of service. If I collect the special retirement supplement until age 62, does that reduce the amount of Social Security I receive at 62?