By Reg Jones
Q. My husband will retire under CSRS. I will retire under FERS.
Concerning survivor benefits: If we elect to have a reduced annuity in each of our retirements for the spouse, will that spouse receive the maximum survivor annuity plus their own federal retirement upon the death of the other spouse? In other words, can a spouse simultaneously receive a survivor annuity and their own federal retirement pension? Are there any penalties or reductions because we both work for the federal government?
Q. Could you please tell me how to calculate how my CSRS annuity would change if my wife predeceases me? I have elected a full annuity for her (I retired in 2006). I assume that my annuity will increase if she dies first, but I do not know how to figure the increase.
Q. During retirement, what happens to the survivor benefit if your spouse predeceases you? Is there a change in the annuity amount?
Q. I was a federal law enforcement officer who retired this year under CSRS. My wife is a federal employee who will work six or seven more years. We have Blue Cross/Blue Shield-Fed as our health plan. The premiums have always been paid out of my salary. Would it be most beneficial for us to have the health coverage premiums made from my annuity or from my spouse’s salary. Would there be any negatives to having those premiums made from my spouse’s salary?
Q. I am 50 years old and have worked for the Department of the Navy for 25 years under FERS. The last five years of my career has been part time (20 hours per week). My wife has also worked for the Navy for 12 years (full time under FERS) and provides our Federal Employee Health Benefits family plan coverage. I have been covered by an FEHB plan consecutively for over 25 years. If I were offered early retirement, could I pick up the FEHB family plan coverage and carry it into retirement with me? If not, why not?
Q. My husband is retired Postal Service, with Blue Cross/Blue Shield and Medicare Part A.
I will be 65 in March but only have 37 credits and do not qualify for Social Security or Medicare, according to my SS statement.
I would like to know if I qualify for Part A under my husband’s Medicare benefits and, if so, what will happen to that benefit if he dies before I do? Due to medical issues, I do not plan to work in to get those last three credits.
Q. My husband is a federal civil servant and planning to retire in a couple of years. His insurance carrier is the mail handlers benefit plan, enrolled as family plan.
When he retires at age 65½, I understand that Medicaid will take over as his primary health plan. What will happen to the mail handlers benefit plan we’ve been carrying for the past 30 years? Do we have to change it to the supplement B or whatever covers what’s not paid by Medicaid? Or will the mail handlers benefit plan pick up the balance, prescription, etc.?
Q. I retired in 2000 with 30 years of federal civil service and am covered by Blue Cross/Blue Shield. My wife has survivor benefits both for my annuity and my Social Security. I declined Medicare coverage when we qualified for it. Now we are in our 70s, and I want to know if we can now enroll in Medicare. If so, how is the penalty calculated? I’m under the impression that the accumulated penalty for late enrollment may not be to our benefit to enroll. As it stands now, we pay 20 percent of all our medical expenses, and they have been substantial, with the medical problems that my wife has now.
Q. I am a retired federal employee under CSRS Offset, where my Social Security kicks in at age 62 and my CSRS is reduced. Am I allowed, or is it beneficial for me to file for Social Security benefits at age 60 since my husband is deceased?
Q. I am a federal employee under CSRS enrolled in the Federal Employees Health Benefits program with self-and-family coverage for myself, my wife and my daughter (under age 26). We have been covered under the FEHB program for more than five years. My wife is also a federal employee under FERS. We also have FEDVIP vision plan coverage.
I may retire next year, which will be three years or so before my wife retires. In view of the fact that as a retiree, my FEHB premiums would no longer be deducted pretax, I am considering canceling my enrollment and having my wife enroll through her federal employment, during the current open season. Then the premiums would continue to be pretax until she retires.
However, I have some concerns about making this change.
1. Would this affect either her or me in terms of the requirement to be in the FEHB program for five years before retirement to continue coverage into retirement?
2. What documentation is required to prove participation as a covered family member?
3. Would I continue to be covered if the FEHB enrollment is through her federal employment (and later retirement) in the event that she passes away before me?
4. Would this change affect our daughter’s coverage under the plan in any way?
5. Would my wife have to provide a survivor annuity benefit for me to continue FEHB coverage if she passed first?
Are there any other considerations that I should be aware of as far as you know?
Q. My husband is a retired federal employee. We both have Medicare as our primary and have Blue Cross/Blue Shield Fed standard plan as our supplemental coverage. If he dies, am I eligible to keep the BCBS Fed as my supplemental?
Q. My husband died on Nov. 8, 2012. I am a retired federal employee. I applied for survivor benefits and received a letter of approval that states I cannot be paid because two-thirds of the amount of my government pension is equal to or larger than my monthly Social Security benefit. Please contact me so if I can appeal this issue.
Q. I am a Postal Service employee under FERS. I am covered under a Federal Employees Health Benefits self-only plan. My wife works in the private sector and carries her own self-only coverage. I plan to retire in six years, and I know I need to be insured for five years prior. My wife cannot carry her insurance into her retirement. Do I need to carry her on my policy for five years before I retire or can I add her nearer to my retirement date?
Q. I resigned from the Postal Service after 10-plus years on July 31, 2012, at age 54 and received half of the $20,000 separation bonus in December 2012 and am expecting the other half this December. Do I qualify at age 62 for FERS? My husband also works for the Postal Service but is not planning to retire until age 62.
If he should die before me (and vice versa), will I, as his wife, receive his FERS annuity and mine? How is this determined? Or will the surviving spouse only receive a portion of the deceased spouse’s monthly annuity?
November 21st, 2013 | annuity reduction Benefits Creditable service: CSRS CSRS annuity computation CSRS Offset EMPLOYMENT Government pension offset PAY Re-employment RETIREMENT SOCIAL SECURITY spouse benefits SURVIVOR BENEFITS Windfall elimination provision
Q. I am a CSRS Offset employee. I had seven years and 10 months of CSRS service when I left and took my funds out. I returned as CSRS Offset after a 15-month break, did not make a redeposit and now have an additional 26 years of service.
I am looking at retiring in 4½ years at age 60. In addition, I am divorced (married 28 years and one month, not remarried). My ex-husband has always made substantially more. Based on the scenario stated, I am of the opinion that:
1. The windfall elimination provision will not apply since I will have 30½ years of paying into Social Security.
2. The government pension offset does not apply since I am CSRS Offset, and
3. I can collect Social Security based upon my spouse’s earnings since his income was substantially more than mine.
I need to know whether these assumptions are correct, and whether there are any other “offsets” as it will make the difference on whether or not I can afford to retire or need to keep working until full (Social Security) retirement age.
November 20th, 2013 | annuity reduction Coverage after retirement Creditable service: CSRS CSRS annuity computation EMPLOYMENT HEALTH INSURANCE Military service deposits PAY Postal Service RETIREMENT self and family SOCIAL SECURITY spouse benefits
Q. I have 31 years with the Postal Service, four years military. Started with USPS in March 1982. Also a disabled vet.
I am confused with the payback issue regarding my military service from 1974 to 1978. I opted not to pay back and, according to everything I am reading, if I do not qualify for Social Security at 62, there will not be a deduction in annual annuity.
However, I note that in the CSRS and FERS Handbook, it states the following:
“If nondeduction service was performed before Oct. 1, 1982, and deposit is not made, the basic annual annuity is reduced by 10 percent of deposit plus interest owed.”
I do not have enough credits to qualify for Social Security, thus I’m not sure if this applies to me.
Also, I would like to use the Veterans Affairs Department when I retire. However, I am not sure how to provide health insurance to my spouse. Should I keep my present insurance that covers her, or are there other options?
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.
Q. I have selected a retirement date of June 28, 2014. I will be 59½ years old with 33½ years of government service. I have been FERS my whole career. If I were to marry after retirement, what is the policy for covering my future spouse on my Federal Employees Health Benefits? If I choose to want a survivor benefit for my future spouse, is it possible to change from a self-only pension to one with survivor benefits?
November 19th, 2013 | annuity reduction Benefits Creditable service: CSRS Creditable service: FERS CSRS annuity computation EMPLOYMENT FERS annuity computation Government pension offset PAY Postal Service RETIREMENT SOCIAL SECURITY spouse benefits SURVIVOR BENEFITS
Q. I am a retired Postal Service FERS employee. I took the early-out in February with reduced pension. I am going to marry a Postal Service CSRS employee retired on postal disability. He has little Social Security time, which he is not collecting. We would like to know if one of us will lose our postal pension. If so, how much and why?
Q. I am married to a retired federal employee. I have been covered on her health insurance for well over five years. She’s getting ready to have Medicare as her primary insurance and Blue Cross/Blue Shield (FEP) as her secondary coverage. Will this change anything for me on my BC/BS coverage? Will I still have the same coverage although my wife’s BC/BS is her secondary coverage?