Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

Retirement under CSRS

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Q. I am a CSRS offset, full-time, Term (NTE April 2015) federal employee. I am also a formal federal employee (all permanent positions) with breaks in service. My service comp date is 1983 and I am 60 years old. Can I apply for retirement now as a Term employee? I have paid into CSRS in my previous and current position. Read the rest of this entry »

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Can I retire now?

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Q. I am 53 years old with 32 years of creditable service. I am under the FERS retirement system, and my MRA is 56. Could I retire now? Read the rest of this entry »

CSRS Offset

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Q. I am a 56-year-old re-employed annuitant and CSRS Offset. I retired at 51 with 30 years of service and took an 8 percent reduction. I plan to work at least 5 more years so my annuity will be recalculated. I have been offered another government position and believe I could switch to FERS. Would I receive full benefits from FERS for the entire 36 years of service (31 under CSRS Offset and 5 under FERS) or would I receive 2 separate retirements? Also, would I be able to receive my entire Social Security benefit if I switched to FERS? Read the rest of this entry »

Deferred annuity

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Q. I worked as a full-time carrier from 1988-1996. I recently heard that I am vested and will receive some money when I’m in my 60s. Is that true? I also had almost 8 years of sick leave saved up. Does that count for anything? I know that some federal agencies receive medical insurance if they paid for it for 5 years — Is the USPS one of those agencies? Read the rest of this entry »

Retirement annuity

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Q. My husband is already retired from the federal government under CSRS and receives a monthly annuity. He did not buy back his military time before retiring. He retired with 24 years under the Federal Law Enforcement Retirement System; he had two years and eight months active military — for a total of 27 years. Will he suffer any penalties in the future for this? Or will his retirement annuity be reduced when he is 62 years of age? He is 60 years old right now. Read the rest of this entry »

VERA vs. VSIP

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Q. My agency sent out applications to apply for VERA/VSIP. I am 57 years old (MRA is 56). I have a almost 34 years creditable service. With my sick leave it will be almost 35 years. Will I be VERA or VSIP? Is one better than the other, or do I even have a choice? Read the rest of this entry »

Retirement options

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Q. I am 28 years old and trying to understand my retirement options. I currently have six years of civilian and military time combined. I would hit 30 years at 52. Under FERS would I be allowed to retire with full pension payments at that age, or do I have to wait until I am 55, 56 or 62? I have heard each of these answers. If I wait until I am 56 with 33 years, could I receive payments then or have to wait until I am 62? Read the rest of this entry »

Buying back military service

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Q. I completed nine years and 10 months of active military service. If I buy back five years of service at county government level (max allowed at county level), will I be able to buy back the remaining four years and 10 months of active service based on acquiring a federal job after county retirement? Read the rest of this entry »

Leave without pay

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Q. How much leave without pay in a calendar year can a United States Postal Service employee use without affecting the time going to their retirement? Read the rest of this entry »

Withdrawn CSRS contributions

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Q. I left government service in 1995 and withdrew all of my CSRS contributions so I could start a business. I have never returned to federal service. I had over 15 years service including my military service time. Even though I withdrew my contributions, do I still have any pension available to me? Also, is it possible at this point to repay those contributions? I am now age 68. Read the rest of this entry »

Social Security benefit

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Q. My husband is a CSRS retiree with 34 years of service, he also has enough credits to qualify for his own Social Security. I am a FERS employee retiring this year with 33 years of service. We are both GS-15 retirees. Obviously, my Social Security is much higher than his. Would it matter if he files for Social Security under himself or under my benefits? Or will the offset be equivalent? Read the rest of this entry »

Credit for unused sick leave

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Q. I am considering retiring at the end of this year. I am under CSRS and will have 41 years of service and at least 2,100 hours of unused sick leave when I leave. I’m told that in order for me to get the maximum 80 percent of my retirement, I must meet it in actual years of service and unused leave is not creditable toward that figure to make up the 1 year and 11 months. Is that true? What happens to the unused sick leave if I stay on and work 41 years and 11 months – do I lose that time since I max out at 80 percent? Read the rest of this entry »

Government contributions to retirement fund

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Q. I’m a CSRS employee with more than 41 years of service and plan to continue my federal employment well beyond 41 years. I understand that CSRS employees contribute 7 percent of their salary into the retirement fund and that the government matches that 7 percent contribution into the fund. I’m told that, after completing 41 years, 11 months of service, I will reach the maximum annuity benefit of 80 percent. At that point, the 7 percent retirement contributions will continue to be taken from my pay and placed into an interest-bearing account to be refunded when I retire. When that happens, does the government continue to pay its matching 7 percent contribution into the interest-bearing account as well? Read the rest of this entry »

Sick leave credit

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Q. Being a rehired annuitant who is receiving both his annuity and the full salary of his position, will I be paid out earned sick leave when I leave federal service? Read the rest of this entry »

Health insurance after retirement

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Q. I am 53-year-old female who retired on disability from USPS in 2007. My husband still works at USPS, and I am on his Blue Cross Blue Shield health insurance. We are divorcing, and I need my health insurance due to my disability. I need to know if I am eligible for insurance through the USPS since I am a former employee under FERS. Any info will be helpful. Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

Credit for Peace Corps service

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Q: My husband and I are getting ready to retire and are both CSRS employees. My husband was actually hired in 1984, which would have put him in FERS, but he had Peace Corps service, so his SCD is 10/1982. He never made the deposit for Peace Corps service; he is now 64, and we believe he is eligible for Social Security. Can he make the deposit now? I understand that they take forever to process. Does the payment need to be received by the Office of Personnel Management before his separation date? If it is not received and he loses the credit for the 22 months of Peace Corps service, will they convert him to FERS, or will he simply lose 22 months from his total time of federal service? Read the rest of this entry »

Retirement funds

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Q. I was forced into applying for retirement, being on Workers’ Compensation and was “separated in 2002 with 25 years of service. I am 70 and still on Workers’ Compensation. I would like to withdraw my retirement lump-sum. Can  I still keep my life insurance that is deducted? I understand if Workers’ Compensation stops paying me, that I wont be allowed back on retirement if I do this. But I could not live on the amount anyway and I do need the money now. Read the rest of this entry »

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Basic Life insurance

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Q. I have recently read an article that stated the following: The survivor of an individual who meets the definition of a FERS annuitant is not eligible for the FERS Basic Employee Death Benefit (BEDB), the BEDB is a lump sum payment made to the spouse of an individual who dies while still in federal service. This individual has not filed an application for retirement and has not separated from federal service.
So, does this mean as a retired annuitant, a spouse who was provided a spousal benefit cannot get any benefit for carrying the Basic Life into retirement? Read the rest of this entry »

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CSRS Offset

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Q. I started with the federal government on Aug. 18, 1986. I was recently reviewing my personnel records and noticed that from that day until Dec. 31, 1986, my retirement plan was listed on my SF-50 as CSRS Offset. Then on Jan. 1, 1987, it was changed to FERS. Were individuals who entered federal employment on Aug. 18, 1986, automatically changed to FERS the following January, or were employees given the choice to choose between CSRS Offset and FERS? Read the rest of this entry »

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