Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

Switching family health coverage

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Q. I am a retired USPS employee. Presently, I am enrolled with BCBS with self and family option. My wife wants to get Medicare Part B and cease to be enrolled with my FEHBP. Can my wife re-enroll with my plan if she decides to do so later on? Read the rest of this entry »

Unpaid non-deposit

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Q. A friend is in her 48th year of federal service and has not, to date, paid the non-deposit for her first three years of employment. Once she passed 41 yrs 11 months of federal employment, a deduction for the non-deposit began to be deducted from her check. Is this the usual protocol in this situation? Will she be able to repay her non-deposit before she retires, now that this has happened? Read the rest of this entry »

Tricare and FEHB benefits

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Q. I retired from the Army in 2011 and have been working as a contractor since then. I have just accepted a GS position. I have Tricare (retired) now. Does my new position have the option of Tricare or is that just a military thing? If not, then should I ditch the Tricare for the FEHB? Any advantages/disadvantages either way? Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

Social Security benefits for military service

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Q. How could I find out if I am getting military benefits from Social Security? I was in the military from 1960 through 1964 and began receiving Social Security benefits in 2004.

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CSRS deferred retirement

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Q. I was eligible for subject retirement at age 62 on Feb. 19, 2012, but I didn’t apply for it and am now applying at age 65. What will happen to the annuity I could have taken during the three years I was eligible but did not apply for? Read the rest of this entry »

Reserve time and federal civilian buyback

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Q. I have severed in the Air Force Reserves for 10 years. I have about three to four years of active duty time during that time in the reserves due to deployments and working extra days on military orders. If I buy back that time for my federal civilian position, how will that affect my retirement with the reserves should I go back in for my last 10 years in the reserves? 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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Lump sum rate for unused annual leave

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Q. I have a question about determination of the amount I will be paid for unused annual leave. I was in a temporary promotion to DB-04 (GS-14 equivalent) NTE July 24, 2014. If I retire July 31, 2014, will I be paid for annual leave at the salary rate of the GS-14? Read the rest of this entry »

Texas unemployment eligibility and FERS retirement

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Q. I retired as a FERS employee in 1999 with 26 years of service.  I was 48 years old.  I returned to work full time in the private sector February 2007.  I was laid off 02/28/14 due to downsizing in the company.

Texas is the only state I have worked in.  Am I eligible for Texas unemployment benefits?  I am still able to work. Read the rest of this entry »

CSRS annuity calculation and FERS

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Q. I switched from CSRS to FERS with about 10 years in CSRS and 25.5 yrs in FERS. When my service in CSRS is calculated, my total service, including 918 hours of frozen sick leave, equals 10 years 2 months and 17 days.  Is there any way to apply the 17 days to either credit service in CSRS or even FERS (17 days in CSRS is worth more than 34 days in FERS) or do I just lose the 17 days? Read the rest of this entry »

Service separation bonus and annuity computation

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Q. I have 14 years and 8 months of active Army service. In 1993, when Regan was initiating draw down of troops and instituted SSB (Service Separation Bonus),
I received a Service Separation Bonus in 1993′s drawdown of $40,000 before taxes and separated from the Army in Sept. 1993. In June 1995, I entered the federal service as a full time Civilian Government Employee working for the Army Material Command where I work today. At the end of this month, I will have 18 years and 9 months as a federal government worker. I am currently 56 years old.

Would it be more beneficial to add my active military service time to my federal government service time in order to receive a higher pension upon retirement? And if so, will I have to “pay back” the SSB I received in 1993? In general, my annuity would be based on the following formula: .01 x (your high-3) x (your years and full months of service). If I use this formula, then I would require a deposit, correct? Read the rest of this entry »

Voluntary FERS retirement and OWCP

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Q. I’m currently receiving Worker’s Comp. payments for a work related knee injury in July 2012. I’ve had two surgeries and tried numerous physical therapy sessions and the problem has only worsened. I’m in pain all the time. I haven’t returned to work since my injury. I told my doctor that I couldn’t keep up the therapy because it was too painful. My agency required a medical answer from my surgeon as to whether I was able to do anything. He stated that I was permanently incapacitated at this time. I was surprised my agency hadn’t separated me, and I was still on leave without pay. I told my doctor, boss and agency, I didn’t see any other way but to retire. I’m 57 with 17 years under FERS. If I take an immediate retirement, MRA + 10. Can I elect to continue my OWCP payments in leu of my OPM annuity until my injury is resolved through additional surgery i.e. knee replacement? Or, do I lose the compensation?

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VA disability and FERS medical

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Q. I am a civilian FERS employee who received a work related injury.  Right now, I’m in the process of buying back my active military service (four years).  My injury is one that may eventually put me out on FERS medical retirement.  Can I collect federal medical retirement and VA disability?  Would it be beneficial for me to stop my military buyback? Read the rest of this entry »

Annuity reductions for survivor benefits

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Q. Ten percent  of retirement earned (i.e.30 years at age 55 = 56.25 of the high three) must be paid to give a wife the full survivor benefit.  What if the wife is 12 years younger?  Is it still 10 percent? Read the rest of this entry »

Suspending FEHB in retirement

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Q. Can you suspend FEHB after retirement if you are eligible for Tricare? Can you elect to go back on FEHB if desired? How would you do this? Read the rest of this entry »

Retiring under MRA

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Q. I am 52 with 31 years of FERS service. If I retire now, would I still get the special retirement supplement when I turn 56?  Or is that only if I were offered a voluntary retirement?  Can I get my retirement now? What is the penalty given my age and years of service? Read the rest of this entry »

FERS MRA+10 and heath coverage

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Q. If my wife chose to retire now, at her minimum retirement age of 56 with 13 years of FERS service, would she be able to postpone her annuity until age 60?  She currently carries FEHB (self), as long as she has had it the last five years, can I pick her up under my FEHB (self+1 or family) once she retires and then when she becomes 60 she can reinstate her own self-plan at that point? Read the rest of this entry »

Disability and deferred retirement

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Q. I am a FERS employee with the Defense Logistics Agency and have 22 years of service. I turn 50 on Sept. 30. I am considering deferred retirement when I turn 50. What penalties would be applied if my minimum retirement age is 56? I am 100 percent  VA disabled total permanent, but not sure I want to go through another disability battle with OPM. Read the rest of this entry »

Lump sum annual leave payout

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Q. I retired from the USDA Forest Service at the end of PP-26 (1-11-2014). I had 442 hours of annual leave and 15 credit hours at the time of my retirement.  All of this lump sum time was paid out at the 2013 pay rate.  From everything I had read, I thought these hours should have been paid out at the 2014 (1 percent pay raise) rate. Should these hours been paid at the ’13 or ’14 pay rate?

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