By Reg Jones
Q. As a federal employee under FERS, is there a maximum percentage from the Veterans Affairs Department that a 6(c) law enforcement officer can receive? I’m at 30 percent; I reach my minimum retirement age in June 2017; and I want to increase my percentage. I have a culmination of multiple issues that could increase my percentage dramatically, but I don’t want this to affect my job as an LEO.
Q. I am a CSRS Offset employee who wishes to retire from a Defense Department agency in early 2014 and begin collecting my annuity. I also wish to be employed by different DoD agency part time (less than 1,000 hours per year) immediately after I retire.
Will my retirement annuity be reduced to offset any portion of my new part-time income from the new DoD agency?
If my retirement annuity is not reduced by any portion of my new part-time income, will any portion of my new part-time income be reduced by any portion of my retirement annuity?
Is there any threshold (i.e. number of hours) working part time for a federal agency which, if exceeded, would result in either a reduced annuity or reduced part-time pay?
December 10th, 2013 | annuity reduction Creditable service: CSRS CSRS annuity computation CSRS Offset Government pension offset High-3 Military service deposits PAY RETIREMENT SOCIAL SECURITY substantial earnings SURVIVOR BENEFITS Windfall elimination provision
Q. I worked in CSRS from 1972 to 1988 and returned in May 1990 as a CSRS Offset. I was a reservist on active duty from March 1991 to March 1992 during Desert Storm. I also have been drawing Social Security since May 2006. My husband passed away in September 2008, and I am receiving the survivor benefit. I want to retire this year, and I have no idea what I will receive. I think my total Social Security is about 27 or 28 years for paying.
Q. The cost for the full spousal annuity is 10 percent of the retirement income. As the retirement income increases with cost-of-living adjustments, does the spousal annuity cost increase?
Example: Year 1 retirement income: $50,000; spousal annuity cost: $5,000
Year 20 retirement income: $65,000; spousal annuity cost: $6,500
Q. I recently went back to work as a federal employee with the Veterans Affairs Department. When I retired through Department of the Army, I was a GS-9 Step 4 with more than 27 years of total federal service. In addition, during my tenure, I worked with the Defense Finance and Accounting Service as a GS-8 that was within the same job series 0990.
Thus far, VA has not given me credit for my total service time, whereupon they set my service computation date up as Jan. 27, 2013. I was hired into a GS-7 position on that date, and they brought me in as a Step 1, although I had thought I would be at least a Step 2 or 3 because of the GS-8 position I had held with DFAS for nearly two years.
I contacted the Office of Personnel Management and complained but was told that these issues are out of their jurisdiction and that it is up to the employing agency to decide. The primary reason I considered going back to work for the federal government was because I believed I would receive eight hours of annual leave each pay period as I did before retirement instead of the four hours I currently receive. Is VA correct in doing so? I thought that total federal service time counted even as a rehire. Why am I having to forfeit the offset amount if my prior service time is not given back to me?
Perhaps I can somewhat understand being brought back onboard as a GS-7 Step 1. However, once again because I am having to give up an offset amount of a GS-9 Step 4, I would have thought VA would be more accommodating. If I wasn’t a retiree and had been a GS-9 and had taken a downgrade to a GS-7, wouldn’t they keep the rate of pay in line? So why doesn’t that apply with returning to federal service after having been retired?
Thus far, VA has spent several thousand dollars to train me in my new position as a VSR. However, I am now debating whether this job and the stress that goes along with it is really worth the lack of benefits I had expected. Am I being treated properly by VA on these two issues?
Q. My wife and I were both career federal employees. She left federal service a few years ago with FERS MRA+10. She postponed retirement until now to avoid the penalty.
Just before leaving service, I changed my Federal Employees Health Benefits coverage from self only to self and family to cover her. She then terminated her coverage (had been covered more than five years continuously prior to that).
When she starts retirement, she can enroll in FEHB self-only coverage. Can I also change my coverage to self-only at that time? Is her eligibility to continue FEHB coverage a qualifying life event for me to change from self and family to self only?
Q. I am a retired letter carrier. My wife has been on my Federal Employees Health Benefits since my retirement four years ago. She is enrolled in a graduate program and receives health insurance through her university. Can I drop her from my health insurance while she is covered by the university and then add her again when she graduates?
Q. I am 58 years old and plan to retire in the next few years. My husband turned 65 this year and plans to retire in the next year. We are covered under Federal Employees Health Benefits. Should my husband be taken off my medical plan to reduce my contribution? How will this affect his Medicare coverage?
Q. I am a federal firefighter on emergency leave due to an ill family member. Because my department did not approve my leave without pay for a second time within the year (the first one was approved for six months), my department is requiring that I return to Hawaii (I am in Los Angeles caring for my father).
Why can’t I just resign by mail? Flying to Hawaii just to sign a couple of forms seems ridiculous to me — especially when it will cost me over $1,000 to do so, in addition to leaving my father alone without care. Can’t the forms just be mailed to me? They said they were going to fire me if I didn’t fly there to resign.
Q. My husband has a rare syndrome, and his prognosis is only a couple years. He cannot be left alone during the day, and I cannot afford to pay someone to stay with him all day. I am age 50, and a GG-13 Step 7 with 15 years of government service (four years of active-duty time is included in this). Can I retire now (I am under FERS) and still keep my health insurance? What would I receive in pension, and what would be the cost of keeping my health insurance as I cannot afford to lose it due to all of his medical appointments?
Q. If I go on phased retirement at age 60, and then work in phased retirement until age 62, do I then receive the 1.1 annuity multiplier when I fully retire?
Q. I was active Army for two years and Army Reserve for 14 years. I bought back the two years. Can I also compute and buy back the annual active training including service/months in schools? If so, do I have to show orders and honorable discharge from the Reserve? I am a civilian employee for the Defense Department with 13 years of actual employment.
Q. My husband is a federal police officer on Fort Benning, Ga. The police officers do not receive law enforcement pay, but the firefighters do. Does law enforcement pay affect retirement very much?
December 9th, 2013 | annuity reduction Benefits Creditable service: CSRS CSRS annuity computation Government pension offset PAY SOCIAL SECURITY spouse benefits substantial earnings taxes Windfall elimination provision
Q. Will I be able to draw Social Security if my husband is retired military and retired CSRS? I have work for more than 30 years paying Social Security tax and have been told I can’t draw. Will my husband be able to draw because he has paid Social Security tax as a self-employed contractor?
Q. Are there penalties for leaving/retiring 22 months before I turn 55? I am CSRS with more than 30 years. Would I have health insurance? I’m thinking I would lose 4 percent of the full retirement.
Q. My position is relocating well out of the commuting area. I cannot relocate along with that position. If I were placed in a new position at my current location but at a lower grade level, would I be entitled to save pay per 5 CFR 536?
Q. Three years ago, I took a disability retirement from a motor vehicle accident. In the past three years, I rehabilitated myself to go back into the federal workforce to repay monies I had received from the Office of Personnel Management for the disability retirement. I was a GS-05 at the Veterans Affairs Department. Am I eligible to apply for the Career Transition Assistance Program, as well as my Schedule A Hiring Authority when applying for new, open GS-06 positions?
Q. I am a 54-year-old federal government employee under FERS. I have 10 years federal service from the military and three years of permanent service as a civilian government employee for a total of 13 years (I have not bought back the 10 years). I also have 13 years of state time from teaching. I would like to know if I can transfer my 13 years of state time to my federal time for retirement and vice versa. I am concerned about my retirement, and I am considering leaving the government without a retirement and working for either a public school or college as either a teacher or an administrative assistant.
Q. Can unused sick leave be added to actual service time to meet the 30-year threshold to be eligible for the special retirement supplement at my minimum retirement age?
Q. I have been employed in civil service for almost three years now. I am still in the process of paying for my military buyback. I had signed up for the funds to be taken directly from my pay. It took almost a year to receive all of the forms for starting my buyback. I am about to reach the three-year point when interest will be applied to the remaining balance. I am buying back more than 11 years of military service, so it is a significant amount, and I would like to send in a check to cover most of the amount I have left. I cannot locate a phone number or email or address to contact someone about this. I would like to have the balance paid before interest starts accruing. Could you help with this?