Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

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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WEP for resident aliens

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Q.  Can explain why the windfall elimination provision applies to a current U.S. resident alien for a period when he was neither resident in the U.S. nor working for a U.S. company overseas. Read the rest of this entry »

Air Reserve technicians

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Q. Are Air Reserve Technicians in the same group as law enforcement officers, firefighters and air traffic controllers when it comes to retirement? I am 52 years old with 30-plus years of service. Can I retire now and receive the supplement immediately or will I not receive it until my minimum retirement age which is 56? Read the rest of this entry »

Military buy back

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Q. I am trying to get information regarding the military service buy back program. I served in the military for four years and got medically retired. I receive compensation from the Veteran’s Affairs, so I thought that it would not be a good idea to buy back. But people say that I should get expert advice on this particular matter.  Could you tell me if the buy back program is beneficial for me? Read the rest of this entry »

Early retirement

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Q. My husband may be transferred resulting in my need to leave federal government employment. I have 21 years of service with the federal government and was born in 1959. For clarification:
1. Do I need to be 56-years-old before I can leave and qualify for deferred retirement?
2. If I leave, and am eligible for a deferred retirement, at what age can I begin my retirement without a penalty?
3. Will my accumulated sick leave apply toward my time?
4. If I take a deferred retirement, will I still qualify for FEHB and, if so, at what age?

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FERS retirement

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Q. I am FERS with a minimum retirement age of 56. I resigned from the government last year at age 50 with 25 years of government service. I am now 51 years old. Can I get a reduced FERS annuity right now with a five percent reduction for each year that I am under age 62?

If the answer is no, what is the minimum age at which I can begin to receive FERS retirement benefits. And what percent of my high-3 would I receive?
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MRA health benefits

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Q. I am a reinstated federal employee with the Bureau of Prisons who is 59 years old and has 15 years of service time. I want to retire under the minimum retirement age and understand there is a five percent penalty for every year under the age of 62. But, am I able to keep my federal health insurance until I reach age 65?
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FERS and Social Security

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Q. I am 66 years old, which is my full retirement age. I worked from 1966 to 1970 for the federal government. I was in CSRS. My credit was three years and 11 months. I stopped working in 1970 to raise a family. I withdrew the money I had paid into CSRS. Between 1970 and 2001, I held a few non-government, small, part-time or intermittent jobs in which I paid into FICA. I returned to work for the Army in December 2001. I was automatically put into FERS, so began paying into FICA and FERS. I have paid back with interest the amount I withdrew from CSRS in 1970. This will give me 16 years and three months of FERS.
I have submitted my retirement packet and applied for my Social Security pension. When I applied for SS, the form asked if I had worked at any time without paying any FICA. I said yes. The next question was “Was it government?” I said yes. Is this going to affect my SS pension? I do not really understand the Offset and Windfall rules. Read the rest of this entry »

Buying back FERS active duty time

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Q. I served five years and 11 months in U.S. Navy between 1992-1997 and was recently hired to work for the VA. Would my active duty time be applied towards my retirement, or do I need to “buy back” that time?
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