Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

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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Unused sick leave over 41 years 11 months CSRS service

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Q. I have over 41 years 11 months creditable service under CSRS. I also have unused sick leave to take me over the 80% max threshold. I used the chart to convert sick leave hours into months and days (rounding up). Does sick leave just get added to the credible service years, months and days, or is it done separately? Also if it is added to the credible service and the days are dropped, does that mean that I can potentially lose up to a month of sick leave days? If so, should I begin taking sick days when I need them, instead of using annual leave, so I don’t just lose them?
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Creditable service and early retirements

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Q. When is creditable service NOT creditable? As an Air National Guard Federal Technician, my local human resources office insists that three-plus years of Title 10 Active Duty military service (which I’ve paid my deposit for) cannot be used to satisfy the 20-year minimum service criteria for early/involuntary (loss of military membership) retirements in IAW 5 USC 8414 (c)(2). Is this correct?
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Disability and buyout retirement

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Q. I received an “early-out/buyout” in 2005 with 24 years (FERS) of service prior to my minimum retirement age. I was age 46 at the time. I am currently receiving social security disability income. Will I be eligible to receive a FERS annuity once I reach my minimum retirement age (MRA)? Will I still be able to collect social security disability income? Or if when I reach my MRA, can I collect the FERS Special Supplement and the social security disability income?

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Temporary time

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Q. I was on a worker trainee, temporary appointment from August 27, 1981, to September 30, 1982. Do I have to buy back that time for it to be calculated in my retirement?

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Leaving federal service

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Q. I am a federal employee (FERS employee from January 1988 to the present) who will likely be leaving federal employment for a private sector position in a different city. What happens to the following:
1. Can I either leave my money in the TSP account or roll it over; in any case, I am not touching the balance until I retire.
2. Am I correct that my retirement annuity freezes until I actually retire and that it would be based on the following calculation — years of service (.26) x the average of the high-3 annual salary?
3. Do I get a lump sum payout for annual leave?
4. Can I get my sick leave back if I return to federal service?
5. I know health care terminates after 30 days. But am I eligible to get any Federal health care after I retire from the private sector?

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FERS disability for term employee

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Q. My husband is a helicopter maintenance instructor on a term-appointment due to expire Dec. 31, 2014. He was taken out from his position as a primary instructor and put in the an assistant instructor position due to memory problems that are affecting his ability to teach and do proper fixes on the aircraft. His supervisor recommended in a counseling statement that he seek medical attention to identify any issues. He has been recently diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and excruciating face pain. He will meet the MRA + 10 retirements in August of this year (all term appointment time) but that provides very little in way of an annuity. Is he eligible to apply for FERS retirement disability? Does he have to apply for Social Security first? He is retired military but receives no disability benefits from the Army or VA. Read the rest of this entry »

Sick leave

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Q. If an employee has sick leave to use or loose before retirement and has a medical appointment, can his or her supervisor disapprove the sick leave for a doctor’s appointment?
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VERA/VISP offered in 2014?

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Q. Is a VERA/VISP going to be offered in 2014?
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Planning for retirement

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Q. I will be 62 the end of June this year. I am in FERS, would like to retire this year and am trying to make a sound decision regarding what date would be best.
1) I have 918 sick hours accumulated. Will they convert 100% into service time?
2) When trying to calculate how much I will get for retirement, is it based on basic pay or total pay with locality adjustment?
3) Is there any penalty if I retire at age 62 if I have less than 20 years of FERS service?
4) Is there any offset with Social Security? Read the rest of this entry »

Retirement and health benefits

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Q. If I retire at age 60 with 25 years of federal service, how will it affect my federal medical health benefits? Will I still be eligible for benefits to continue under the FEHB and will my benefit costs remain the same amount as if was working? Read the rest of this entry »

Federal retirement

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Q. I spent eight years active duty in the Air Force as a physician in the late 1990s. I would like to end my career practicing at the VA. I am 59 years old. If I work at the VA for 11 years, I will only have 19 years of federal service. Will I be entitled to any federal government pension? Must I work a full 20 years for the Fed? Will that effect the Social Security funds that I have contributed to for the past 25 years? Read the rest of this entry »

FERS retirement calculations

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Q. You recently stated in your posts you can receive your FERS retirement benefits calculated at the rate of .011 with 20 years of service, at age 62. Does this benefit rate of 1.1, apply if you left your employment before the MRA (resigned), have more than 20 years of service and elect to receive a deferred retirement at age 62? At age 60, benefits are calculated at .01. Is there a choice? Read the rest of this entry »

Overseas direct deposit

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Q. I would like my FERS retirement monthly benefits direct deposited to my overseas account. What foreign countries does OPM allow direct deposit of retirement benefits? Is the Philippines on the list? Read the rest of this entry »