By Reg Jones
Q. My husband worked for the government for 25 years under CSRS and receives a pension. When he retired, we applied for spousal benefits because I had no qualifying employment. He then went to work in the private sector and will complete his 30 years of substantial earnings for Social Security next year. When he retires, he will receive another pension from his private job. As we understand it, we should not be affected by the windfall elimination provision. However, we are confused by the government pension offset. Will he not be entitled to draw his full Social Security at age 66 or later? How will it affect my half of his Social Security payments? How will it affect my spousal benefit of his federal pension should he die before I do? Am I correct in understanding that the pensions are not considered earned income and should not reduce the Social Security amount?
Q. I am a legacy U.S. Customs officer. When we switched over to law enforcement officer status, we were told we would be grandfathered in and therefore our retirement computation would go like this: high-3 x 10 years x 1 percent plus high-3 x 6 years x 1.7 percent. Is that true? Someone said I would have to work 20 years in a law enforcement position to get the enhanced 1.7 percent computation. I thought that was for those hired under the 1.7 percent enhanced retirement.
Q. I am a CSRS retiree. I retired in 2007 and remarried in 2008. I have no obligations to any former spouse, etc. I never thought about getting my new wife survivor benefits. Can I still acquire survivor benefits for my wife after all this time? I get nowhere with OPM; either they do not know or they go get me an answer and say they’ll get back to me and I never hear from them again.
April 24th, 2013 | annuity reduction Creditable service: CSRS Creditable service: FERS CSRS annuity computation EMPLOYMENT FERS annuity computation Minimum retirement age Re-employment RETIREMENT term employee
Q. I was allowed to go back into CSRS after an 18-year break in service even though I cashed out of it in 1991, with eight years of service. I can pay the redeposit back and have 12 years of service, if that is the wise thing, but I am waiting to see if I get a permanent job when this temporary job expires in 2014. Since I am only 54, I am beginning to wonder if I should have gone back into CSRS, because if I can’t find another federal job, and it is looking difficult with the budget questions, I still have to wait till age 62 to retire in CSRS, whereas if I were in FERS, I could retire at 55. Am I missing something?
Q. I am 53 with 30-plus years of excepted civil service with the National Guard. I believe my MRA is 56. At age 56, can I voluntarily retire with no penalties? Could I voluntarily retire early?
Q. What are the benefits of buying military service time toward civil service? I have 14 years of military service and two years of civil service and am trying to figure out if it is beneficial to buy military time or not. What is the best way to figure this out?
Q. Is there a minimum probation or vesting period required to be eligible to participate in FERS? Suppose a person worked for the federal government for one year, had nine years of military service and participated in the military buyback? Would this be considered 10 years of creditable service? Would the person be eligible for a retirement annuity?
Q. I am under CSRS offset. I am going to retire in three years at age 62. I know my government pension will be reduced by $213 when I turn 62. According to my Social Security statement, I should receive $888 if I collect at age 62. It states: “At your current earnings rate, if you continue working until 66, you will receive $1,366 a month.” What happens if I don’t collect Social Security at age 62 and wait until full retirement age? Will I receive $1,366 a month minus the $213 offset reduction, minus the windfall elimination provision? (I will have only 20 years under Social Security.) Or will the $1,366 be recalculated since I won’t be paying Social Security from age 62 to age 66? Also, I am divorced and not remarried. My ex-spouse is retired military and under FERS. He has remarried, but I am still entitled to his Survivor Benefit Plan under his military retirement plan. If something happens to him and I start receiving SBP, will my Social Security be affected?
Q. In calculating a retiree’s high-3, do personnel consider the pay rate I should be receiving or the pay rate I am actually receiving? Under this pay freeze, I am a FS-01 Step 5, but I am being paid at the FS-01 Step 3 level. If I retired this year, would my annuity be calculated using the pay I should be receiving (at the Step 5 level) or usingthe pay I’m actually receiving (at the Step 3 level)? Read the rest of this entry »
Q. I would like to retire at between 56 and 58 with deferment until I reach age 60 and can draw my reserve retirement.
I am a gray area reservist with 20 creditable years of total service. This includes four years and two months of active duty that I bought back after I accepted a FERS position. I have been with FERS for 20 years, including buyback. Will I still be able to draw both retirements since my military retirement is a reserve retirement? In 2017, I will have 25 years, and I would like to retire no later than 2018 at 58.
How will my annuity be calculated? Do I have to retire at 60 to receive both retirements?
Q. If I have 20 years of federal service (including more than 15 in the foreign service) but I haven’t turned 50, can I retire but defer receipt of my benefits/pension until I am eligible at age 50? For example, an employee is 47 years old and has completed 20 years of federal service. Can that employee leave the service and still receive full retirement benefits beginning at age 50?
Q. I receive a FERS annuity. If I receive Social Security disability, I understand I lose 60 percent of that pay until I’m 62. Will FERS go back however many months and make me pay back the difference for those months of retroactive pay from Social Security? In other words, if I collect six months of retroactive pay from Social Security do I owe FERS 60 percent of my annuity that I received for those six months?
Q. I am a retired federal employee who retired in 2002 under CSRS. I am 80 and single. If I marry a lady who is 70, how much will be taken from my retired pay, and how much will she receive when I pass away?
Q. After 35 years with the federal government, I retired Feb. 29, 2012.
During my last full pay period, I used 16 hours of sick leave. I discovered after a call from OPM recently that a correction to my final sick leave balance was made by my former employing agency, modestly increasing my sick leave balance. OPM informed me today that after the correction, my sick leave balance was six hours short of the number of hours needed to bring my total creditable working hours up by one more full month.
After hearing this, I realize that had I used six hours LESS sick leave (instead of 16 hours) in my last full pay period in pay status, and used just 10 hours of sick leave plus six hours of annual leave for the time I took off during that last full pay period, I would have had enough creditable work hours to complete another full month toward the calculation of my annuity.
My question to you now is whether or not leave I used in my last full pay period can be recharacterized almost a year since retiring because that would initiate another updated correction to my sick leave balance, which would be forwarded to OPM via the National Finance Center, and subsequently permit a recalculation of my final annuity amount.
I was paid a lump sum for unused annual leave a few weeks after retiring but would gladly reimburse the agency for six of those hours if possible if a correction to my time and attendance report for the last full pay period could be done, allowing for a recharacterization of leave I used during my last full pay period, which would increase my annuity, even if only a little.
Q. I am in CSRS offset, and I am eligible to retire now.
I expect to be working past age 66, when I can collect full Social Security benefits. If I collect the benefits and continue to work, how will my retirement calculation change when I retire? Most, but not all, of the Social Security benefits were earned while I was under CSRS offset.
Also, how would my retirement be affected if I collect the Social Security before age 66?
Q. I am 57 and was a civilian firefighter for the Navy in FERS with 13 years of service. I was medically retired in 2001 and have been receiving a disability annuity since.
I remember being told or having read that when I turn 62, my disability annuity will revert to a standard retirement, reducing my pension.
A couple of years after I left the federal system, I found part-time work to help add to my income, staying well under the 80 percent requirement, but over the last two to three years, my medical issues have worsened, and I am now unable to work at all.
If my annuity changes from disability retirement to standard retirement, will it affect my medical coverage or the cost of my medical coverage, and is it possible to have my disability considered permanent to avoid the change in retirement designations?
Q. I will be retiring from civil service under CSRS with 40 years of service. I will also be drawing my reserve retirement next year when I turn 60. I have three years and nine months of unpaid military service, and it would cost approximately $26,000 to buy back the service. I know when I turn 62, the Social Security windfall elimination provision will reduce my Social Security annuity. I have less than 20 years of significant earnings. I’m wondering if it is worth paying the $26,000 to buy back the three years and nine months.
Q. I’m a FERS employee considering retiring under the MRA+10 provision. I’m 59 with 20 years of service. If I postpone the start of my annuity until I reach 60, I know there won’t be any reduction in my annuity. Will I also be eligible for the special retirement supplement if I postpone my annuity?
Q. I am a FERCCA case. I was inadvertently placed in FERS when hired by my agency after eight years in the legislative branch.
I have elected CSRS offset coverage. I have 28 years, eight months of creditable service and am eligible to retire now.
My annual salary and high-3 are not likely to change in the next few years. Are CSRS offset annuities helped by length of service? Would it benefit me to work two or three more years?
Q. I was injured in September 2010 and was out of work until I retired on disability in March 2011. I exhausted my annual and sick leave, since my initial workers’ compensation claim was denied.
After numerous appeals, my workers’ compensation claim was approved in October 2011. I began receiving interim retirement payments in September 2011 but have yet to receive payment from OPM for annual and sick leave I would have accumulated during that period. I have contacted DFAS and OPM, along with filing two congressionals regarding this issue, but no resolution.
Shouldn’t I be paid for the time I would have been on workers’ compensation? Shouldn’t OPM pay the lump sum after receiving notification that my workers’ compensation claim was approved? I have contacted OPM, and it seems to lack adequate professionals to decipher this mess.