By Reg Jones
Q. If a federal employee takes a buyout, but then wants to return to federal service, is he eligible for reinstatement rights, or does he have to compete as though he did not have prior federal service?
February 25th, 2013 | Uncategorized
Q. I recently retired and was told that I had 30 days to change my mind. I took an early-out Jan. 31. Is that true?
A. You can return to work before your annuity is finalized but only if your agency agrees to take you back. It doesn’t have to do that. And it can’t do that if your position has been eliminated or someone else has already filled (or has accepted an offer to fill) your position.
August 24th, 2012 | Uncategorized
Q. After working for approximately 11 years in the private sector and paying into Social Security, I joined the Foreign Service in March 1979. I resigned in July 1983 to get married and start a family. I got back the $4,000 I paid into my retirement. In June 1985, I rejoined the Foreign Service and because my original separation was for the purpose of marriage, I was brought back on at the same grade and step level I was at, my leave balances at the time of my separation were reinstated, and I continued to earn annual and sick leave at the same rate had I never left the Foreign Service. When I was reinstated, I had to pay into both Social Security and Foreign Service retirement systems.
On Nov. 20, 2003, I retired from the Foreign Service and began to collect my annuity, which started out at approximately $25,000 annually. On Dec. 1, 2003, I became a contractor and continued to work at (the same job) at the State Department and I have been a contractor working full time without a break ever since December 2003. I continue to receive my full annuity, as well, which is currently approximately $30,000 annually.
I have, to date, paid into Social Security for almost 38 full years.
I am wondering how I can figure out how much my annuity will be reduced when I reach 62 next year (April 2013).
You state: “your CSRS annuity will be offset only by the amount of Social Security benefit you earned while covered by CSRS Offset,” but how do I calculate that amount? I began paying Social Security while employed by the government in June 1985. I retired from federal service and began collecting an annuity December 2003. That’s 18 years I paid into both. Can you please tell me how to do the math so I am not completely financially shocked when they start the cut? And may I assume that when I do finally collect my Social Security pension at age 67, God willing, it will be the entire amount I have earned, plus whatever I am currently receiving from my Foreign Service pension?
A. When you reach age 62, if you are retired, your CSRS annuity will be offset by the amount of Social Security benefit you earned while a CSRS Offset employee. The amount you receive will be the same. It will just come from two difference places: the Office of Personnel Management and the Social Security Administration. To estimate what the offset would be, use the following formula: Your Social Security benefit estimate at age 62 x your years of offset service rounded to the nearest whole number ÷ 40. If you retire at or after age 62, the offset will occur of the day you retire.
May 29th, 2012 | Uncategorized
Q. I retired (federal law enforcement) on Feb. 29 at the age of 55. My total law enforcement time was 20 years with an additional seven years of federal service. I am receiving a partial annuity until the Office of Personnel Management has the time to finish it, which may be six or seven months. I received a lump-sum payment upon my retirement for my annual leave. I would like to take a job as a reinstatement employee with federal service. Do I lose my entire annuity if I do this? I understand that retirement deductions will be held, but I need to know if I can keep my annuity that I am receiving if I accept a federal position as a reinstatement employee.
Also, if I make more than the $14,500 limit, it’s my understanding that the additional supplement under FERS will be reduced by $1 for every $2 I make. Is this applicable at my age (55), or does this apply when I reach another age? I thought I could make as much money until I was 57 before the supplement was reduced.
A. Unless you are hired into a position that allows you to keep your annuity and the full salary of your new position, your salary will be offset by the amount of your annuity. You may earn as much as you want before you reach your minimum retirement age, which, in your case, is 56. After that, you’ll be subject to the Social Security earnings limit. In 2012 that limit is $14,640.
Tags: annual leave, annuity reduction, earnings limit, federal employment reinstatement, FERS, law enforcement, lump sum, minimum retirement age, Offset, OPM, RETIREMENT, salary, SOCIAL SECURITY, special retirement supplement
May 22nd, 2012 | Uncategorized
Q. I am a non-dual-status employee, under FERS. I resigned in 2007 with a deferred retirement. I didn’t touch it. I came back in 2009 as an emergency hire non-dual-status for two years. I then was made a temporary NTE for two years. I was then brought back as a reinstatement employee NTE four years with my benefits back. Is there any way to pay back any of the time between when I resigned and when I came back as a reinstatement employee? When I resigned, I had 20 years of retirement but was nowhere near the age. I am now 53.
A. As a rule, nondeduction service performed on or after Oct. 1, 1989, isn’t creditable for length of service or annuity computation purposes, nor can you make a deposit to get credit for it.
May 18th, 2012 | Uncategorized
Q. I am considering reinstatement. I was with the Treasury Department for seven years and nine months, and left in January 1981 as Grade 12, Step 1. I received a refund of retirement contributions of approximately $6,000 when I left. How can I approximate what my pension will be if I return to the Treasury Department at a Grade 13, Step 1 and work for 5½ years. How would this calculation work if I wanted to calculate the pension at different dates?
At the time I left, I was not required to make Social Security withholdings. I have made Social Security deposits in private industry jobs for the past 32 years. Will I be required to have Social Security withheld?
A. Because you took a refund of your CSRS retirement contributions before Feb. 28, 1991, you’ll receive credit for that time in determining your total years of service. If you redeposit the amount you owe, plus accrued interest, you’ll also get credit for that time in your annuity computation. If you don’t, your annuity will be actuarially reduced based on the amount you owe and your age when you retire.
If you return to work for the government, you will be placed in CSRS Offset (CSRS and Social Security) with the option of transferring to FERS. In either case, Social Security deductions will be taken from your pay. Because of the variables involved, it’s impossible to tell you what your annuity would be. All I can do is provide you with the formulas for CSRS and FERS:
CSRS: 0.015 x your highest three consecutive years of average salary x five years of service, plus
0.0175 x your high-3 x five years of service, plus
0.02 x your high-3 x all remaining years and full months of service
FERS: 0.01 x your high-3 x all years of service, unless you retire at age 60 or older with at least 20 years of service. In that case, the multiplier would be increased to 0.011.
Note: If you elect to stay in CSRS Offset, at age 62, if you are retired, or when you retire if it’s after age 62, your CSRS annuity will be offset by the amount of Social Security benefit you earned while covered by CSRS Offset. If you elect to be covered by FERS, you’ll have a CSRS component in your annuity.
April 25th, 2012 | Uncategorized
Q. I was a federal employee for over 10 years. Someone once told me if I take a temporary position with the government, I will lose my years toward retirement as if I never worked for the government. Can I accept a temporary position without jeopardizing my years? If I accept a temporary position, will I still be considered a reinstatement? Also, if I accepted a temporary position, can I still apply for and get a permanent position?
A. Whoever told you that taking a temporary position would cancel your prior years of federal service was mistaken. You can take a temporary job without jeopardizing that service. Whether it would be considered a reinstatement depends in part on the nature of the appointment and is something you’d have to check with your potential employer. Nothing prevents your applying for a permanent position if you are holding a temporary one.
November 29th, 2011 | Uncategorized
Q. I retired with 28 years of service at age 51 (voluntary early retirement), was rehired as a retired annuitant with my current term ending Jan. 31 after 4 ½ years and collecting both my pension and salary. Now, I wish to come back (reinstatement) to my old field position at the same grade level and wish to rescind the collection of my pension and receive my old salary. Will I have to pay back anything and will there be any off set to my salary at Grade 12 because of receiving a pension in the past?
A. Because you retired voluntarily, if you return to work for the government in the way you described, the salary of your new position will be offset by the amount of your annuity.
September 2nd, 2011 | Uncategorized
Q. I am eligible for federal employment reinstatement with military preference. I was a GS-12 Step 3 with six years of seniority. I left federal employment in 1986. If I am reinstated as a GS-12, will I re-enter at Step 3 or Step 1? Will I retain my six years of seniority plus four years for my military service?
A. The fact that you are reinstatement eligible doesn’t mean that you have automatic entitlement to a particular grade or step. You’ll have to find a position for which you are qualified and apply for it. Depending on your qualifications, you could be offered one at your previous grade or one above or below it. Part of the step determination may depend on what you are making now.
If you come back to work for the government, you will get credit for you prior years of civilian service. And it will also be used in your annuity calculation, unless you took a refund of your retirement contributions when you left. If so, you’ll have the option of redepositing that amount plus accrued interest or having your annuity reduced acturially based on how much you owe and your age at retirement. Depending on when your active-duty service was performed, you may have to make a deposit to get credit for it.