Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

Offset reduction

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Q. I’m looking to retire after 38 years of federal service, including 4+ military & 4+ postal. I left the post office and returned to federal service a year later in 1985. I was included as a CSRS Offset, paid my military deposit and have paid into Social Security for over 39 yrs. When I retire, will my CSRS retirement be affected by a reduction when I apply and receive Social Security, or will my Social Security be reduced? The way I read most articles, is that I will receive my federal pension and Social Security without a reduction. Am I correct? Read the rest of this entry »

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CSRS eligibility

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Q. I worked for the post office from 1980 to 1990 and then quit to attend grad school. Although I’ve since become successful, immediately after grad school I needed money and so withdrew it from my CSRS account. Will I be eligible to go back on CSRS if I return to federal service? Read the rest of this entry »

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FERS retirement

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Q. My USPS retirement eligibility date is Dec. 30 (56th birthday).  My annuity projection shows about a $10,000 difference if retiring Dec. 30 vs. April 15 next year, which would be exactly 30 years.  Is this  correct?

A. If you retired at your MRA but with fewer than 30 years of service, you’d be retiring under the MRA+10 provision, which would reduce your annuity by 5 percent for every year you were under age 62. To avoid that hit, you’ll need to wait until you have 30 years of service to retire.

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Health care premiums

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Q. My ex-husband is retiring from the post office and right now he covers our 21-year-old daughter on his insurance plan. Will he still be able to keep himself and her covered with the same cost he is paying now, or will the cost be higher? Read the rest of this entry »

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Disability retirement

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Q. I am an injured postal worker and I have many  conditions that  have accrued as a result of my past 12 years at the Postal Service carrying mail. I just met with the surgeon who did my last carpal tunnel surgery, and he told me that I should start exploring my options and consider medical retirement. Where do I begin to start the ball rolling and who do I need to get in contact with to help me through this difficult time?

A. Download a copy of Standard Form 3112 (Documentation in Support of Disability Retirement), available at www.opm.gov/forms. Take it to your personnel office, which is responsible for helping you complete the form and guide you through the application process.

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Sudden retirement

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Q. My mother is 66 and a letter carrier with 32 years of employment with the Postal Service. She loves her job, but as cuts are made and demands are harsher, she was wondering what would happen if she were to go to work one day and decide she wants to retire immediately. She wants to be sure that she could still get her accrued annual in a lump-sum payment. She als wants to know how long would it take for her to start receiving benefits? Read the rest of this entry »

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Social Security and pension reduction

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Q. In 2009, I took the postal clerk buyout and retired. I am under CSRS with 32 years with 2 years of military Service included. When military buyback was offered some 25 years ago, I passed. In 2009, the same buyback was almost $10,000 so I passed on that. I am working and will have 37 credits of eligibility toward Social Security at the end of this year. If I continue and become Social Security eligible, how much of my monthly pension will I lose?

A. If you become eligible for a Social Security benefit, you won’t lose a penny of your CSRS annuity. However, your Social Security benefit will be subject to the windfall elimination provision. The WEP reduces the Social Security benefit of anyone who has fewer than 30 years of substantial earnings under Social Security.

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Buy back

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Q. I have 20 years at the VA and two years of military service of which I paid back to get credit. I worked in the Postal Service from 1970 to 1977 and took out my retirement.  Can I repay, with interest, that money to receive credit for those seven years?

A. Yes, you can.

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Postal Service retirement, employment and Social Security

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Q. I am planning to retire at age 60 from the Postal Service after 34 years.

I also have five years of military service, which I never paid back. I have 31 quarters in Social Security. If I decide to work after I’m 63 to get the 40 quarters, will it affect the amount of my CSRS retirement?

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Health insurance in retirement

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Q. Will the government continue to pay a portion of health care premiums after I retire (as a FERS participant)? Or am I on the hook for the entire premium at that time? I anticipate retiring at age 67 with 36 years of service.

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Postal Service annuity

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Q. I worked for the Postal Service from 1979 to 1981, then quit. I started working again in 1984 and quit again in 2000. Now I am employed at the Post Office again as a city carrier assistant. What will my retirement from the Post Office look like? I just turned 61. I have always had two jobs, some self-employment and others where I was an employee. Will I be entitled to an annuity from the Postal Service or, at this point, does it matter putting in more years there?

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CSRS retirement and re-employment

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Q. I retired in 2007 with full firefighter retirement and 34 years under CSRS.

I now wish to work for the U.S. Postal Service. Will this job affect my annuity benefits?

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Pension after four years of Post Office work

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Q. I worked for the U.S. Post Office for around two years in the late 1960s, enlisted in the Air Force and served for four years, and returned to work at the Post Office for around two years in the early 1970s after being honorably discharged. Am I entitled to a pension or benefit? If so, how do I apply for them?

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Insurance in retirement

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Q. I have almost 33 years with the government and have FEHB, which also covers my wife and son. I would like to start planning my retirement but am not sure I can afford to keep this coverage once I retire. Will it be the same cost to BC/BS when I retire that I am paying, or will it increase?

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USPS employment and medical coverage in retirement

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Q. I’m 54 and just hit my sixth year of service at the USPS. I’m at tractor-trailer operator under the MVS craft. How many years would I need and at what age would I qualify for medical retirement?

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Retirement and insurance with more than 30 years in CSRS

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Q. I am 55 with 36 years of federal employment, including two one-year breaks in service. The last break was in 1985. I withdrew the funds I had paid into CSRS each time I broke service and have repaid a minimal amount of it. I thought I would be one of those people who worked forever; however, I have a progressively degenerative medical condition and likely will not be able to work more than another year at the most. I am totally ignorant about retirement and to what benefits I am entitled. For example, will my pension benefits be reduced because I am retiring early? Do I continue to pay the same health insurance rates once I retire until I become eligible for Medicare? Will my health benefits remain the same until I become eligible for Medicare? I used the pension calculator and am more confused. For example, I calculated using the percentage for the first five years and the different percentage for the next five years, and then the 2 percent for the remaining years past 10. Is this the amount plus interest, plus matching funds what I pay into CSRS from my paycheck, or do I have to do yet other calculations? I have requested a meeting with my HR department, but it has to wait until it receives information for payroll and tells me it will be weeks before I can get a meeting. My neurosurgeon and neurologist are telling me I should consider retiring immediately, but I need to make this major decision as knowledgeably as possible.

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FEHB coverage options

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Q. I am 64, under CSRS, and my wife is 55, under FERS. I am the subscriber for FEHB. If I retire, would it be advantageous to have her carry health insurance for our family, or should I just continue with things as they are?

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Early-outs and part-time service

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Q. I’m a rural mail carrier and am wondering if I would qualify for an early out when/if offered. My duty date is April 1984 (29 years), but I was hired as a sub (rural carrier associate) and didn’t become regular until 1990, so my retirement computation date is January 1990 (23 years). But I recently turned 49, so I would need 25 years of service to retire under an early out because I am under age 50. I would have 25 years in if the counting period included my sub years.

Are my years of service calculated from when I was hired as an RCA in 1984 or when I went full time in 1990? I realize my annuity would be based on my full-time service, but would my years to total service be calculated with my part-time years? I realize rural carriers have not been offered early-outs yet , but there is much talk about it, and I’m afraid if they offer it before I turn 50 , I won’t qualify since much of my time was as a sub carrier.

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Adding spouse to insurance

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Q. I am a postal employee with self-only coverage. My wife works in private industry and has her own self coverage. Do I need to convert to family coverage and add my wife five years before I retire to keep her on my health insurance? Also, where can I find answers to questions like this?

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Three annuities

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Q. I retired from the military with full retirement in 1995. I think I understand that I cannot buy back any military time without forfeiting retirement pay when I retire from my federal job with the post office. Since the money comes out of my pocket, I have a hard time understanding this. However, I will have 20 years of service with the post office in 2017, when I am 56. If I take retirement, then why will I have a MRA+10 reduction till age 62 if I can retire fully at 60 with 20? Why would it be 30 percent instead of only 20 percent? Also, with the military pension and postal retirement, if Social Security is still around, how will this affect my annuity? Will I be able to pull all three full annuities? Read the rest of this entry »

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