Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

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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CSRS disability and military redeposit

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Q. I’m a 55-year-old CSRS employee filing for disability retirement from the USPS. I have eight years military but have redeposited only half of what is required.

Will I be able to continue making deposits while OPM reviews my case? And if not, will I get my initial deposit back in a lump sum?

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Obtaining deferred annuity

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Q. I resigned from the Postal Service in August 2005. My start date was Jan. 15, 1975. My pension was placed in a deferred annuity. I understand this annuity is maintained in Pennsylvania.

Could I obtain the address of this place, and will I be able to draw my pension at 60 or 62?

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Retiring early on sick leave

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Q. I work for USPS under FERS. On Feb. 4, 2015, I will be 57 and have 30 years of service. I will also have approximately six months of sick leave. Can I use my sick leave as days worked and retire six months earlier?

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USPS survivor annuity and Social Security

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Q. My husband died at age 51 in 2000. He worked 28 years for USPS, plus four years in the military, for 32 years (he paid no Social Security taxes for the 28 years in USPS). I have received widow’s death benefit annuity payments since his death, in addition to purchasing the USPS medical insurance plan. I worked full time in the medical profession until his death and have worked part time since 2000. I would like to take my Social Security at age 62 (in 3 years). Am I still eligible to receive the USPS death benefit annuity (and insurance option) once I start collecting my Social Security?

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Early postal retirement and supplemental income

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Q. I took early retirement from the post office Feb. 28, 2009, with 26 years of service at age 48. Will I be eligible for supplemental income at age 56?

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Former federal employee and total service computation

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Q. I worked for the U.S. Postal Service under CSRS for 17 years and resigned in 1988 to work in private industry. I left my contributions in the retirement fund. Several years later, I went to work for the Department of Veterans Affairs as a FERS employee. Can my time with USPS be used toward my retirement with the Department of Veterans Affairs?

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Appropriate retirement system for mail carrier

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Q. I am a carrier for the post office. I was hired as a career employee in 1998. I have been under FERS from the start.

However, I also worked as a career employee for the post office between November 1978 and March 1984 under CSRS. I recently filled out Form 3108 to try and buy back those 5½ years toward my retirement. After such a long break in service, will I still remain under FERS, or will I be classified as a CSRS offset?

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Early retirement’s effects on pension

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Q. I am a 55-year-old city mail carrier with 18-plus years of service. How much of a reduction from my full retirement funds would result if I retired at 57 with 20 years of service?

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