Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

Annuity options for rehired annuitant

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Q. I retired as a GS-14, CSRS employee, at 30 years. If I take a GS-15 position, does the retirement stop, or is the pay just offset by the amount of the annuity? Do you pay into the CSRS retirement fund or FERS, or can one defer? Does health insurance continue from the retirement or from the new payroll?

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FERS employment after FERS retirement

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Q. I retired at almost age 58 with 20½ years’ creditable service in the National Park Service under FERS. I took the 20 percent-plus hit for going before age 62. I am considering a term position with the NPS with retirement benefits.

Can I stop my FERS annuity, take the term job, and then retire after I reach 62 so my retirement will be refigured at an older age with more time in service? Do I have to stop the annuity so many days before I take the job? Any other warnings on this situation?

A. No, you can’t stop your annuity. If you returned to work for the government, the salary of your new position would be offset by the amount of your annuity. If you worked for one year full-time, you’d be entitled to a supplemental annuity. If you worked for five years full-time, you’d be entitled to a redetermined annuity.

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Retirement processing, retroactive pay and unemployment benefits

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Q. I was a re-employed annuitant who officially retired Jan. 3 from another federal agency. The human resources specialist at the last federal agency informed me that I would receive my full retirement benefits beginning Feb. 1, since my SF 2801 and additional paperwork was submitted to the Office of Personnel Management prior to their Jan. 18 deadline. I have approximately 37 years of combined federal service: 27 years with the first federal employer and 10 years with the second and final federal employer.

Thanks to OPM’s severe backlog, I have received nothing except the annuity from my first annuity, which I’ve been receiving since January 2003. During this interim, am I eligible for unemployment compensation? Will I receive retroactive pay for the months prior to final my redetermined annuity?

A. Yes, your redetermined annuity will be retroactive to the date on which you retired for the second time. No, you aren’t eligible for unemployment compensation.

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Rehired annuity

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Q. I am a GS-14 federal retiree, having retired in October. I worked continuously (no break in service) for 34½ years. My period of employment was entirely competitive service. I was classified as exempt from the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. I am interested in knowing how I would be paid if I decided to apply as a rehired federal annuitant. Is there a table that you can point me to with a step-by-step decision tree as well as examples of how a salary would be determined?

A. Nope. There aren’t any tables or decision trees. It would be up to you to find a job and negotiate with your potential employer to set a rate of pay within the pay scale for that grade. In most cases, your salary would be offset by the amount of your annuity. If you worked for a year full time, you’d be entitled to a supplemental annuity. If you worked for five years full time, you’d be entitled to a redetermined annuity.

Note: If you were hired into a position that allowed you to receive both your annuity and the full salary of your position, you wouldn’t be entitled to either a supplemental or a redetermined annuity. When you left, your salary would simply stop and your annuity would continue.

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Redetermined annuity and sick leave

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Q. I am a re-employed FERS annuitant, and my salary is offset by my annuity. I have a CSRS component to my FERS retirement. When I first had my discontinued service retirement in March 2009, the CSRS portion of my sick leave was credited to my annuity. My FERS sick leave portion was not. When I returned to federal service in 2011, I was credited the unused FERS portion of my sick leave to my employee account. When I am eligible for a redetermined FERS annuity, after five years, what will happen to the original sick leave credited to the CSRS part of my annuity? Does it go into the calculations of the redetermined annuity, or is it gone? Does my current FERS sick leave balance go into the redetermined annuity calculations?

A. When you retired, you were given credit for any sick leave you still had to your credit when you transferred to FERS. That leave was added to your actual CSRS service and used in the computation of the CSRS component of your annuity. When your annuity is redetermined, that computation will be based on the total CSRS service with which you were credited (actual and sick leave). The FERS component computation will include your current sick leave balance.

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