By Reg Jones
July 29th, 2014 | Creditable service: FERS
Q. My divorce decree doesn’t mention retirement. We made no claim for each other’s retirement nor did we waive any rights. It just wasn’t mentioned. Can my ex-spouse claim any of my FERS retirement benefits? If so, would it only be half of what I put in during our marriage? Read the rest of this entry »
July 24th, 2014 | High-3
Q. I am 50 and I have been in government for 27 years. I am going to apply for a deferred retirement at age 60 or 62. I thought I read somewhere that the “high-3″ was consecutive. If I was a GS-13 and due to BRAC had to come back into the government at a much lower grade, could I still use my high-3 including grades 11-13 or am I required to use the last grade I held?
A. Yes. Your high-3 is the highest three consecutive years of average basic pay (78 pay periods), regardless of when they occur in your career.
July 22nd, 2014 | Deferred retirement
Q. I am a FERS (non-LEO) employee and plan to leave government service at age 50 with 26 years of service. Do I elect to defer or postpone my retirement? At what age do I draw from my retirement; 56, 60 or 62? At what age would I qualify for life insurance to be included again? Read the rest of this entry »
July 21st, 2014 | Sick leave
Q. I have an estimate of 13 years, three months and eight days service credit. I have 43 hours of sick leave accrued. I’ll accrue 40 more by retirement. Would I be better off using them as needed for medical appointments as they will not add any time to service credit?
A. Assuming that your numbers are correct, those hours wouldn’t add up to the 174 needed to create an additional month and be used in your annuity computation.
July 21st, 2014 | RETIREMENT
Q. My wife was told she could apply for a redeposit of service credit funds. The state agency she worked for has a program that let’s her file for retirement on funds she withdrew. This program will then take a portion of her monthly retirement to repay the withdrawn amount. I worked for the Defense Department civil service from 1977-1991 but withdrew all funds. Does the civil service retirement system have a similar program?
A. No, it doesn’t. You could only redeposit that money if you returned to work for the federal government.
July 18th, 2014 | FEHBP
Q. I plan to retire in approximately a year at age 55. I have been covered by my wife’s insurance and we thought that I could stop coverage with my wife in the next open enrollment and go on FEP, but they told me in my office that I had to have five years on FEP before I could have coverage upon retirement. Is this true? Why wasn’t this ever brought to my attention? Do I have any options? Read the rest of this entry »
July 1st, 2014 | Creditable service: FERS
Q. I was removed from my agency due to becoming “Medically Unqualified” after 4 years, 9 months under FERS and given disability retirement in 2007. I am considering returning to federal service with a job at the Defense Department. With the disability retirement, I understand that if I maintain the retirement until I am age 62, the time I was on disability retirement would count as time in service for computing my regular retirement. Does that mean the time I have been a disability annuitant will count as service time for a new federal job? Would I/could I buy back the time? I understand my annuity will cease on the date of re-employment. Read the rest of this entry »
June 25th, 2014 | RETIREMENT
Q. When I retire, will i get paid for compensatory time?
A. Any comp time you have to your credit when you retire will be paid at the hourly rate in effect when it was earned.
June 17th, 2014 | RETIREMENT
Q. I am considering retirement under the MRA+10 provision and postponing my annuity until I reach age 62. If I follow this course, am I eligible to sell back any unused annual leave without penalty?
A. Your unused annual leave will automatically be paid to you in a lump sum when you separate from the government.
August 1st, 2012 | Uncategorized
Q. I am a 56-year-old retired military man. I have 10 years in with civil service. I have filed for military disability due to health problems associated with my military career. Can I draw 100 percent disability from the VA and file for disability from my civil service job and Social Security? If so, how does one calculate the resulting monthly payment?
A. If you are approved for disability retirement, your annuity for the first 12 months would be 60 percent of your high-3, minus 100 percent of any Social Security disability benefit to which you are entitled. After that, your annuity would be 40 percent of your high-3, minus 60 percent of any Social Security disability benefit. Assuming that you continued to be disabled, at age 60 your annuity would be recomputed to include all of your service and the years you were on disability retirement. Any VA disability benefit you might be entitled to wouldn’t affect your FERS annuity. However, since this is a site for federal employees and retirees, I don’t know if there would be any negative interaction between that military service-based VA disability benefit and any Social Security disability benefit.
February 27th, 2012 | Creditable service: CSRS
Q: I am a 57-year-old CSRS employee with 35 1/2 years creditable service. I am eligible to retire now (since June 21, 2009) but enjoy the challenge of my job, so I have stayed on. I gave serious consideration to retiring Dec. 31, 2011, but I am not 100 percent certain that is what I want to do (my wife wants to work a while longer). Am I running a risk of losing any benefits by staying a while longer? What is the minimum amount of time required after mailing my retirement application, and the effective date I retire?
A: As to your first question, at this point, no one knows what risk you are taking by staying on. Only time will tell. On your second question, you can submit your paperwork up to the day you leave work. However, prudence suggests that you let your employer know what your plans are well in advance and that you take enough time to have your application reviewed by your personnel office. The consequences of putting your application in at the last minute include having it bounce because of errors or omissions and/or delays in processing by your agency that keep you from getting your initial interim annuity payment until months after you leave.
February 24th, 2012 | Coverage after retirement
Q: My husband and I work for the post office – he will retire soon and I will carry the health insurance and leave with a deferred retirement in a few years – at 45 with 20 years – what happens to the health benefits?
A: Your husband would be able to continue the self and family coverage under Code 1M of the Table of Permissible Changes in Enrollment.
Q: I plan to retire this year. I am under CSRS. I understand the WEP for me but have some doubts about the Social Security benefits of my wife. She has been paying Social Security all her life and never worked for a government with another type of pension. Is her Social Security retirement affected because of me? If I choose a survivor benefit, how is that going to affect her Social Security?
A: The fact that you will receive a benefit from a retirement system where you didn’t pay Social Security taxes will have no affect on her own earned Social Security benefit or on the survivor benefit you elect for her.
February 13th, 2012 | Tricare
Q: I will become eligible for Tricare in March. Is there a need for me to continue coverage with FEHBP and if not, can I drop my coverage before the end of the fiscal year? I don’t turn 60 until March, which is when I become officially retired from the military reserve.
A: You can apply to suspend your FEHB coverage at any time. To do that, you must submit a completed suspension form and provide necessary documentation to show eligibility for Tricare or CHAMPVA during the period beginning 31 days before and ending 31 days after the date you designate as using Tricare or CHAMPVA instead of FEHB coverage. You can get a copy of the suspension form at www.opm.gov/forms/pdf_fill/sf2809.pdf.
January 12th, 2012 | Uncategorized
Q. My wife, age 63, is retired from FERS and draws a monthly retirement check. When I turn 67 in three years and begin drawing my Social Security benefit, is she able to draw a spousal Social Security benefit (50 percent of mine) as well as her full FERS retirement check?
A. You’ll find the answer at www.socialsecurity.gov/OACT/quickcalc/spouse.html.
December 15th, 2011 | RETIREMENT
Q: I am a CSRS employee who plans to retire on my 55th birthday Sept. 22 with 33 years of service. Can I retire at the close of business Sept. 21 or would it be better to retire at the end of the month on Sept. 29 at close of business with a retirement date set at Sept. 30? Does it make a difference? Can I submit my retirement paperwork a year in advance or should I submit it later?
A: The decision is yours to make. If you retire at the end of a pay period, you will get credit for any annual and sick leave you earned during that pay period. If you retire before the end of a pay period, you won’t get any credit for it. Looked at another way, if you retire Sept. 21, there will be a nine day break in income before you go on the annuity roll. If you retire Sept. 30, there won’t be a break. You’ll seamlessly walk off the payroll and onto the annuity roll. While you should plan for your retirement a year in advance and, as part of that process, go to your personnel office to review your official personnel folder (OPF) to make sure everything is in order, you don’t need to submit your retirement application until a few months before you retire.
December 15th, 2011 | RETIREMENT
Q: I’m eligible to retire in January but am considering working a little longer. With the current federal employment climate, is there any danger in delaying, or should I get out while I can?
A: If I examined the entrails of a goat, I might be able to predict the future. Since I won’t, I can’t.
November 9th, 2011 | Uncategorized
Q. How can a FERS employee change their retirement date if they’ve already declared one?
A. You need to inform your supervisor (and your personnel office if you have already submitted your retirement application). Usually, changing your retirement date won’t be a problem. However, if your position is being eliminated as of a certain date or your agency has already committed itself to someone who will fill your position, then it can refuse your request to change the date of your retirement. The reason for its refusal will have to be presented to you in writing.
November 8th, 2011 | Uncategorized
Q. I will be 60 on Nov. 30 and I have 26 years of working at the VA hospital. I also have three years and seven months of military time that I haven’t paid for. When can I retire?
A. Regardless of whether you are covered by CSRS and FERS, because you have at least 20 years of service, you’ll be eligible to retire at age 60.
November 4th, 2011 | HEALTH INSURANCE
Q: I am retired military and also a DoD civilian under FERS. I use Tricare as my health insurance. When I retire, I would like to also have FEHB as a “backup” to Tricare, just in case something changes with Tricare. Do I have to have FEHB for five years prior to my retirement or can I get FEHB at any time once I retire? Also, can I include my family with FEHB coverage after retirement, even if they are not covered now?
A: To carry FEHB coverage into retirement, you would have to be enrolled in it before you retire, and the combination of Tricare and FEHB would have to add up to at least five continuous years of coverage. If you are enrolled in the FEHB program as a retiree, you can change your coverage from self only to self and family during any open season. If you aren’t enrolled when you retire, you cannot enroll at a later date.