Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

Retiring while on sick leave

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Q. May a federal employee retire with all earned benefits while on sick leave, or must he return to work for a specified amount of time?

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Pension eligibility

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Q. I worked for the National Security Agency from 1961 to 1968. Am I eligible for a pension?

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Re-employed annuitant and recalculated CSRS pension

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Q. I retired from CSRS with 36 years’ service. I have since become a re-employed annuitant and will hit the five-year mark soon. Because of the nature of the position, I did not have to give up my retired pay. When I retire, will I be eligible for a recalculated CSRS pension assuming I elected to make a deposit for the five years as a re-employed annuitant?

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Two pensions?

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Q. I retired from the Marine Corps after 21 years of service in 2002 and I’m receiving retirement pay. I began working with the State Department and will be eligible to retire at age 59 with 20 years of service. Will I be able to retire from the State Department and receive a pension and still receive my pension from the Marine Corps?

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Residency and creditable service

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Q. I’m a federal employee in a Veterans Affairs Department hospital. Before actual employment, I spent three years doing medical residency in VA. Will those three years in training count toward my creditable service for retirement?

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Hazard pay and annuity computation

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Q. I have been told by different people that environmental [hazard] pay is figured into your retirement. Can you explain this for me?

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Survivor annuity

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Q. My father who lives in Puerto Rico, is retired from the Postal Service, and is 64 years old. He told me that if he passes, I’m listed to get his pension which would be $1,200 a month, what he gets now. He is not married, and I’m curious if it’s that simple. Am I eligible? Will I get that much? For how long? I am 34.

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Deferred annuity

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Q. I am a Postal Service employee under FERS, I am over 55 years old and have about 26½ years of service. If I left USPS to work somewhere else in the private sector, would I be able to collect my annuity payments from USPS every month, or would I have to wait until I retire completely to start collecting?

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‘Quitting’ FEHB and re-enrolling

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Q. Can a retired employee quit his Federal Employees Health Benefits in retirement for, say, Tricare for Life and Medicare if retired military, and later opt to switch back to FEHB?

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Disability compensation and annuity

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Q. I’m a 100 percent disabled veteran, effective April 2008, with war-incurred injuries.

In 2010, I applied for disability retirement while working for the Postal Service with 14 years of service and did not buy back my military time.

The Office of Personnel Management calculated my high-3 on my postal salary alone. Should they not have calculated my Veterans Affairs Department compensation income from 2008, since it was a war-incurred injury that led me to retire? Is there a statue that protects vets who have war-incurred injuries? And does OPM allow special compensation for this matter?

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Unused sick leave

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Q. I plan to retire after 20 years of service at age 64 in 2015. I understand that I will be paid for unused annual leave. Will I be paid for unused sick leave?

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Service computation date

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Q. Can a person who is retired from federal civil service and receiving a retirement check keep their service computation date upon rehire?

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WEP

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Q. I would like to know who is responsible for informing employees who work for the government of the windfall elimination provision. I was not told about the WEP until I went to the Social Security office to file for my Social Security retirement. My Social Security benefits were reduced by more than $1,000 per month. I worked hard all my life with two jobs for over 30 years. For what? Just to have my benefits go to someone who did not work but gets benefits. How are you to be informed of this law?

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Medicare Part B

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Q. I am a recent retiree and have to decide whether to obtain Medicare Part B coverage. I have, and intend to keep, my Blue Cross coverage. I am trying to determine whether I should opt for Medicare Part B for my wife and I, even though I have Blue Cross. The Medicare Part B monthly payments would range about $150 for each of us.

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Catch-62

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Q. I was told I am included in the catch 62 provision. I served four years in the Air Force from 1974 to 1978 and began Postal Service employment in 1979 (to present). I’d like to retire this year. I also have 2,282 hours of sick leave, and my service computation begins in 1975.

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Annuity after death

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Q. If a person dies after they receive their annuity check, what happens to the money left in their account?

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Age limit for life insurance?

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Q. When I retire from the Postal Service (under FERS), can I continue paying for life insurance for my husband and me when we are over the age of 80 or 90? Or does the Office of Personnel Management not allow me to continue paying for life insurance when I reach a certain age?

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Drawing from spouse’s retirement

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Q. I retired from CSRS on disability. I have my 40 quarters. My wife is retired from Social Security. Can I draw from her account at age 62?

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Medicare Part B

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Q. I am retired military. I am 65 years old now. Do I have to pay for Medicare Part B even though no expense now?

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CSRS annuity, other income and taxes

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Q. I plan to retire this year and start my own business. I am CSRS Offset and 55 years old. How will any income I make from my business affect my pension and taxes?

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