By Reg Jones
June 12th, 2013 | Uncategorized
Q. After serving 12 years in the military, I went to work for the federal government Jan. 13, 1982, and left federal service in October 1987, having served five years and nine months. I was in CSRS that entire time. I withdrew my CSRS contributions when I left. I came back to work for the federal government in July 2006 and was placed in CSRS Offset, with the option of going into FERS. I opted to be in CSRS Offset. At that time, I paid the deposit plus interest to get credit for my military time for pension purposes. I read the “Ask the Experts” response of March 30, 2010, where it said that as of Jan 1, 1987, any current employee with fewer than five years of service under CSRS was automatically converted to FERS. On Jan. 1 1987, I was 13 days short of five years, although I had previous military time and more than 13 days of annual leave and sick leave on the books. The “Ask the Experts” answer of Jan. 18, 2012, seems to say that I was correctly placed in CSRS Offset. Other pamphlets I read say you need five years as of Jan 1, 1987. I was 13 days short, excluding military time. I think my military time counted because my service computation date is in 1969.
Now I am concerned that my agency might have placed me incorrectly into CSRS Offset and I might be in for a surprise when I retire. Am I correctly in CSRS Offset? Do I need to take any action?
Q. I started working for the federal government March 10, 1975. If I retire Dec. 31, 2015, by my calculations, I will have 40 years, nine months and 21 days.
Right now I have 1,142 hours of sick leave but have no idea how many I will have when I retire. Will any of that be counted toward year and months of service? I’m only a GS 7, step 10, so I need to know what percentage of my retirement pay I would get. My high-3 is more than $50,400 with locality pay. I understood that where you are living and getting locality pay would be figured toward the annuity. If they change our retirement to the high-5, in two years I will still be at the same salary.
Q. I was a nonappropriated funds government employee from 1979 to 1990 holding UA7, UA8 and UA9 positions (AAFES and Army NAF). I resigned in 1990 and have worked in the private sector since.
Now I plan to return to federal government employment as a GS5 or GS7.
How will my service time count toward retirement, and is it possible to repay my NAF pension funds into the system? Also, how will my accrued sick leave be handled?
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?
Q. After 35 years with the federal government, I retired Feb. 29, 2012.
During my last full pay period, I used 16 hours of sick leave. I discovered after a call from OPM recently that a correction to my final sick leave balance was made by my former employing agency, modestly increasing my sick leave balance. OPM informed me today that after the correction, my sick leave balance was six hours short of the number of hours needed to bring my total creditable working hours up by one more full month.
After hearing this, I realize that had I used six hours LESS sick leave (instead of 16 hours) in my last full pay period in pay status, and used just 10 hours of sick leave plus six hours of annual leave for the time I took off during that last full pay period, I would have had enough creditable work hours to complete another full month toward the calculation of my annuity.
My question to you now is whether or not leave I used in my last full pay period can be recharacterized almost a year since retiring because that would initiate another updated correction to my sick leave balance, which would be forwarded to OPM via the National Finance Center, and subsequently permit a recalculation of my final annuity amount.
I was paid a lump sum for unused annual leave a few weeks after retiring but would gladly reimburse the agency for six of those hours if possible if a correction to my time and attendance report for the last full pay period could be done, allowing for a recharacterization of leave I used during my last full pay period, which would increase my annuity, even if only a little.
Q. I am a FERS transferee with more than 29 years in federal service.
When I transferred from CSRS to FERS in 1998, I had 103 hours of sick leave (under CSRS). I am planning to retire in 2014 and will have almost 1,700 hours of sick leave. I am being told that the only sick leave I will get credit for as a FERS transferee is the 103 hours of sick leave that was on the personnel action when I transferred — not the almost 1,700 hours of sick leave that have accumulated since. Can this be correct?
Q. I was injured in September 2010 and was out of work until I retired on disability in March 2011. I exhausted my annual and sick leave, since my initial workers’ compensation claim was denied.
After numerous appeals, my workers’ compensation claim was approved in October 2011. I began receiving interim retirement payments in September 2011 but have yet to receive payment from OPM for annual and sick leave I would have accumulated during that period. I have contacted DFAS and OPM, along with filing two congressionals regarding this issue, but no resolution.
Shouldn’t I be paid for the time I would have been on workers’ compensation? Shouldn’t OPM pay the lump sum after receiving notification that my workers’ compensation claim was approved? I have contacted OPM, and it seems to lack adequate professionals to decipher this mess.
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?
Q. As a FERS rehire, I know that I will get my previous sick leave reinstated, but at what rate? The new rate or at the rate at which I earned it?
Q. I’ve been in CSRS since Feb. 10, 1975, and I turned 65 in January.
1) Which day, in late leave year 2015, would be the best day to retire?
2) What should be my schedule for submitting retirement documents?
Q. I understand that credited sick leave will not influence how the high-3 is calculated. But will credited sick leave count toward annuity calculation in meeting age or service requirements to receive the 1.1 percent factor? If a person has 19 years and six months day-for-day in FERS and adds/applies eight months of unused sick leave, will this qualify for the 1.1 percent calculation factor (high-3 x .011 x 20 years two months)?
Q. A Postal Service employee had to use all his sick and annual leave because of illness. He used leave without pay. When he retired, he was not entitled to benefits. He received only his contributions. Why did he get back only his funds and not the complete package because of LWOP? Read the rest of this entry »
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.
March 28th, 2013 | Uncategorized
Q. I am a CSRS Offset employee in a law enforcement position. I plan to retire Sept. 1 at the age of 50 with eligibility service credit of 23 years, nine months, and 12 days. I have over 650 hours of sick leave. My computation service credit is 30 years, 11 months, and nine days without including the 650 hours of sick leave. Does including the 650 hours of sick leave to my computation service credit provide me with any additional annuity? Also, will my annuity be based on my eligibility service credit or my computation service credit?
March 27th, 2013 | Uncategorized
Q. I am planning on taking a FERS MRA+10 postponed retirement in 2016, when I will be 56 and have 25 years of federal experience.
a) What is the earliest age I can receive unreduced benefits? Can I start at 60 since I will have more than 20 years of federal service? b) Will any unused sick leave be credited toward my years and months of service at that point? c) How do I start receiving benefits when I am ready?
March 26th, 2013 | Uncategorized
Q. I can retire in three years at age 56 (my minimum retirement age) with 33 years of service.
I should have more than a year’s worth of sick leave at that time. I know the unused sick leave will be added to my total years for annuity computation purposes, but will it also be added to my total years for the special retirement supplement computation?
March 26th, 2013 | Uncategorized
Q. I’m an APWU employee (maintenance craft). In February 2015, I’ll have 30 years, and I’ll also have 5.8 months of unused sick leave.
Because of my sick leave, can I retire five months early?
March 22nd, 2013 | Uncategorized
Q. If I am subject to a reduction in force with just under 25 years of service (say, with 24 years and nine months), can I use sick or annual leave to make up the difference? If not, is there any recourse to take a retirement in lieu of a RIF when you are so close to the 25-year threshold? I am 46 years old.
A. While you may only use sick leave for purposes spelled out in law and regulation, your agency can allow you to use your annual leave to continue past the date on which you’d be separated if it will allow you to qualify for retirement.
March 22nd, 2013 | Uncategorized
Q. My service computation date is April 24, 1971, and I plan on leaving at the end of April after 42 years with a load of annual and sick leave. I have always been told to leave at the end of the year because of the annual leave business, but I want to start a consulting firm and devote my time to it. My father-in-law, a former federal employee, says just get out because it is time and I should not miss the beach and I can always bring my laptop.
A. As I’ve said over and over, the best date to retire is the one that fits your financial and emotional needs.
Q. I am a letter carrier, age 52, started in 1985 and have 28 years of creditable service.
If I understand what I’ve gleaned from the posts here and the Postal Service were to offer me a Voluntary Early Retirement Authority this year,
1. Would I begin my annuity immediately?
2. Would I have no reductions in calculations of my annuity? (average high-3 x 1 percent x 28)
3. Would I receive credit for half of my sick leave and all of my annual leave? (How are these applied?)
4. Would I receive the special retirement supplement beginning at age 56 (my minimum retirement age), and receive it until I reach age 62?
5. Would I be able to continue carrying my current health and life insurance at non-USPS rates? (I couldn’t find how long these could be carried. Until death?)
6. Could I begin receiving Social Security as early as age 62?
7. Any withdrawal from my Thrift Savings Plan prior to age 59½ would be penalized 10 percent as per Internal Revenue Service regulations? (Can I continue to contribute to TSP after retirement?)
8. As a FERS annuitant, is there no limit to what I can earn after separation from the Postal Service as it pertains to my annuity payment?
9. At age 56 (my MRA), the special retirement supplement from Social Security would begin and would be subject to yearly income limits. Would supplement payments be reduced by approximately $1 for every $2 I earned above that year’s Social Security income limit?
10. At age 65, I’d be eligible for Medicare parts A and B? (Would this affect my health insurance coverage through Federal Employees Health Benefits?)
11. Would there be cost-of-living increases at any point for my annuity?
12. Is there a date during the year that maximizes the benefits of retirement?
Did I get this right, and are there any other things I should know before considering a VERA if it is offered?
Tags: 401(k), annual leave, annuity, cost-of-living adjustment, creditable service, early withdrawal penalty, enrollment, FEHB, high-3, income, IRA, IRS, LIFE INSURANCE, lump sum, Medicare Part A, Medicare Part B, minimum retirement age, Postal Service, sick leave, SOCIAL SECURITY, special retirement supplement, TSP, VERA