Postal Retirement

Postal Retirement Q&A January 2017 by Roseanne Jefferson

Good Day…..and a very Happy New Year Postal Employees!!!

Q 1. Mrs Jefferson, Maybe I am wrong but I think that I saw somewhere that a married postal worker can select another option ( I think it was a set amount each month) that the spouse would get and that this would make the spouse eligible for federal health insurance. And no cost to the retiree, is this true in any way or am I way off base ? Thanks G

A 1. Hi G, That scenario, would be for CSRS….and in that scenario you could give 55% (of the minimum yearly amount (in CSRS ONLY) of $3600, (which would be $1980 per year) and that divided by 12 would give the widow/widower $165.00 per month, moreover, that would make that employee’s spouse eligible for an annuity check (although small) and health benefit coverage, should the federal employee pre-decease the federal spouse. This is NOT the same for a FERS employee. Roseanne

R 1. Roseanne, Thank you I was telling a MH at work that. He retiring and his wife just wants the health insurance. So as I was talking to him other postal workers were saying I was crazy etc. I read all your columns past and present and thought that where I had read about that . I didn’t know the money amount or the cost to him .I do give your name to my coworkers. Thanks for all the advice I get from reading you. G

AR 1. Hi G, I did not address the fact that that CSRS scenario below, does NOT reduce the annuity….as you also stated. Hopefully all out there know that there are 3 different scenario’s for a FERS employee….Full Spousal, (reduction 10%), NO Spousal (reduction 0%); and Half Spousal (reduction 5%). The half spousal is not shown on the annuity estimate, but still an option, that is discussed very little. Roseanne

Q 2. Hi Roseanne: I hope all is well with you and your family. I been emailing you, last being 2012 about a disability case. You gave me a lot of good pointers because OPM can take you through hoops. I was able to be get approved for disability retirement after going through the MSPB and Judge ruled in my favor because my forms 3112 was sent somewhere else by the agency I worked for and a person not known tried filling out the information and had no clue as to who I was.

My question now is that, I will be age 62 in a few months. Although I was terminated from my job USPS, I asked a question to OPM about what my calculations will be when I turn 62, this is what they wrote me. I don’t think this person gave me a correct answer. Did you hear of this? I thought that when you receive disability retirement until age 62, you will then convert to regular retirement. I received the blue booklet from OPM explaining my benefits. But the reason why I asked is to try to get a answer on any COLA increases that I did not receive when getting Disability Retirement in 2012. Please help. Thanks, A…see the response below.

RESPONSE FROM OPM 12/12/16

Once the Office of Personnel Management approves a disability retirement and the individual has been separated from his/her agency, then he/she cannot change to a non-disability retirement. If the individual is later found medically recovered or restored to earning capacity, then the individual may be entitled to another type of annuity. If we can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact our office.

Q 2. Hi Roseanne, I wanted to know if when I first began my career on the LSM as a PTF, we were “encouraged” to put in for LWOP when there was no “mail”. Many on our crew did this on a regular basis and mostly on Sunday’s. I was a PTF for about 2 years, then I was converted to Full-time. Will those 2 years of using LWOP have a negative effect on my retirement? I ask because a long time co-worker (we were hired on the same day), went to a position in a smaller post office and generally worked 40 hours, but not always, and when she ordered her annuity estimate, it showed that she was not being paid at 100% but 92% of her annuity. Will that LWOP in the beginning of my career effect me when I retire. Thank you for all that you do for us. AD

Q 2. Hi AD, LWOP that long ago…..should not make any difference in the calculation of her retirement. No worries….Roseanne
Q 3. Hello Roseanne, I hope you’re doing well. Quick question; what is meant by “immediate annuity” ? I plan on retiring in a few years at sixty, with more than twenty years in. I believe I can then receive an immediate fers annuity. Is this correct ? Thank you. J

A 3. Hi J, An immediate annuity is typically a reference to FULL annuity, which is immediate versus, deferred. With more than 20 years and at age 60, that is considered FULL retirement. Be SURE….I mean absolutely sure….that you work the ENTIRE MONTH IN THE MONTH THAT YOU TURN 60. RIGHT UP TO THE LAST DAY…even if you are offered to go say a day or two earlier because its the end of the pay period…which may be true…but if you don’t work that entire month…you will NOT be eligible for the special supplement ….I thought you’d want to know. Roseanne

Q 4. Hi Roseanne, I know – I have read before in your column, when a retiring Rural Carrier asked you about going back to being a temporary non career rural carrier, you said that you don’t recommend going back to work after retiring from the postal service to another federal job. But I have an opportunity to apply for a part time position that is non-career in another federal agency. Am I able to apply…that is really my only question. BW

A 4. Hi BW, Yes you ABSOLUTELY can apply for this job, and they probably will hire you. Since you know how I feel about the this subject, and “almost” quoted me….then you know my reasons why I feel this way….but yes you can. Roseanne

Q 5. Hi Roseanne – Can you give me some info on military buyback how many years can you buyback if you served 6 years of active duty. LM

A 5. Hi LM, All active years are credible. Call HRSSC at 1-877-477-3273 option 5 and request the information to BUY BACK your military time. You will need your DD214 to begin this process. They may even require YOU to write to your branch of military service for the payroll records, so calculations can be done to arrive at the amount required to buy the time back to add to your credible years of service for retirement purposes. Roseanne

R 5. Wow roseanne thank for get back with me with your information for a fellow carrier.

Q 6. Roseanne, I retired October 1 cars and got my partial payments for retirement November 1 December 1 no problem. No health insurance premiums were taking out of either check. Just want to make sure that my health insurance doesn’t lapse with APWU. I got a notice in the mail for the premium on my fedbenefits dental and paid that but have gotten nothing about my health insurance premiums. I hope you can ease my mind because I’m getting a little worried about that. Of course can’t get through on the telephone to OPM. By the way my case has been with a specialist since October 31 but has not been finalized. I hope you can shed some light on this. Thanks

A 6. Don’t worry. The first 2 interim checks NEVER have the benefits or tax taken out…this is NORMAL!! It will be when the balance check ( or 3rd check) comes. Relax….Roseanne

Q 7. Roseanne – I am at a loss why a new Form 50 was cut after 32 years with the Postal Service which stated that my serve date with military service was June 23 1983 now it has been change to June 25 1983. My Service date with the Postal Service is 6/23/1984 I had one year of military service as you can see on my military buy back form. This information was taken from my DD214s. The top is from my completed buy back form on the USPS blue page. The bottom is from the Form 50. The total of military is one active duty of 8 months 12 day and the other is 3 month and 18 days a total of 1 year but now the new math is only 363 day. Can you help me with the information that I have provided. Best Regards

A 7. My best guess is that they ran an RTR report on you, and when they did, it probably showed that “human” employee gave you, (when you were hired) miscalculated 2 days “additional” that the computer can’t align properly…all that means, when which ever XYZ district you were in when you were hired, (although I realize you work NOT at the district office that hired you)….(yea, I know what your finance number means….you work in Anytown, STATE)…and it had nothing to do with District on the info…it was your finance number…..I began my postal career in same District. And I am assuming that they gave your “credible service years” of your military time, when maybe you did not pay it back…?? But if it’s only 2 days….don’t sweat it!! Really don’t if they are only moving your RCD 2 days…it’s really meaningless other than….the dates are accurate now. In order to be credited with military years you must pay it back and those years in the military are added to the overall years in federal service…thus making it quicker to retire….providing you got the age. I hope this has helped. Roseanne

R 7. Thanks I can sleep easier tonight without fear that the OIG will come for me tomorrow at work to take me away. Ps my end date is near Jan 31 2017 I will be free at last. Btw no help in our office cannot keep PSEs they do not want to work 7 days a week and 12 hours a day. PSE work 4 hours and then quit when they find out what type of schedule they will have. Packages are out the door and two days behind on working them and its only the first of Dec…..thanks….

WHEW!! Till we speak again…….Roseanne

Postal Retirement Q&A February 2017 by Roseanne Jefferson

Good Day Postal Employees!!!

IF YOU ARE THINKING ABOUT RETIREMENT OR HAVE RETIRED RECENTLY YOU WILL WANT TO READ THIS COLUMN…..I mean this!!!

I want to address some of the emails that I have received, NOT from postal or federal employees….but from their children, or in some cases grandchildren. When a postal employee passes away, much of what our children think is “we retired from the post office” And that is true. But what most of us don’t necessarily talk about is WHO really pays us after we retire. And so years can go by and when that postal retiree passes away, the family is lost as to who has the insurance, or how to even go about applying for it. And during a death, with emotions and grief, the last thing you need is a search party to find out about the life insurance. What would you expect the children to do….or course…they are going to call the post office….after this retiree has been retired for 10 or 20 years. The post office is NOT going to have ANYTHING ON THIS RETIREE ..AT ALL.
The Postal Service has changed computer systems several times over the course of 20 years, and when you are not active, you simply are not active. The Postal Service has no information. Well one would think I would not have to write about this if the guidance were there when these grieving family members call. As it relates to our “pension” we are paid by OPM (Office of Personnel Management), 2 offices, one located in Boyer PA and the other in Washington DC. Of course if you are eligible, your Social Security comes from Social Security. The TSP is a personal choice after retirement.

Information below will address how to avoid this.

I have had strings of emails on ONE “same issue”. When you are between “paying agencies” (Postal Service & OPM). IT is that FEAR of when you retire and not knowing WHEN you are going to be paid from retirement. AND I hear all the time….the “not knowing”…the not knowing comes from you not opening your mail. All your mail, even the mail that sits next to the Arby’s add….LOOK AT IT, it may not be about some random insurance company ….it may be from OPM.

When employees retires, after OPM has completed the entire process, you are sent a booklet, more like a pamphlet. It is blue and white and the front cover says “YOUR RETIREMENT BENEFITS” Its very thin and it comes in half-envelope (“hr postal term”), with your name in a “cut-out” window. This booklet goes UNNOTICED…many times doesn’t even get opened (BECAUSE SO MANY OF YOU DON’T OPEN YOUR MAIL…(city carriers especially take note!!)…. Very much like postal mail your have had your entire career….the infamous…SF Form 50, and you will receive that form when you retire. In fact you receive them a lot of Form 50’s during during your career, SF Form, or another way to say it is “Notification of Personnel Action”…if you look on it….it is an SF Form 50.
And for many of you that term is foreign, and it should not be (ok I’m done with that..you get it open your mail).

But In all fairness, this booklet and envelope really don’t have the appearance of IMPORTANCE that it represents to you as the retiree, it is very plain. And so VERY many times it looks like jun….ah…3rd class mail.

This is your “guide book”, if you will, about PRECISELY what happened on the day of your retirement. It lists your CSA number (your identification number as a federal retiree), your bank account information (that you listed on your retirement paperwork), your gross monthly pay and includes all the deductions, so you see the NET as well. It spells out the what life insurance(s) you carried into retirement. If you selected a spousal annuity, the spouses name is in the book, and the amount of the spousal payment. It lists information about the life insurance as well. EXPECT it or LOOK FOR IT…it is important that you have it. Inside of the booklet have phone numbers to OPM, TSP, Social Security, Medicare and some other federal agencies. That is why this book is crucial to you and your family members. SO the first job as a retiree….is to open all your mail. If you didn’t do it when you were an employee, YOU GOT to open your mail from this point on. Sometimes a “lack of response”, can mean an “endorsement”.

Q 1. Good morning Roseanne, I am planning to retire at the end of April on the FERS system and have always been told that I will only get credit for full months of my sick leave. I have started my retirement and in reading the book it says I will be 100% reimbursed for my sick leave. I am now wondering if that includes the days too. My Annuity statement shows 10 months & 15 days accrual which makes me think I don’t need to burn these days prior to leaving. I was hoping you could give me clarification on that. Thank you for your insight on this issue. LP

A 1. Hi LP You will be paid for FULL YEARS AND the 10 months….but not the 15 days. Roseanne

Q 2.Good afternoon Roseanne, I hope all is well with you. I retired on Dec 31 2016. On my last pay stub it shows an annual leave balance of 35.45 hours. I was not paid for this although I was paid for the New Years holiday. Can this be corrected? If so, who would I need to contact? Thanks so much. RW

A 2.You probably were paid. Go back to your employing office…tell them to look in the payroll envelope where the pay checks are……your final check should be there. Roseanne

Q A 2. Thanks so much for your prompt response. Unfortunately that was my final check. It wasn’t sent to my last employing office even though that is the address I filled out in my retirement paperwork. It went to the processing and distribution center for my city. It took me several days to locate who had it only to be told it was mailed to me. I received it the next day. I included a picture of the stub from my final check. My last work week (week 1 of the pay period) was from 12-24 through 12-30. I was paid for 8 hours of sick leave, the Christmas holiday and the 3 days I actually worked for a total of 40 hours. My last day was 12-31, I took annual leave and then it looks like I was paid for the New Years holiday. The rest (24 hours) was charged to LWOP. As you can see, there is a balance of 35.45 remaining under annual leave. Since tracking down my final check was a wild goose chase I am almost afraid to seek payment for the annual leave for fear that things will really be messed up. I never heard of any retirees not getting paid for their annual leave before. RW

R A 2. I can’t agree….. that THE check does NOT say TERMINAL LEAVE…That is what the last check say’s that it’s….TERMINAL LEAVE on the bottom…keep researching. Roseanne

Final 2. Thank you so much Roseanne! I got in touch with a former supervisor and she looked into it for me. I was still listed as active until January 12 even though I retired December 31. I will receive a check for my annual leave balance this coming pay period. I am so relieved! I have read your responses to questions for several years in preparation for retirement. They have been so helpful to so many of us! Again, thank you so much for your time. Best wishes-RW

Q 3. Hi Roseanne, I started in the PO June 1995. I want to retire at 65 which will be Sept 2019. My question: Is there an advantage of retiring at my birthday, going to Oct, or finishing out the year? (I do very well in Dec.) Are there better times of the year to retire? The end of the year opposed the beginning of the next year? And finally, if I retire after the second paycheck when I receive my AL upfront, will I get to keep it and paid to me in cash. Thanks for your help. RH

A 3. Hi Howard, My preference has always been the end of November. You miss the Christmas crazy…can use no doubt a few days of annual leave and not come back after the Wednesday before Thanksgiving…its really all about planning. But for almost any craft or even management position, that sounds like a good plan, unless craft. And you are an overtime junkie (knowing Christmas is that gold brick of OT)…

As for your final question…your EARNED annual leave is paid to you…in check form and it plainly states on it ….terminal leave. It is all or any unpaid work hours (generally not…but sometimes may be)..and all the leave that you have earned…of course minus what you have used. And it is taxed heavily…no matter what month you retire. I hope this has helped you out with some of your questions. Roseanne

Q 4. Hi Roseanne, I have been wondering: I have over 30 years service~ RCD and ACD Nov 1986, however I am 53 years old so I don’t meet the MRA. I don’t want to work but I still don’t want to lose what I have already worked for. I have medical benefits with my spouse. Can I apply for a deferred retirement to 2019, when I reach my MRA? if so what happens to my TSP? Can I start receiving that early or cash out? Thanks for any info you can give me. EA

A 4. EA Yes you can defer your retirement, however that begins at age 62, and additionally you are not eligible for health benefits or life insurance. So NO you cannot retire under Deferred Retirement when you reach your MRA, you must wait until age 62. Roseanne

4. So the defferred retirement age is 62? But If I stay working my MRA is 56 and I would get my annuity and SS supplement? Is that what you are saying? Thanks, Anita
R 4. That is exactly what I am saying. Roseanne

Q 5. Hi Roseanne, I am a 57 year old clerk with over 32 years postal & 3 years military service. I want to retire in the very near future, but I don’t know what my special supplement amount will be. I have my postal retirement estimate, but it doesn’t tell me what my supplement amount will be until I am age 62. Why isn’t this amount on the estimate? How does USPS expect employees to make a life changing decision without all the facts?What is the formula for supplement? My average high 3 is $58K. Also, once supplement ends at 62, do I have to receive social security then, or can I wait to apply if I don’t need the money? Will waiting increase my monthly social security amount/. Thank you for all you do. LR

A 5. Hi LR, The Special Supplement is NOT paid to every FERS retiree, you must fit a certain criteria in order to be eligible. So that is why there is not much on the subject….(don’t shoot the messenger). You can safely calculate your Spec Supplement (again if eligible) by taking the years of service and times that by $33.00…so in your case you can safely say that its going to be $1056…(but no doubt a bit more, its a formula used to calculate the Spec Supplement. That supplement lasts until age 61 and 11 months. Your choice if you take SS at 62 versus another age. I don’t recommend delaying the Social Security, but it’s your choice. Roseanne

Q 6. HI Roseanne, Reading how you had issues with the ARC program, I am hoping you have none with retired military. I retired in 2005 with over 22 years in the military and was hired by USPS the same year. Having so much time in it would not have been beneficial to buy back any time, so I didn’t. I will be 55 on 5/2020 and want to take the MRA and run (38 years is enough work for anybody). I do not plan to apply for Social security until I am 62…So where does this place me? Would I be eligible for a supplement without applying for Social security? (Yes I am green). What would my retirement look like. I spent 5 years in a level 21 Postmaster Position, I have heard that this would allow me to retire at the higher grade, is this true?

A 6. This has like what…..12 questions….in one!!! If you were hired in 2005, and you are a FERS employee…nothing changes the rules… you need to be age 60 with 20 years for full retirement, or age 62 with 5 years for full retirement. There is the no logic to your reference of age 55 (being born in 1965 & not a CSRS employee)…and I am not familiar with the ARC program, unless its an acronym for something I am unaware of (so not understanding the reference of I had issues with ARC). Applying for Social Security at age 62 makes TOTAL sense as SS is a component of the three part FERS retirement. WHAT would your retirement look like, what a “blanket question”…I am not a mind reader…you could not possibly think from 7 lines on an email that anyone could give you that answer. If you worked higher level, higher than the level you are retiring from, Eagan, MN will send your payroll records to OPM for final calculation, as they do with all retiring employees. As far as what you heard about retiring at a higher level because you worked for 5 years “AGO” as a Postmaster..and HEARD(!!) you could retire at a higher level….I have many words and feelings and all kinds of answers that I cannot write on paper…so a simple no, just operate on logic…does that even sound logical…“NO that is not true”.

Till we speak again….. Roseanne

Postal Retirement Q&A March 2017 by Roseanne Jefferson

Good Day Postal Employees!!

This has been a very busy month for emails and retirements. There is one email in particular this month, that was so totally outlined in terms of dates of how every single THING went down with his RETIREMENT. HE wanted me to share that experience with all of you, because he says he is an avid reader of this column, and has been for years and you will read what he has to say…..

Before you read his email, I want you to GET SOMETHING OUT OF IT!! This is YOU!! All of YOU!! Look at his dates of when certain things occur, and APPLY that to the date(s) time frame to what date you feel you are going to choose to retire. PLEASE LEARN FROM THIS…

Hi Roseanne. I hope you and yours are doing well. Some months back, I sent you a BIG, LONG email about my retirement plan. Let me say again, your response was encouraging. We hear so many stories from people worried about the retirement process…as I was, even though I spent a number of years gathering all the information I could, and to that end, your column has truly been a Godsend!

So, I thought I’d share my experience, and if you believe any of this info would help anyone, feel free to share.

A quick summary of my career: USPS clerk, started 3/30/85. No military or other service. Single, no dependents, never married (should be simple!). PTF for 6 months (at mostly full time hours + OT…LSM…pre-automation!), the remainder full time. Took the maximum 440 hours AL with me into retirement, also had well over 1200 hours saved sick leave, but about a month before retiring, came down with a bad case of shingles, which pretty much laid me up for two weeks, as it got in my eye, so I couldn’t drive. So ended up with a sick leave balance of about 1,157 hours, which added a service credit of 5 months, which totals 32 years & 2 months of service.

Here’s how my timeline went: 2016

7/15 Called HRSSC to order the latest retirement estimate and retirement application (the ‘blue’ book). Projected retirement date 11/25 (a Friday, last day of PP 24).

7/20 Received application/estimate.

8/15 Updated life insurance beneficiary forms to both HRSSC and TSP.

9/4 Labor Day holiday: carefully completed and assembled retirement application.

9/5 Mailed application at my office, via Priority Mail to HRSSC.

9/8 Was later told this is when my application was received by HRSSC

9/30 Heard from my Postmaster’s secretary that my Career Service certificate was received…the wheels must be in motion!

10/19 HRSSC sends notice of life insurance beneficiary update.

10/31 HRSSC sends notice that my paperwork has been sent to Eagan pay center for final pay processing. Happy Halloween!

11/18 Actual last day of work. Actual final week was previously scheduled AL (Thanksgiving). Happy/sad. Cake, awards, gifts, well wishes.

11/19 Personal copy of final paperwork/application received from HRSSC.

11/25 Officially last scheduled work day (AL)…BLACK FRIDAY!…..Last day of pay period 24. FREE AT LAST!

12/2 Last Form 50 received from HRSSC. Received call from my old office, last paycheck arrived (no direct deposit allowed upon separation), agreed to mail it, received it next day. No AL lump sum yet (see 12/16).

12/3 OPM receives retirement package.

12/13 Case # and website password received by mail.

12/14 Went to Services Online (OPM), reset password.

12/15 Surprised to find first OPM interim payment ($970 net) deposited in my bank account. This is the payment that would otherwise be issued on 1/1/2017.

12/16 AL lump sum check received by mail from old office. Delayed due to needing to be re-calculated due to new pay raise effective 11/26. Includes 24 hrs. holiday pay.

Total leave in lump sum 464 hours. Big pay but big withholding . (took home about $8,000…a HUGE cushion for this interim phase.

12/23 HSRCC notifies my that my records have been closed out…MERRY CHRISTMAS!

2017

1/1,2,3 No interim payment, that was paid previously on 12/15.

1/3 One month anniversary of OPM receiving retirement package.

1/4 Received notice from TSP of separation, along with withdrawal options and tax implications. Am now eligible to make withdrawals.

1/14 BENEFEDS (Dental/vision) sends notice of forthcoming monthly premium bills…not deducted by OPM during interim phase.

1/24 OPM website states that my case has been assigned to a retirement specialist on 1/23.

1/25 Received BENEFEDS premium monthly bills. Paid the same day.

1/27 Online bank account lists forthcoming interim payment (#2), which will take effect 2/1.

2/1 Interim payment #2…amount increased slightly to about $1,060 (net). Also notified by email to check OPM website for an update.

2/2 OPM reports case is finalized…Bank account shows BACKPAY ADJUSTMENT of $2,088 (FERS, SRS for two interim payments, and make up deductions).

HAPPY GROUNDHOG DAY!

2/3 Two month anniversary of OPM receiving retirement package. Filled out TSP application for a partial withdrawal. Notarized at my bank, faxed in. Also arranged updated tax withholding. This was done at OPM website for federal and state. On TSP application, arranged for additional withholding for federal, as the withdrawal sum was a bit large. Went to my state’s tax department’s website to pay an estimated state tax estimate (from my bank account) to cover TSP, which does not withhold state tax. Note that if you don’t change OPM withholding at the right rate for you, they’ll only deduct federal tax at the default rate of “married with three children.” Bear in mind, the IRS (and my state) requires at least 90% of withholding upfront to avoid additional penalties. Calculate accordingly.

2/5 Visited OPM site, found pay statement for first full FERS annuity, payable 3/1. Showed updated tax deductions, AND the first showing of the Special Retirement Supplement. FERS annuity $1,519, SRS $1,167. Very close to what I had projected. Satisfied, pleased and relieved.

2/6 Received by mail from OPM…confirmation of the Special retirement Supplement amount.

2/9 Received call from TSP to ask questions confirming my withdrawal application. Went well, TSP rep says look for withdrawal to be deposited in my account within five business days. More importantly, My OPM casebook arrived today. Now I really do feel retired! And btw, Roseanne, it is indeed a small booklet, so recipients, watch your mail carefully! (BTW, I don’t plan to start TSP MONTHLY withdrawals until 2018.)

3/1 First full FERS pension (annuity + supplement) scheduled to arrive. Only the BENEFEDS premiums aren’t yet listed among the withholdings, but hopefully soon.

My strategy was to retire before the end-of-year retirement rush at OPM. I had carried my maximum 440 hours AL from the previous year, using only the EARNED AL for the last year. There were three pay periods I passed up, or 24 potential (unearned) hours, and I calculated those down to zero, so none was forfeited (am I obsessive or what!). And was surprised that three future holidays were included. My understanding is that USPS is one of the few agencies that adds holiday pay for holidays encompassed by the time frame the stockpiled AL would cover (in my case, Christmas, New Year’s and MLK day). I think it worked out well. And I really wasn’t up to working another Christmas season.

Granted, my application was relatively simple. But it’s till true, planning is EVERYTHING!

Thanks again Roseanne, take care..Dave S.

COMMENT: So that is to say what I have been saying all along…plan….plan.. find a long / short (if you’re there) term plan for your retirement, so that all of these fears, that you ALL have, will be replaced with understanding of how the retirement process works. Almost always you hear the horror stories of someone’s retirement, that went WRONG….(what the 2 out of 75 thousand….!!!!) ….OPM ROCKS…and I have said that for YEARS..as an organization with all that they do, for ALL the federal agencies…OPM ROCKS!! (and OPEN YOUR MAIL!)

Q 1. I have been with the postal service for 38 years and 10 months and am looking to retire next year. I was looking in my OPF folder and there was a form RTR first and the only one. What is the purpose of the of the form and what does it mean. AMK

A. 1. Hi AMK, An RTR report is an acronym for retirement thrift and RIF, (RIF which means reduction in force). It is a computer system that forces rules and regulations (laws) as it applies to military and federal time to ascertain an employees RCD or retirement computation date. This computer system is also used to ensure that federal employees are coded into the correct retirement system CSRS, FERS etc. in most cases there should only be one RTR report. As they say nothing incorrect or wrong…this is normal of paperwork, that was required by the HR District staff’s to have all RTR’s completed on every employee in the early 2000’s. Roseanne

Q 2. Good Morning Roseanne, Thanks for all of the great retirement information you give. I have a question I hope you can answer. If you buy back military time does that time count for the FERS supplement for retirement? South Jersey

A. 2. Good Morning South Jersey, NO IT DOES NOT!!!!

R 2. Thank you, You are the best!

Q 3. Good evening. I know that all decision about retirement have to be personal ones. I will be 56 in November and am trying to make some decisions. Having said that, it seems to me that since I qualify for the FERS supplement, I would be better off to leave the postal service at 56 with 32 years service and draw the (free money) supplement for 6 years than to continue working for 6 more years. I have run the numbers and can’t seem to convince myself that there is an advantage to staying until I am 62, even when I add in the matching TSP contribution and increase in SS check when I do retire at 62. Am I missing something or did I calculate correctly? Thanks for your input and opinion. I respect your advise. D

A 3. D, I am sitting here answering tons of emails….so fer real….I NEVER answer this quick…but I saw your email flash as I am answering them….damn…..I almost want to cry…YOU GET IT!!! I feel vindicated…..thank you….some of you are really listening….

Don’t know you from Adam…but I am telling you, whatever your health condition is …expect to be SO GOOD when you leave….after 32 years…we are so NOT who we used to be. Go….get out…YOU DESERVE IT!! DON’T STAY A DAY LONGER….WHY!!!! IF YOU’VE RUN THE NUMBERS…..WHY!?!?!? BE HAPPY – RETIRE !! Roseanne

Till we speak again……. Roseanne

Postal Retirement Q&A April 2017 by Roseanne Jefferson

Good Day Postal Employees!!

You all have kept me VERY busy this month with the emails. Last month’s column generated a lot of questions that are of interest to ALL of you. I had a meeting with a union president this month, (who has traveled throughout the country) and it seems everywhere NOT JUST WHERE YOU ARE!! the “retirement” information is limited to just the TSP.

WELL OK HERE I GO…….If that is all anyone is going to talk to you about is ONE part of your retirement, (OH LET ME GUESS)….it would be THE TSP (right!!!)….they are trying to sell you something…..its called an annuity. If you are a FERS employee you have a 3 part retirement. If someone is telling you that they are doing a “retirement” session, and only talk about 1 part, and I don’t care which part it is….that is just what it is….a PART….OK I’M DONE NOW….Don’t say I didn’t give you all a heads up on that.

Q 1. Hi Roseanne, I have written to you before and I received an annuity estimate and it says I can retire at age 56 with 20 years….I’m interested.

A 1. Hi Interested, You do realize that retiring at age 56 (your MRA) with only 20 years…will make you INELIGIBLE for the Special Supplement, which in your case could be (if no military years in that 20 yr total) is about $650. per month……are you willing to do that….and your annuity is going to be reduced by 30% …..5% for each year under 62…are you willing to do that? That is what an MRA+10 retirement is all about…..reduction. Roseanne

Q 2. My wife is a clerk with 30 years service. She just turned 56 last month which makes her eligible for early retirement under FERS. If she retired now she would be penalized 30%, but at the same time she would get the special supplement at approximately $1000. My question is would the 30% reduction apply just during the 6 years she is drawing the special supplement? At age 62 she would start drawing Social Security and the early retirement would have no bearing on her annuity other than the fact that she only had 30 years service. My next question is about health insurance. I’m a retired letter carrier and I’m covered under my wife’s APWU plan. When she retires it would be in our best interest to go self only in our respective plans. Am I correct in this assessment? I think I saw in one of your articles that’s what you and your husband did. Thank you in advance for all that you do. YOU’RE AWESOME!!!! K.

A 2. Hi K, IF what you say is true and that you wife is 56 right now and has 30 or more years…..that NOT EARLY retirement….that’s FULL retirement, with no 30 percent reduction….start there. And yes, you both can carry individual health plans..as long as you both have single coverage…(one cannot have family). And you are welcome, now lets get her retired!! Roseanne

Q 3. Roseanne could you possible answer this question for me. I am taking a deferred retirement for personal reasons I am not yet minimum retirement age but I do have 25 years of service when looking on the website it says I must keep my retirement contributions to be eligible does this mean the amount that the agency has put in for tsp or does it mean the total tsp including employee contributions, I would like to take a partial withdrawal of my tsp if I can, thank you MG

A 3. HI MG, it means that you do not withdraw your contributions from OPM. You must leave your retirement contributions in the OPM fund, and then when you reach age 60 since you’ve already told me you have more than 20 years of federal service, you should be able to begin to collect your pension from OPM at age 60. You will not be eligible for health benefits or the life insurance but you are eligible for the pension. Roseanne

Q 3a. So what is the Opm fund? I am guessing that is totally different than tsp. I haven’t heard of opm contributions, is that the .08% into tsp or something totally different that I haven’t heard of, sorry I know I am repeating my question but I’m still confused. Thanks again MG

A 3a.MG – Let me start here…..you have a 3 part retirement….FERS, Social Security and TSP. IF you defer, (you are deferring your FERS (portion) of your retirement. You can take your money out of TSP….oh, you’ll pay heavy in taxes..but that is not what I am talking about. I am talking about your contributions to FERS over the years….that figure at the bottom of every pay check, that only changes once a year on PP2. That is the money that is in OPM (Office of Personnel Management) the federal agency that pays federal employees their retirement check. I am saying leave that money in FERS/OPM or there will NOT be a pension check when you reach the age to collect it. Roseanne

3 Response: Thank you, I am guessing they will give me the option on the fers money once my paperwork is being finalized.

ROSEANNE SAYS: NO THEY WILL NOT GIVE YOU AN OPTION!! YOU WILL HAVE TO INITIATE THE PROCESS WHEN YOU TURN THAT AGE. NOR WILL THEY SEND YOU PAPERWORK TO WITHDRAW THE MONEY IF THAT IS YOUR CHOICE. ALL WILL BE UP TO YOU.

MY RESPONSE TO YOU READERS: EVEN as I write this…look at the questions. I keep saying there is a difference in your retirement ….3 separate parts. AND ALL OF YOU confuse them together, or don’t look at them as a separate entity. YOU MUST DO THAT or you will NEVER think you can afford to retire!!

Q 4. Hi Roseanne, Thx for all you do? Need clarification on deferred retirement ? I will have 30 yrs in this May (age52 FERS) if I separate after 30 yrs but before full (age 56) and don’t take retirement contributions, will I receive a pension check at age 56 or 62? And will there be a 5% penalty per year or just high 3 x 1% times years without penalty?
I understand separation means no life no health ins and no supplement. Thx ,EN (the supplement is my carrot, wife has great insurance, house almost paid off, contemplating other work.

A 4. HI – If you leave the agency…and DO NOT take a refund of your retirement contributions….you MUST wait until you reach the year and age that would have “attained” the required years *(and age) to retire…..MRA+30, or age 60 with 20 or more years or age 62 with 5 or more years. And good luck I wish you a wonderful second career if you take the MRA+10…..think about it. Roseanne

Q 5. Hello Roseanne, I just read in one of your more recent Q & A posts that you recommended working right up to the last day of the month you turn 60 if planning on retiring at that age with 20 or more years of service or you won’t qualify for the special supplement. I turn 60 on June 10 and had planned to use annual leave from June 10 through June 30—my official retirement date. I don’t want to make a mistake here. So, will I be O.K. to get the special supplement being on AL the last three weeks of my career? I thought that as long as I was in a pay status that I would be. I have about 24 years with USPS. Thanks in advance for your input on this matter. Sincerely, RK

A 5. Hi RK, As long as you work until the VERY LAST DAY OF THE MONTH IN WHICH MADE YOU FULLY ELIGIBLE…so if you turn 60 on June 10th….YOU MUST not retire before June 30th. AND I mean NOT June 29th!!! No matter what anyone tells you. Your retirement effective HAS to be June 30th to be eligible for the Special Supplement. YES you can use approved annual leave…..using annual leave keeps you on the rolls!!! You don’t have to PHYSICALLY work on the last day, week or month…as long as (in your case) your retirement effective date is June 30th…making you a retiree on July 1. Roseanne

Q 5a.Roseanne: Thank you so much for your quick lightning-like response which relieved my apprehension. I am currently in the process of filling out my retirement paperwork and trying to be thorough and not make any mistakes. I believe that June 30, 2017 is right in the middle of a pay period—that is, I think it is week 1. What should I tell the Postmaster to do about week two—the first week of July when he does TACS. Put me in for 076, non-scheduled or what? Or, will I be off the rolls that quickly? RK

A5a.DO NOTHING….THAT IS THEIR PROBLEM……YOUR LAST DAY IS JUNE 30…DO YOU SEE WHY I AM SO CRAZY….I don’t care what they say…your last day is June 30 PERIOD…. ok I’m done….being crazy…Roseanne

LAST RESPONSE: Roseanne: Thank you for being willing to “crazy” for all of us out here who read and take your very good advice. We all deal with retirement once-but you deal with the same issues over and over. Thank you for being there for people like me. Take care, and thanks…RK

GET READY for QUESTION 6

Q 6. Roseanne, I am a 38 year postal clerk veteran. I have worked most of my career as a part time regular and most recently as a Full time NFTY. I have received an annuity estimate and I have spent hours trying to figure out what type of hours are included in the numerator portion of the proration factor formula. All that I keep reading is that actual work hours are the hours used divided by the number of hours as if I had been full time. I understand the formula but although my 50 is set as a 36 hour regular I have typically worked and average of 50 hours a week for the past several years. How are the hours added up as work hours? Do the 10 hours of overtime count toward my 2080 or/and do the hours stop adding once I reach 40 or 8 on any given day? And are the hours cumulative? Does it go week to week or year to year? If I add up all my hours worked then I have worked at least 2080 for the past several years so do those OT hours count? Also, how do I get that figure? I have tried calling finance and no one seems to be able to help me. One last question, I understand that you cannot make up hours to boost your time to a full time status by using AL and padding your hours however what about the 5 weeks vacation time that I reviewed annually does that go against me? The math is 40 times 52 equals 2080 and if I cannot use AL to pad my hours worked how am I able to use my AL annually and still reach 2080, as a full time or part time employee?GP

A 6. Hi PG,…that is the POINT…you don’t get 40 hours. The pro-ration factor (over time)…reduces the hi-3. When you are calculated…because you are not a full time…you aren’t going to get a “regular” annuity estimate. It has to be ordered. I’m assuming you got one. Go on the back…could be on the front and find the pro-ration percentage….when you find it email me back and we can go from there. Roseanne

Q6a. Roseanne, My proration factor is 75 percent. My question is……what hours make up the “total work hours” for for the formula used. Do all work hours get added including overtime hours and is the total a cumulative. PG

A6a PG, 40 hours….that is the base. You can’t make up the hours!! So…you have to take the calculation and then reduce it by 25%…based on the hi-3 X number of years…then reduce by 25%. Look… I know this is NOT something you want to hear…I just try to give you the facts…& many times it’s not so pretty. This is what happens when you don’t work a full 40 hour work week. Now….understand that estimate is just THAT…an estimate. Just like an estimate with a 40 hour employee that has higher level hours. That’s not on their estimate either. You are NOT calculated on overtime; night D; Sunday Premium…but ARE calculated on any higher level. But that will not happen until after you retire and when Eagan forwards your payroll records to OPM. I hope this helps a bit. Roseanne

Q6b. Roseanne, I understand the whole process in regards to the reduction due to part time status. I am not questioning that. What I want to do is the math itself. I do not want to trust someone else’s math so I want to know what “total work hours” are included in the numerator portion of the equation and if the hours are cumulative for the total number of years worked. Who do I speak to to get those total hours?

A 6b. PG, you could begin the process by contacting someone in your District Finance office. Not sure how well that may work. In all reality- for you to get this info…because it is MUCH….you may need to have your union represent this to Management as a request or a grievance. AND IF…you are CSRS versus FERS…another layer of knowledge that is lacking on this type of issue. To begin the process….tell me (on your pay stub) what is your retirement code. It’s in the small box with retirement…its either 1; 8; A; 5 Roseanne

Q 6c. Roseanne, The number is a 1 in my retirement box. I did contact accounting and they have given me a ticket number and told me that someone will contact my by Tuesday. In all honesty, I cannot imagine why this is so difficult. I know I am not the first CSRS part time employee to retire and every time I speak to someone they behave like it is an impossible task. I am assuming that HRSS must have used a specific number in my formula yet they will not divulge that info to me. I’m thinking they just used my 50. This process is so important to me. I am only 59 years old and I want my annuity to be correct. Thank you for taking me seriously, PG

Q 7. Roseanne, do you have any information relative to retirement…BT

A 7. dropping the mic…….🎤…..

Till we speak again…..Roseanne

Postal Retirement Q&A May 2017 by Roseanne Jefferson

Good Day Postal Employees!!!

This column is almost solely dedicated to the Special Supplement –

Q 1.Dear Roseanne, Thanks for the advice you give to Postal employees about retirement, it is very helpful. Here is my question. I took an early FERS retirement in Oct 2014 it was a RIF I was 53 1/2 at the time with 24 years. I am turning 56 April 27th 2017. So now I will be finally getting my Supplement. What month should it begin May or June? (It’s been a long 2 1/2 years wait). Sincerely SB (Former PM)

PS You are right retirement is SWEET! Don’t miss any of the BS at all.

A 1. The answer depends on which month you become eligible for the special supplement. In your case you become eligible on your birthday, April 26. Therefore your eligibility begins in May. Keep in mind just like any other check payment or otherwise, you are paid a month in arrears…. so look for your check in June. Since your birthday is the 26th, I would suspect your check should arrive the fourth Monday or Tuesday of the month. In (your) case look for the check around June 23-27. Keep in mind, that this check will be paid to you just like it would be if it were a Social Security check. Special supplement checks fall under the same timeframe that your Social Security check will follow. I hope this information has helped you. Roseanne

R 1. Thanks Roseanne I’m glad I asked you, because I would have been looking for it the beginning of the month not the end.

Q 2. Hello Roseanne! I read your information all the time. You are great for helping answer everyone’s questions! Thank you ! I don’t retain a single thing I read past 5 minutes! LOL Sad but true! I have been battling some health issues since the late 1990’s and the medication, and my memory cannot seem to keep this information straight. I have well over 30 years with the USPS. I started in 82, and have remained a clerk throughout my entire career. I received my “NARCES” annuity estimate. My eligibility date is 3/6/2018. In looking at the figures how accurate are these figures? I feel like they are accurate but I have had several people tell me that when they retired they got more that what the paper said. I am a little puzzled. MY RCD is 9/13/1982. Thanks T
A 2. Hi T Are you FERS or CSRS…. or CSRS/offset? Because if you started in 1982 and have always been a clerk; had no break in service; and are over 55 you should have been retired. I too am puzzled. But I am going to assume that on 3/6/2018 you will be 55. If that is not correct….then yes there is something wrong. You don’t say if you have MASS hours of LWOP, that could affect credible service. Perhaps you were on OWCP…that could affect many things. And clearly, as I say many times, these questions are not “a one stop answer, OR one size does not fit ALL”. SO if your RCD is 9/13/1982….that is no doubt your seniority date and is your Retirement Computation Date…and that is right. Eligibility date has to be your birthday….and 3/6 has to be your birthday and in 2018 you will turn 55. AM I RIGHT?….BECAUSE IF AM….I JUST ANSWERED YOUR QUESTION. Roseanne

R 2. I am sorry. Yes I will be 55 on 3/6/18. I have the time but not the age. CSRS. Now that I am getting close this is really scary! It seems like I just started working yesterday! I thought that retirement was so far away and here is it! UGH! Is it really worth it to do the 41 yrs. 11 months? I really want to go when I can. I am tired! And I hurt! I have hung on for so long. But when I printed the Annuity Estimate I was like.. CAN I DO THIS ? I don’t plan on coming home and sitting. That would not be good for me. I just want to go do something else. If I go 4/1/18 it says 3,365 without survivor benefits. Then I ran it for a year later and it says 3,509. I just feel like its not worth it to stay for more money. I have 1700 SL hours and I have always carried over 440 AL. I have never been on OWCP nor have I had any LWOP. Thanks !! Your fast at answering ! S.
Final Response: S, Just a word of advice, when you turn 55 …..retire. I don’t care what that annuity estimate say’s ….you CAN afford to retire. Unless you are living on mass amounts of overtime!!

At the end of the day & considering the number of years that you have –it will give you just about the same income in retirement, as you do working. I do this too much to be wrong!! Roseanne

Q 3. Hello Roseanne!! I have a question or 2 concerning the social security supplement. 1). When do I apply; 2). Where do I apply? I am getting a lot of different answers. When I call Social Security, they have very little information on this subject and suggested I call my employing agency, and I did, several times. When I first called HRSSC , the person on the phone said to hold on and came back on the phone, and said …(and sounding very frustrated) ”I’m trying to look “between” screens for this information”…and then the phone hung up. I called back to the retirement section again, I got a different person, and that person told me they did not know much about “this” special supplement but did “hear” some talk about it. I asked if you are guiding us in retirement, and YOU don’t know, how are you supposed to guide us then…..she said “take it up with Headquarters”!!
Can you shed any light on this? Many of us are in the dark!! Please help us!!!

A 3. I’ll start with the last 3 words….WHAT DO YOU THINK I HAVE BEEN TRYING TO DO FOR THE LAST 7 YEARS ….BY WRITING THIS COLUMN…….helping you all!!

IF you read the rules regarding FERS retirement, I will say this again (FOR THE 80TH time) ….you are eligible for “THE” Special Supplement under very strict conditions.

Age MRA (every one does NOT have the same)….AND 30 or MORE credible years of service.

Age 60, AND 20 or MORE credible years of service.

I am baffled by the phone calls to the Social Security office and THEIR lame duck answers you get……(based solely on my conversations with YOU after you speak with SS)..why…I don’t know….because they have the same retirement plan(s) you do, CSRS or FERS…and what??? THEY too don’t know about THEIR retirement????

And I can’t do anything but apologize for the absolute lack of “BASE KNOWLEDGE” about retirement at HRSSC. I have seen them trying to step up their game recently, in the Blue Retirement booklets that have been sending to potential retirees. Although when you call, you really can’t find anyone that is not reading off a screen or two to give you an answer.

OK STOP READERS…- Lets break here for a second. I HAVE OVER 20 (RECENT) QUESTIONS…THAT DEAL WITH THIS SAME ISSUE….I CAN BORE YOU WITH ALL THE QUESTIONS (as an example: “Roseanne, why don’t I qualify for the Special Supplement when I am 62 – Roseanne Response: Because you ARE 62 and can collect Social Security”….OR JUST GIVE YOU THIS INFORMATION. AT THE END OF THE DAY….ALL OF THE QUESTIONS ARE ASKING THE SAME THING….WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, WHY….AS IT RELATES TO THE SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT.

WHO: FERS Employees

WHAT: Money. This Spec Supp payment is the bridge of money that “replaces” one of the 3 tiers (FERS; Social Security; TSP) of your retirement until you reach age 62, your first opportunity to collect your Social Security.

(From) WHERE: OPM pays the Special Supplement – not the Social Security Administration.
WHEN (eligibility begins): ELIGIBILITY IS THE REAL ISSUE!!! (YOU MUST BE YOUR MRA with 30 or more credible years of service, or Age 60 with 20 or more credible years of service). This Special Supplement STOPS when you reach age 61 and 11 months…..PRECISELY!!

*** Very different answer for those who retired under “early out VERA”

AND THE BIG WHEN…-..when does this start? Before I address that…keep in mind that I find so many of you out there that are still TOTALLY clueless about this Special Supplement!

The WHEN is immaterial if you are NOT eligible!!

You must be eligible for this. So when you write me and tell me that you are 60 with 14 years of service, and you have a NARCES annuity estimate, and it says “Optional Retirement”…..YOU ARE NOT ELIGIBLE FOR THE SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT!! YES it says Optional….it is NEVER going to say MRA+10!!

That is not Full Retirement, that is the MRA+10 retirement, and you are NOT NOT ….SO NOT ever going to be eligible for this special supplement. If you are at your MRA and have 29 years and 11 months…YOU ARE NOT ELIGIBLE FOR THE SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT….because that TOO is not a regular retirement, that is an MRA+10 retirement as well. And with the MRA+10, you are NOT ever eligible for this Special Supplement….ever.

OK, so now to the when….If you retire with 30 years 2 months and are 58….we will use that as an example…why…because its MORE than 30 years, and at age 58, you have passed your MRA. The Special Supplement payments “mimic” the same timeline that Social Security uses for payments….and it is NOT the first of the month. (Question # 1…gives a good example of how and when SS pays, and the Special Supplement follows that same pay timeline.)

If you are eligible for the Special Supplement, it is not paid immediately. Your retirement has to be completed in order for OPM to even know if you are eligible for the Supplement, because the volume of FERS folks that don’t receive it, is clearly because you don’t understand the rules. Once OPM establishes that you are eligible for the Supplement, it will begin about 2-3 months after the initial interim check. When you receive information (OH YEA OPEN YOUR MAIL!!…or you will KNOW NOTHING!!) from OPM that your retirement is complete, you should receive a back pay lump sum for those 2-3 months and then the Special Supplement will be paid monthly to the same checking or savings account that you set up on your FERS retirement paperwork. And it is paid until age 61 and 11 months. YOU MUST apply for Social Security, it does not start immediately when the Special Supplement stops.

Q 4. Hi – Read your info frequently and must say you are VERY good – Finally have a question of my own – may not apply to many as I am an old CSRS’er in the last couple laps – Scenario is this – I may go over my max retirement (41 years 11 months) – I know that after that time retirement $ will be withheld and when I do retire I will be given proceeds – This is my question – I have a VC account (voluntary contributions) and I would like to get that $ into my VC –Can I do that? And how? I know that once I am retired I can no longer make contributions to the VC – so will it be possible as I won’t get the $ from my excess retirement until AFTER I retire? Hope I didn’t confuse you with a crazy question Many Thanks

A 4. Hi & Thanks!! No you didn’t confuse me…but I must say, it’s the first question I ever received like this. In reading some of the information I have on this, it does not appear that you can add to your VC account, from your CSRS (overpayment). From all that I read…this is a separate retirement account. When you retire, you can withdraw all voluntary contributions plus interest at any time before receiving additional annuity based upon those contributions. It also can be rolled over to an IRA….(AGE will play a factor in taxes). Also….really without knowing numbers or your age….keep this in mind…the Limitations….”Total voluntary contributions cannot exceed 10 percent of the total basic pay received during civilian Federal service”.

From everything I have researched and seen, plus, I don’t even see a form on OPM that would allow the action of taking your overpayment from the CSRS fund to your VC fund…so my conclusion is you cannot. Keep in mind….I am not just “guessing here”….I am reading and interpreting what is in the CSRS Voluntary Contribution Program information that I have. Roseanne

Q 5. Hi Roseanne, I was reading your retirement forums this weekend and had a question. I am 56 and currently have close to 28 credible years as a rural carrier. I have already sent in my form 3108 to buy back 3 years as an RCR-RCA from 1986 to 1989. I am not sure of the calculations or how it works exactly but if I am able to buy back that time and it does equal out to at least 2 years, will that be added to my time now will that make me have 30 credible? I noticed in one of your writings that someone bought back some military time but it wasn’t considered credible for the 30.
Also one other question, if I were to go out on OWCP for my elbow at this time, how would that affect my time towards retirement? Thanks for your time and advice S.O.

A 5. Hi SO, You misunderstood the reference to the years “not counting”….in the military statement. Those military years that are BOUGHT back DO COUNT for the FERS retirement calculation…..they DO NOT COUNT for the Special Supplement calculation. So to answer your question….bought back RCA time counts for BOTH FERS and Special Supplement. My advice -Don’t go out on OWCP; buy back your RCA time and then retire fully. Roseanne

Q 6. Hi Roseanne, Scenario: I will have 20 years career in USPS soon. 3 years are as a PTF and 17 years are as a FTE. Assuming 30 hours per week as a PTF, this would equate to 75% from a financial point of view. My question is: Are the 3 years worked as a PTF pro-rated from a service time as well which would equate to 2.25 years (.75 x 3 years) OR is it considered a full 3 years for pension? Bottom line: I am hopeful that I could begin a deferred pension at age 60 rather than 62. Thanks for all you do…JW

A 6. Hi JW, You are a career employee, so ALL the time you have spent in the Postal Service even as a PTF is credible for retirement. The only way to find out what your proration factor is for you to order and annuity estimate within three years of your eligibility to retire. With the 3 years of being a PTF in the beginning of your career, and IF the rest of your career is time full-time (a 40 week) – then there will not be a great impact on the proration factor, so I wouldn’t worry about that. And it would make sense for you to wait to age 62 to retire, because you get 1.1% versus the 1% at age 60, as it relates to the retirement calculations. And if you simply use a calculator and do your high 3 average salary by 1% and then by 1.1%….you will see I am right about staying for it. Roseanne

R 6. Roseanne, Thanks for the answer and at 4 something in the morning. I feel special 🙂

Final Response 6. Your welcome…..someone has to stay up and make sure you all understand how this retirement works….

Till we speak again……..Roseanne

Postal Retirement Q&A June 2017 by Roseanne Jefferson

Good Day Postal Employees!!

As things change from time to time, without notice, when I get an email from YOU (the readers) that something I have written regarding retirement, was NOT how it turned out in their case, I share that email with you. I want you to have as much information as possible to make the best decision at retirement, I am referring to question # 4.

I have seen screen shots from FERS retiree’s that shows two separate deposits into their account(s). This may be an anomaly in the case of question #4, but I wanted to share it in case the time frame of payment of the Special Supplement has changed.

AND when you retire….open your mail. Many of you don’t know this…but when you retire, and that retirement is completed, OPM will send you a small pamphlet 5 X 8 mailed in a “half envelope” (postal term). It looks very much like “advertisement” but it is not. This pamphlet TOTALLY outlines everything you did in your retirement. You will not get another, and it comes after your retirement is completed. The envelope does NOT look important….but it truly is.

Q 1. What is a form 50?

A 1. An SF Form 50 …is a ” Notification of Personnel Action. As an employee….you have MANY MANY…(AKA PS-50), and will see that “form number” on the bottom of that form. All federal forms have a number. Roseanne

Q 2. Hi Roseanne, thank you for all the helpful information . I look forward every month for new answers. I am a city carrier with over 31 years of service, not counting my 4 years of military I bought when I first started working. I am 59 and plan on retiring when I turn 62.In order to get the additional 10% in my annuity ,do I retire on the day I turn 62 (my birthday March 1 ) or have to stay longer ,like to the end of the month
> to qualify for this? Thanks, G

A 2. Hi G, Thank you….I appreciate that….I do try to give you the best “of me”…or maybe better stated what I know. IF you retire at age 62, and having over 30 years….you could retire on your birthday……March 1. YOU CAN…BUT JUST BECAUSE you can…doesn’t mean its the BEST fiscal decision. As a FERS employee and I am assuming you are….(because if you are CSRS then this answer will be incorrect!!)….So this answer is for YOU who has 31 years of service (and not counting the 4 of military)…..and turn 62 on March 1 (the year for this discussion is not important)….

If you retire on March 1, then you BECOME an annuitant in April. And April’s annuity is paid in May. IF you retire on March 31, you BECOME an annuitant in April and April’s annuity is paid in May. So what did that all mean….it means (in your scenario) that the entire month of March will have no work hours to be paid, and no retirement money. So why waste an entire month going with no pay at all….no paycheck and no annuity…because that is what retiring on March 1 would do for you. Did my explanation that make sense? Roseanne

Q 3. Hi Roseanne, My husband was married for 18 years and got divorced and in his settlement the ex is to get part of his retirement. She is not in good health and if she passes before he retires what happens to the retirement benefits she is supposed to get?? Thanks

A 3. Hi, If a court/divorce decree that is on file with OPM, that has assigned a “portion” of a federal employee retirement to a former spouse, and that spouse has passed away, then the full percentage is restored to the employee/retiree. It will most certainly require a certified copy of a death certificate for validation for OPM. Roseanne

Q 4. Hello, Hope all is well with you Roseanne. I have been retired for 2 years now, but still enjoy reading your articles helping people. Anyway this is just for information regarding your articles helping people. Anyway this is just information regarding the supplement you talked about in the May 2017 Q & A. Your first answer you gave to SB on the supplement is different than what happened to me. You said the supplement would follow the Social Security time frame. That didn’t happen to me.
My supplement and OPM payments were direct deposited on the first of every month, as one check. It continued like that until I applied for Social Security. My Social Security is deposited separately on the 4th Wednesday of everybody month. Happy in retirement.

A 4. Hi Happy, I am so glad that you are still keeping up with the column. Since I don’t and didn’t get the Supplement, as I am CSRS, I rely on my clients information back to me on the when…& for the last few years this is how they have reported their Special Supplement payment was received. You are the only one so far that has written that has said something diff from everyone else. Why…the difference? I am not sure if it was a “change” in how OPM pays or paid the Special Supplement, but what I wrote is what I have been told to me by recent retirees. But I appreciate that you wrote to tell me your experience was different…& thank you because it helps the masses out there…so either there was a complete change over in payment dates to Spec Support employees or you may have been an anomaly. Glad your retirement is going well! Take care & keep reading..Roseanne

Q 5. Hi Roseanne, I’m a FERS postal employee I have 30 years of credible service and will be 56 the end of this month which is my MRA. With the proposed federal retirement budget cuts looming for 2018, especially the supplemental annuity, I’m seriously considering retirement by the end of 2017 so I won’t be effected in case it passes through Congress. When should I start the retirement process, the latest if I decide to retire? Thank You RF

A 5. Hi RF, Based on what you said, I would begin now to plan.
Q 5 (a). Just a followup question since retiring is a major decision as you know. When is the latest I should request my blue blue in order to have it processed if I want to retire by the end of 2017? Thank you again for all of your knowledge RF

A 5 (a). I would call HRSSC at 1-877-477-3273, in September for your Annuity Estimate and blue retirement booklet. Roseanne

Till we speak again……..Roseanne

Postal Retirement Q&A July 2017 by Roseanne Jefferson

Good Day Postal Employees…YOU NEED TO BE INVOLVED!!! FOR REAL!!! YOU NEED TO PAY ATTENTION!!

ARE YOU UNAWARE OF THIS FACT

…POSTAL EMPLOYEES ARE THE ONLY FEDERAL EMPLOYEES THAT ARE NOT PAID BY U.S. TAX DOLLARS…DO YOU ALL GET THAT!!

…WE ARE SELF PAID BY THE PRODUCT WE SELL…POSTAGE…DELIVERY….BOXES…PRODUCTS.

SO ALL OF THE CONVERSATION ABOUT TRYING TO CHANGE OUR BENEFITS REALLY PISSES ME OFF…BECAUSE WE (FORMER OR CURRENT) AS PART OF THE COMPANY OF “THE US POSTAL SERVICE”…HAVE A PRODUCT WE SELL, AND WE ARE PAID BY REVENUE OF THAT PRODUCT – VERSUS ALL OTHER FEDERAL EMPLOYEE’S THAT ARE PAID BY “OUR TAX DOLLARS”. NOT A DISS….A FACT…SO WE HAVE PAID OUR WAY!! Both Postal CSRS and Postal FERS.

We as a group, need to be very involved in watching what the Postal Service, Congress etc. has on the “table” that could potentially impact our retirements in a financially degrading WAY…NOW and in the future.

There are many different “proposals” to change our “federal health benefits” and our retirement benefits. From attempting to change the calculation from a high 3 (OMG..been in effect for YEARS!!) to a high 5 salary. Why!!?? Because of simply mathematics…if you round up your last 5 salaries and divide by 5 its going to be much lower than the rounding up the last 3 salaries, and divide by 3…just simple math!

There is an all out attempt to “require” us to purchase Medicare Part B coverage, which currently for us (federal retirees) is a “choice”, and not a requirement. THIS ONE..THIS ONE RIGHT HERE… IS LIKE WALKING ON A TIGHT ROPE/ IT TAKES AN ALL OUT EFFORT TO MAKE THIS WORK!! TRUST ME ON THAT!!…IF YOU ARE NOT ON YOUR PEAS AND QUES’…..and then you got to say to yourself, as we age, how long do I have to be on my peas and ques’…to make this work not having Medicare Part B, because it does require FULL ATTENTION….and everyone does not have that in them to “maneuver” through the rules and regulations, (AKA BS)….So…I’m on the fence on this one…still…..YOU KNOW I TELL you, I call them as I see them!!

The Special Supplement, (that bridge of money that (IF ELIGIBLE) which carries you from your MRA (with 30 years) or (Age 60 with 20 years) (with funds) until age 62, when you are first eligible to collect Social Security, is also under “review” (AKA ATTACK).

Plainly stated…if the Special Supplement is eliminated, then clearly, retiring at MRA or age 60 seems truly to be a financial impossibility. I cannot imagine that FERS retirees, who are currently receiving the Special Supplement (if revoked) would effect THEM. But that is speculation on my part. Keep in mind, they have changed the FERS system before (sick leave adding to overall years of service (see below); so it’s not impossible to think that there would or could be other changes to the FERS retirement system.

When the FERS system was created, accumulated sick leave was NOT credited to overall years of service (for calculation of retirement purposes (as it was in CSRS ), then years later that was changed to 50% of the total sick leave would be credited for retirement. And then finally in 2013 or 2014, 100% of sick leave was credited to the retirement calculation. So it can and has changed!! BUT WHEN YOU MAKE A CHANGE….its to enhance, not reduce.

I have had so many emails this month regarding these above subjects. I have no “insider information”, (well maybe I do touch the pulse on what is going on…from many perspectives as in union, mgt, area, HQ)….but WHAT I do know IS – that if we don’t PAY ATTENTION, the amazing retirement we have, that is under attack, will affect ALL OF US. WE ALL HAVE A DOG IN THIS FIGHT!! WAKE UP!!

SO ALL OF THE QUESTIONS THIS MONTH THAT RELATE TO THE ABOVE SUBJECT(S), listen….just tons and tons…of all of you with almost the same questions….…I HAVE NO ANSWER other than what I have already said, and I will do my best to keep you as updated as I can, and have for the last 8 years in writing this column …..

I KNOW – YOU BETTER STAY ALERT!!!

Q1. Hi Roseanne, I will be 59 next March, next May 7 will have 30 years in. I plan on leaving. When is day to actually to retire AND get the supplement?? May 7, or the end of the month?? Thanks

A 1. You should retire at the end of the month….it just makes fiscal sense. Why have NO PAY from May 8 – May 30….no pay check and no annuity for those days. It really makes sense to retire at the end of the month. Roseanne

R 1. Thanks Roseanne, your the best

Q 2. Hi Roseanne, I would like to Thank You in advance! I was made aware of you and your columns by RZ
I hope you can help me. I recently retired from USPS on May 31st, as a Clerk under FERS 32yrs of service, 63yrs old. May 31st was the last day of the month which was the last day that I worked and it was on a Wednesday, the pp ended on 6/16/17, I picked up my pay check 6/20/17 and saw that they gave me 16 hours LWOP. May 31st was my separation date, so why LWOP for the following 2days? What should I do about those 16 hrs of LWOP and does that affect my retirement? Thank you PW

A 2. Hi PW, Based on what you have stated below, those 2 days of LWOP will not affect you. The why’s….most districts have eliminated their TACS or timekeeping offices, so the supervisor’s are kinda on their own. The reason for the LWOP is an employee has to have either work hours, or leave hours….any leave, annual, sick, LWOP, Administrative leave, ANY leave to close out the pay period. When districts had a TACS office, these type issues were taken care of in that office. They would go back and correct it. But it is nothing for you to worry about. Roseanne

Q 3. Is the Special Supplement taxed?

A 3. From what the FERS retirees tell me…no. And that is directly from those who I have done their retirements, and do receive the Special Supplement. Roseanne

Q 4. Roseanne, I am a FERS employee with 33 years of service. I am 56 years of age, and I am planning on retiring on December 31 of this year or January 31 of 2018. I will have the maximum amount of annual leave accumulated. I have two questions.1.For tax purposes on my payment of annual leave, Is it better to retire at the end of the year(December 31, 2017) in order to have my annual leave paid out in the next year, or wait until the last day of January? Question 2 concerns the 5 year Federal benefits rule. I signed up for federal health benefits during open season on November 11, 2012. This was reflected on my first check of January 13, 2013. When will the 5 continuous years of enrollment be valid? 5 years from the date that I enrolled on November 11, 2012 or 5 years on the date of my first paycheck of January 13, 2013? DR

A 4. Hi DR, In your case, your 5 years “immediately preceding retirement” began on 1/13/2013, and that is the date of your eligibility. VERY VERY smart to ask this question! I think for “assurance” that you are covered, you minimally cannot retire before Jan 31 2018. True that the coverage started in January….but just to be safe work the entire month. You definitely cannot go Dec 31, and be able to carry HB into retirement. As far as the best date for tax purposes, in many cases that I have worked on, if the “income” was from the year “2015”…even if paid in Jan 2016…for tax purposes, it was reflected as income on his W2 for the year 2015. Roseanne

Q 5. Good Morning, We’ve talked through email a few months ago. A few things have changed.
I’m a career employee, as of 9/3/16. I’ve been out OWCP 28 months. Returned back modified duty into the plant on 2/9/17. I since have new injuries that I’m being treated for, on last Monday one doctor has taken me back out for 4 weeks. Now my Orthopedic doctor as of Friday has completely taken me out, my first injury has worsened my left shoulder is disabled, moving into my new injuries containing my neck, back, and right arm. Where do I go from here?
I didn’t have enough hrs. to get FMLA. In the last conversation you said 16/18 months of FERS, but my disability is not going to let me make it that far. Who do I need to contact? I’ve attempted APWU, no answers or return calls.
Hired 12/14/13, Injured 10/24/14, Career9/3/16, Returned light duty 2/9/17. Thanks, D

A 5. Hi D, Unless you have 18 months of credible service, ACTUAL CREDIBLE SERVICE…and being on OWCP is going to impact that….you are unable to file for disability retirement. You can call the union, but unfortunately, there isn’t anything they can do, as these are federal regulations that govern our federal retirement. Roseanne

Q 6. Hi Roseanne, I am a Rural Letter Carrier for the PO. On Dec 28th of this year I turn 56 which is my MRA. I will have 31 years 7 months service but only 21 years 3 months full time that count for my retirement. I have also bought back previous federal service that is equivalent to about 1 and 1/2 years. I’m hoping to leave the PO with a postponed retirement at the end of this year. Do you conduct counseling to help with the process? I find it quite confusing, especially since I’m leaving early Appreciate your time, Thank you M

A 6. Hi M, That is NOT full retirement….being 56 with 21 years of “credible” service. You can retire, under what is known as MRA+10…but your retirement is then re-calculated and you will lose 5% for each year 62, and so that is a 30% reduction right off the bat, and on top of that, you are NOT eligible for the Special Supplement. Not the best choice. Waiting until you are 60 would give you Full Retirement Benefits. Roseanne

R 6. Hey there, Yes, I’m aware it will not be full retirement and it’s not an ideal age to early retire at. I’m not sure I can physically make it in this career another four years which is why I’m considering leaving before I turn 60. My husband is employed plus I plan on continuing to work in a less physically demanding job after I leave the PO. We can swing expenses without my PO salary, not that I won’t miss the healthy pay and benefits.

What I hope for is to be able to have my Fed health insurance kick in when I turn 62. Am I eligible for a postponed retirement? Thanks and appreciate your quick response earlier. M

RA 6. Hi M, EVEN if you retire early with the MRA YOU DO GET TO KEEP YOUR HEALTH INSURANCE….NOT JUST AT AGE 62…but when you retire. I am sure that your annuity, even with the reduction, would pay for health benefits in retirement. Roseanne

FINAL 6. Great…Talk about some happy news! Thanks, Roseanne!

Till we speak again……Roseanne

Postal Retirement Q&A August 2017 by Roseanne Jefferson

Good Day Postal Employees!!

SADDLE UP…Here are some of the questions YOU have asked me this month!!

Q 1. Hi Roseanne, I will be retiring as a FERS employee on August 31, 2017 at age 59 with 24 years of service. I am unable to work to age 60 due to health reasons. I have called HR several times with the following questions and get a different answer each time. I read the information on the website, then call HR for clarification or to make sure I understand correctly what I have read. Each time I call I get a slightly different answer. Questions are:

1. Does the 5% reduction per year in my annuity (total 15%) continue for life or does it disappear when I turn age 62? I have been told yes once and no twice!

2. Does my annuity estimate include this reduction or do I need to subtract 15% from my estimated annuity? I have been told I must subtract 15% from the annuity estimate until age 62, then the reduction disappears and my annuity will increase; I have been told I must subtract the 15% from my estimate and then that is what my annuity will be for life; and also I have been told the annuity estimate already includes the 5% per year reduction and will remain that amount for life.

3. Do I get the supplement at age 60 and continue to receive it until age 62 or will I be ineligible? I have been told yes I get it and no I don’t. I have also been told it is already in my estimated annuity.

4. Can I file for disability retirement AFTER I have retire? I have been told yes, then told no, and then told it would depend on my disability.

This is what I understand the rules to be, please tell me if I am correct.

1. The 5% reduction per year in my annuity continues for life.
2. The annuity estimate already includes the 5% per reduction and that is the estimated amount for life.
3. I do not get the supplement.
4. I have up to 1 year after retirement to file for Disability retirement.

Any clarification would be greatly appreciated. Thank You. Confused Letter Carrier

A 1. Hi Confused Letter Carrier I will attempt to answer each question individually.

1. No, the 5% reduction remains in effect forever. So NO when you turn 62 it is NOT recalculated….it will always and forever…be reduced by the 5% for each year.

2. The annuity estimate will generally have the reduction already calculated, and touching back on the first question, yes the reduction lasts for life.

3. You do receive the supplement IF YOU ARE QUALIFIED!! BUT WITH THESE TWO TOP QUESTIONS, IT SCREAMS – NOT QUALIFIED. WHY, because you are filing for an MRA+10 retirement, and not full retirement. So no, you are not going to be eligible for the Special Supplement if you retire at age 59 with 24 years of service, again, because that is NOT full eligibility. So the question, how long it (the supplement) will last, is moot. Because it’s NOT applicable to you, if you retire when you say you are retiring at age 59 with 24 years of service.

4. NO you cannot file for disability retirement AFTER you have retired. Why would you? By the time the disability retirement got approved, you would be eligible for full retirement. Because of this, the approval process is NO WALK IN THE PARK, anywhere from 3-9 months. Keep in mind, a disability retirement, must be approved by a panel of physicians at OPM. So, if that’s the plan, I would say, you should stay until age 60. Better stated, OPM is NOT going to convert you over to disability AFTER you reach age 60, with more than 20 years, because – THEN you ARE eligible for full retirement. It’s a bad plan! It borders on “you can” (based on the retirement rules) but my experience tells me, won’t happen. Again why, “once you become eligible for immediate/optional retirement, then you are NOT eligible for disability retirement.

This however, is your call. I am just sharing with you the time frames and the “walk” of a “disability retirement”. Hopefully this has put to rest the issues you have. Roseanne

Response 1. Thank you so much for answering my questions the last time. I appreciate it very much. I have just a couple more questions. I will be 57 this August. I will have 24 years of service on August 3, 2017, (my service compensation date is also August 3). I have been using sick leave and annual leave since February of this year due to arthritis in my hands. I am physically unable to work until I am 60 and understand I will lose the social security supplement, and will be penalized 5% per year regarding my pension for a total of 15%. I am OK with all of that. I started the retirement process the end of February and wanted to retire earlier, but Human Resources could not get me a retirement counseling session until July 15, 2017. They then said I had to give them time to complete my paperwork. So I come to you, to answer my questions, and they are as follows:

I planned to retire on August 31, 2017, but will more than likely have to take LWOP for the last two weeks, as I will be out of annual and sick leave. Would I be better off retiring August 4th to ensure 24 years of service or would my pension be better if I go to August 31, even using LWOP? I have enough money put aside to go a few months without a paycheck. Also, will my insurances be covered if retire before August 31? Again, thank you for all your information and your time.

Last Answer: If FERS, it makes fiscal sense, regardless of the “hours situation” to retire at the end of the month. Your insurance’s (as does everyone’s) will carry over based upon YOUR selection on YOUR retirement paperwork. Roseanne

Q 2. Hi Roseanne- sorry to bother you but I’m thinking of retiring on 11/27/2017 & need your advice. Based on this article & the possibility of losing the SSN Supplement plus the increase to the HIGH 5 vs. the HIGH 3; do you think this will actually take place for employees Oct 2017 or January 2018? Thank you in advance for all your help/insight. Respectfully RT

A 2. Hi RT, Not a bother – but I am as concerned as you are. That is why I wrote the type of article last month. Yea, it’s a “in your face” sort of tone, but employees & retirees seem to be “tone deaf” as what is happening right before our eyes. I cannot imagine that federal employees, and I mean ALL federal employees, being OK with this. Advice: POWER IS FOUND IN NUMBERS.

THERE is no power in being “numb”, it’s time to get political!! Contact your Congressmen, Rep’s of House…I have. If we sit by, it will be taken from us. So contacting your state’s rep in House and Congress. If all of us do this…it can make the difference. Roseanne

Q 3. Hello Roseanne, I recently read one of your posts in May to a civil service employee who is turning 55 in March 2018. You told him that you’ve done this for a long time and when you’re 55 you should retire if not living on mass amounts of overtime. Here is my question:

I am civil service and started in September 1983. I will be 55 in September 2019 and will have 36 years of service. I am contemplating working the 41 years and 11 months to max out on my retirement as well as higher pay through raises. Would that not equate to an extra five to $600 a month? Thanks, G

A 3. Hi G, Well the figures you gave me can only be obtained by KNOWING what your high 3 average salary will be at retirement. Without exact figures, I could not say that you were accurate on the added 5 or 6 hundred dollars per month. The down and dirty on 41-11 is the calculation equates to 80% of your high 3 average salary. You can do this yourself. Take your high 3 and then do this…

Example high 3 salary: 60,000

60,000 X 1.5% = $900.00 X 5 (yrs.) = $4500.00
60,000 X 1.75% = $1050.00 X 5(yrs.)= $5250.00
60,000 X 2.0% = $1200 X 26 (yrs.) = $31,200.00
$40,950.00 (divided) by 12 (mo.)= $3413 No spousal $3072 (1877)

So then you can factor in what 5 years and 11 months would look like, if you decided to stay. Look at your current salary, and use that figure as your High 3, and the, apply the calculations above to find out a real close estimate of what you would receive in retirement. Roseanne

Q 4. Roseanne, I just passed 55 years old two weeks ago. I have been a regular rural mail carrier for 10 years and 5 months. Could I retire because health condition at this age? What is the benefit after retirement? How much can I get it after retirement? After 55 years old and 10 years employee, could I retire at any age? FY

A 4. Hi FY, First- eligibility is 18 months of career service, so you have that. But can you retire due to a health condition…yes you can, but you must be able to satisfy the doctors at OPM in order to be “approved” for disability retirement. As far as how much would you get, that would totally depend upon your high 3 average salary.

If you are trying to do this, you need to call HRSSC at 1-877-477-3273, option # 5, and request to begin the process of Disability Retirement. Roseanne

Q 5. Hi Roseanne, I am an EAS person going to retire 1/31/2018. The reason for me is strictly financial driven. I wanted to hang around to have my lump sum AL paid at my higher wage once that goes into effect the middle of January. Plus push that sum into a new year to save on taxes. I have 31+ years in so I’m in FERS. Then I will be able to tap the special retirement payments right away too. My boss stated that if I retire December 31st, I would get my pay raise in a lump sum payment instead of it being added to my salary to hit the max in my level and the balance as a lump sum. It doesn’t sound right to me, and was wondering if you could set me straight. Thank you for all the wonderful and informative monthly posts. I read every one of them! KL

A 5. Hi KL, Your boss is correct. After your form 50 is processed for retirement, Eagan, MN forwards your pay records to OPM, so the raise will be included in OPM’s overall calculation of the annuity. Keep in mind you are only calculating that “raised salary” from Oct-Dec. (End of FY till end of year)…in your case. Roseanne

Q 6. Hi Miss Roseanne, This is my additional info: I worked for the P.O. since 10/1983. Last Sept 2016 went out for R& L shoulder surgery and will be finished with therapy around Nov. I am thinking about retiring when I finish with my treatment. The HR told me that my annuity need to be done or calculated manually since I am out from 2016 to present. I am planning to retire 11/2017. Will it affect my HIGH 3 and annuity when they compute my retirement pension.

A 6. You wrote me for advice, so here is my advice- wait until you go back to work, so ensure all of that (OWCP/Postal hours) is sorted out. Trust me, if you try to retire, without going back to work, it WILL make it difficult. SO specifically, yes you can… you can do that. But I said – this makes it difficult and longer to process. I would go back to work, even to use sick leave, or LWOP in Lieu of Sick Leave, so you retire “on the rolls” so to speak. That is my advice. Roseanne

Response: Good Morning Miss Roseanne- This is on the job injury and OWCP. Why is it important to go back before retiring? Sorry I am slow in understanding. My worry also is about my high 3. Can you please elaborate some more. I always read your stuff in postalmag.com, I would liked to thank you for responding to my E-mail.

Final Response: It is so much “cleaner” to go back to work, even for one pay period. It makes the retirement process go much smoother, than if you retire from the OWCP Periodic rolls to retirement with OPM. Now you can do exactly how you want to do it – “retire while on OWCP”, but I think you asked me for my opinion, and that’s my opinion, go back to work for at minimum one ENTIRE pay period…two is even better. I have seen many delays in retiring from the way you are asking to retire. And you are NOT slow…not many people understand this. Roseanne

Till we speak again………Roseanne

Postal Retirement Q&A September 2017 by Roseanne Jefferson

Good Day Postal Employees!!

LET’S ALL COME TOGETHER IN SOME WAY FOR TEXAS HURRICANE HARVEY VICTIMS

Q 1. Hi Roseanne, I am retiring after 34 years and 7 months under civil service. (Not waiting for what may come next year.) I was told, I should retire on the 1st of the month. Planning on leaving Dec 01, 2017. Does that mean my last day of actual work would be on Friday Dec 01, 2017. End of the work week, or Nov 30 2017. Thanks in advance for info. G

A 1. Hi G, Yes you are correct….if you retire on Dec 1, that is day 1 of the next pay period (2017), and IS your last day on the rolls and is an actual work day. In my opinion, you should retire on Nov 30th. Now, you can retire on the first, but there is no “logical” reason why you should. And it makes more sense to end your postal employment as close to the end of the pay period as possible. Roseanne

Q 2. Hello and thank you for considering my question. Was that picture (on the website) taken at the Naples Pier? Facts: 60 male, 19 yrs, 4 mo. postal employment, FERS, Retired Nov 30-2016. Military Retirement- 1994 – present. VA disability; Social Security Disability (SSDI) granted back dated to Feb 2016. Aug 2016 – present receiving payment. My Question. Do or should, I apply for disability retirement from USPS service. Nov 2017 is end of 12 month window.

A 2. Hi Mark, Not sure if its the Naples pier…but we were in Destin FL when that picture was taken. Well – at age 60 with 19/4 and 8 months to go reach full retirement….the likelihood of being able to have OPM approve your case before age 60/20 seems slim. But let’s say that does happen and you get all that medical documentation…then applied for (sent to HRSSC) and then mailed to (OPM) and then wait for the panel of physicians at OPM to approve…….(and to keep within regulations….you must ALSO file for SSDI..).

Now, keep in mind, even if you are approved for disability retirement, when you turn 62, OPM will recalculate the FERS retirement monies again, as if you worked until age 62. One thing that is most important to understand…once you reach eligibility….then you are INELIGIBLE for disability retirement. So you see why the 8 months in your case is crucial to even being able to apply. Once you reach that 60/20, you are then no longer eligible for disability retirement…you are able to fully retire. I hope that has helped. Roseanne

Response: I think what I wrote was missunderstood from my information.

I am retired as of nov 30, 2016.

I am receiving retired military also

I am 90% disabled by Va.

I received in May 2017 SS Disability. In the letter it back dated my disability to Feb 2016. First Payment received in June 2017. Now it’s August 2017. It appears that there is no point in applying for disability retirement with opm/usps now. Due to 62 in feb.

Special note. I owe and am repaying $8,000 of advance sick leave granted in 2016. I was unable to work. I am severely limited in standing. That is why 19 years 4 months usps. Destin is east coast.

Roseanne…..Okay……….

Q 3. PLEASE ANSWER THIS QUESTION, WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR THE SUPPLEMENT? IS IT TRUE YOU CAN BE 60 YEARS OLD WITH 20 YEARS OF SERVICE OR IS IT 25 YEARS OF SERVICE?

My MRA is 56, I will be 53 this year, and at that time (56), I will have 20 years. When will I be eligible for the supplement? HOW IS the supplement calculated? Would appreciate any information you can provide. Thank you in advance. B

A 3. Hi B, First you must be a FERS employee (versus CSRS). You are only eligible for the supplement if you meet the requirements of age 60 with 20 or more years of “credible” service OR your MRA and 30 or more years of credible service. For the special supplement, OPM uses the amount in your Social Security “account” to determine how much the supplement will be. Roseanne

Q 4. As I near the one year anniversary of my retirement, first I want to thank you for the counseling you did for me last Sept. I do my best to sing your praises and steer folks your way. Retirement is great! Now, on to my question-

Many folks in a fb group are planning on going out on their birthday /anniversary date, or in other words the very day they become fully eligible. When I see this, I remember you telling me I had to work the entire month if I went out like that. I stayed on the books an extra month just to cover my bases. When I see someone post that, I post a link to your blog where you advise that they HAVE to work that entire month that makes them fully eligible.

What are the consequences of retiring on the day that makes one fully eligible to retire, rather than working that entire month? I ask because today I see where someone posts this- “I retired last year, the day before my birthday, I was turning 56. At that time, I had 31 years 7 months of service. I get the supplement but I did have to wait a month and a half for my first check. I planned for it. ”Now I’m confused”. What did this person lose by not working that entire month they were first fully eligible? Thanks for all you do. BD

A 4. Hi BD, Keep in mind, your retirement was “tailored” to you, so you had an advantage many don’t. If you are turning your MRA..(& have 30 or more years…) or age 60 (& have 20 or more years), you need to complete that entire month that you became eligible. Why…because some employees (who have written me), who turned their MRA (example June 17, and retired (example June 27th (because it was the end of the pay period)) were not (according to OPM) eligible for the Special Supplement & didn’t receive it, because they didn’t complete of the month of their eligibility. That’s why.

If something so valuable financially, requires you to work until the end of the month, after you have already worked 20 or 30 years, why is this such an issue, for assurance of eligibility (for the Spec Supp.). Keep in mind that isn’t the case in EVERY retirement, because mostly…employees don’t retire on the month of their eligibility. I hope this has cleared that up.

Imagine me knowing that, and not sharing THAT. This what many OTHER retirees have written to me. Keep in mind I am a CSRS so it’s not that I would know personally, but through all of the readers out there who are willing to share what they were told by OPM why they didn’t get the Special Supplement. Then, if the employee loses eligibility for the Spec Supplement they have to wait until 62 for Social Security. That could be a very lean 6 years.

So again I say imagine me knowing this and not sharing it……IT IS why I do what I do!! Roseanne

Q 5. Roseanne, I’m going to retire on August 31, 2017. On August 22nd I received a PS Form 50, that changed my RCD from 11/22/83 to 5/29/84. This is six months that they reduced my total service. I was called up for service during Operation Desert Storm and they are just telling me now that I have to buy it back to get credit. First, I disagree that I have to buy back that military time because I was in a non-pay status, which under title 38 USC I’m entitled to that time towards retirement. Second even if I wasn’t and did have to buy it back I ‘m unable to because of the time frame. Question do I have to buy back this time? How can I get the opportunity to do so if I do, is there extensions? Thank you. Help JAE

A 5. Hi JAE, Without ALL pieces of information, I will try to answer this for you. I suspect that you also received a form in the mail titled RTR Report. (If not, go NOW to your eOPF and find an RTR form..(everyone should have one). That should show the “why’s of this (changed SF Form 50 Personnel Action).

That report is computerized to analyze the military and federal employment, so that RCD and ACD dates are correct, as well as you being in the correct retirement system. Keep in mind, that when you were in Operation Desert Storm….you weren’t putting “retirement funds” into FERS, nor was the Agency….so to get credit for that time, you have to “fund” those 6 months. They do give you an opportunity to pay it back. I want you to know that those 6 months may play a huge impact on being eligible for the Special Supplement, not knowing what your age is or the total number of years you have. Roseanne

Q 6. Hi Roseanne, Thanks for taking the time to read my email.

After I retired from the Clerk Craft last year a new contract was arbitrated which resulted in retroactive pay raises. So the high 3 the OPM calculated for my annuity is now incorrect. The last 6 months of my high 3 calculation is actually higher with the retroactive pay raise. I have wrote to OPM and sent in all the documentation I could concerning the old pay scale and the new pay scale covering my last 6 months of work. I received back a two sentence form letter and a page on how my high 3 was calculated. It was exactly the same as their original annuity calculation. No mention was made of my retroactive pay raise over the last 6 months I worked or all the documentation I sent in.

Do I have any recourse? It probably is only an increase of $10 a month but still don’t want OPM keeping what I should be receiving. I also think with the amount of clerks that retire every month there are a lot like me who are being shortchanged. Thank you, Sincerely DBO

A 6. Hi DBO, Even if you sent me all the “actual figures”…I am sure that the 6 months of an increase, would not change the Hi-3 average salary enough to really make that much of a difference when calculating the retirement. But it absolutely would NOT be $10.00 additional per month..much much smaller. I know this is not what you wanted to hear. And you can do this yourself to figure it out, and you will need to see it on paper, before you will be OK with it. Once you see how little the change is……in my opinion without any figures….I would say less than 5.00 per month…more like 2 or 3 dollars per month. Roseanne

Final Response: Hi Roseanne,

Thanks so much for the quick reply. Wow, you stay up late. I’ve always been pretty good at math so I did the calculations and it would be a $6 increase. My high 3 would go from $56374 to $56482 – an increase of $108. And with my 35 1/2 years service and reduction for survivor annuity, my monthly amount would increase from $2865 to $2871.

I know its only $6 but I would love to have a free foot long sub from Subway every month with that $6 extra. Ha. But that’s just me. And with all the computers now it seems like it should be a simple plug in fix. Anyway, thanks again for responding so quickly. I’ve contacted the APWU retirees department too and they are going to get back with me. They said this happens about every 3 or 4 years because just about every new contract takes so long to settle that there is always back pay. DBO

Till we speak again……..Roseanne

Postal Retirement Q&A October 2017 by Roseanne Jefferson

Good Day Postal Employees

……let’s get right to it !! This first question has “history” along with it – try to follow on this one….

Q 1. Roseanne, Good evening. I had previous communications with you regarding my retirement on 1/3/2016 and my plan for buy back of previous casual time. I submitted my PS form 2803 to HRRSC in December 2015, the application to make deposit or redeposit for the casual time I worked.

OPM failed to respond to my request. I sent a few emails to OPM, since calling them on the matter proved fruitless. On 8/18/2017, after dealing with four different OPM Administrative assistants over the past 16 months, I finally received a written response. OPM stated “OPM does not routinely offer the opportunity to pay this deposit, unless someone specifically requests prior to adjudication because decades of processing annuities show that very few people actually pay pre 1/1982 deposits after making the cost benefit analysis.” They further stated ” we have no record either in the paper case or in our on line system showing that you requested to pay the deposit.”

Then the letter states: “Therefore, we regret to inform you that we will not be offering you the opportunity to make this post adjudication deposit”.

They highlight the appeal process to OPM; then MSPB after OPM gives a final decision. I find this letter alarming. For several months I waited for a reply and sent emails stating that I never received a response to my application since I retired. We have a right to be provided this information. I was alarmed with such a response and the delay in this matter. My question is: Have you ever heard other employees receive such a response from OPM? I had another manager I worked with inform me when he retired in 2016, that OPM processed his 2803 and it took about 5 months.

I have the feeling my application was clearly mishandled when my application for retirement was processed. I just would like your thoughts on this matter and how best to proceed. If I had of known that I was not able to by back my casual time, I would have worked another year to reach my 80 % rate of retirement pay. This was very alarming news, since I never heard such a response for PS form 2803 applications. L

Hi L – yes I have heard of it…this is why in 2015 I specifically told you to do this PRIOR to retiring or it was going to be a nightmare….

HISTORY OF THIS CASE

Let me refresh your memory…..

2015 Q. Roseanne; If you could, could you assist me with a few question regarding buying back my casual time. I was on the USPS retirement website and saw your name and info regarding assistance with answering questions employees have regarding buy back of casual employment time. I worked as a casual for 10 months in 1975. I planned to retire 1/1/2016. I have 40 years and 5 months of total service time including my 10 months of casual time. I have 1 year and 9 months of sick leave accrued, for a total of 42 years and 2 months time, as of 1/1/2016. My question is how much will it cost me to buy back my casual time back, for the period of time in 1975 where I made $8.00 per hours for about a 35 hour work week, for the 10 month period? Can you give me a guess of what the dollar amount may be? My goal is to achieve the 41 years, 11 month time for 80 % annuity level of pay which I will achieve, if I buy back the leave. If I don’t buy back the leave, then I will have a decrease in my annuity, less than 80%, for lesser years if service credited. If the buy back cost is too expensive, then I may have to make a decision to work until 7/1/2016. I would appreciate your advice on this matter. L

2015 -A. Hi LG, You really need to order an annuity estimate. Call Shared Services at 1-877-477-3273. Once you get (unless you already have one), with that estimate, I’d be better able to answer that questions, and tell you some things you may or may NOT know, before you venture out to this. Roseanne

2015 R. Roseanne, I have the annuity estimate and I have had the retirement counseling a few weeks ago. But the employee could not answer all my questions.

Final 2015 Response: AND you are ALL SO OK with them NOT answering your questions…WOW!!

But let me tell you what each (additional) month gains you….about $8-10 dollars a month (CSRS). So killing yourself to get to 41 yrs. / 11 mo. is kind of crazy. As far as buying back your casual time…just the time frame alone for all of that to be completed, you would probably be well beyond July 2016, even if you waited (versus retiring at the end of 2015). That process takes quite a while. Some employees have waited a year or more for those types of actions to be processed to the point that it shows in your Form 50 history, where it adds to your overall years of service. My opinion is move on without it. But if you plan to delay your retirement and try to buy back this casual time, you need to get started now…..right now, because when you retire….they will find any reason to NOT do it…too many years of changing decades of history…….AND …….then to fix, when you’re retired at that point…so right now start. HRSSC is where you need to start to initiate this action….right now, really right now! Roseanne

MORAL OF THIS CASE

….You ask for my guidance, and I do all that I can to give you the best way to handle situations. And then either you don’t, OR you DON’T FOLLOW UP with HRSSC. Bottom line, it did not get corrected prior to retirement. And then 2 or 3 years later, you come back to ask me how to fix what I pretty much already told you would NOT be able to be fixed as a “retiree”….and I’m totally lost as to why, after asking and getting the information, you guys would not follow my advice…….”I am just randomly thinking out loud”!!!

If you have a problem, and I give a solution, but you either don’t follow through, or simply don’t, then you want ANOTHER work around for what I told you wouldn’t work…..IS it ME or is it YOU….All of you think about that. Again, this is why YOU ALL need to review your eOPF’s. Because when you go to retire, and something isn’t right, you could very well be THAT CASE ABOVE that you are reading about!!! Roseanne

Q 2. Hi Roseanne, I will have 33 years in December and turn 56 on January 25, 2018. HR says I can go on January 24, 2018 but I’ve read I need to be in pay status on January 31, 2018 to qualify for supplement if there is still a supplement at that time Can you please give me your opinion on which day, 24 or 31? SM

A 2. Hi SM, FIRST….FIRST…..FIRST…..You ARE NOT EVEN ELIGIBLE to retire on 1/24, regardless of the Special Supplement, because on THAT day you are NOT even your MRA yet!! You’re first day of eligibility is 1/25… so clearly that was totally wrong information. If it were me, I would retire on 1/31 to be eligible for both. Roseanne

R 2. That was kind of where my thoughts were at. Thank you so much, seems as though every time I call with a question there is a different answer to the same question. January cannot come fast enough….thank you so much for all that you do for us. SM

Q 3. Hi Roseanne, I will have 41 years in in October 2017. I plan to retire 1/1/2018 . We get paid on December 29th. Will I get a check in the next pay period for that last week of December? Or will it be on my annuity check? Do they take taxes out of Social Security? THANK YOU any other advice will be appreciated RP.

Yes you will be paid for all of your work hours and will be paid for any “Earned” annual leave that you have remaining. The post office pays you the wages you “worked” for. And too, the post office pays you, your the earned annual leave balance. Those (payroll) checks (typically 2), one or both, may not be deposited into your bank account such as your pay checks were. The first check after retirement (from USPS) may be deposited into your bank account (because perhaps the SF Form 50 for your retirement has not processed yet); however, the second check (& typically the last one from the post office), will not be deposited into the bank, but it will be a paper check that will be sent to your office that you worked at. Yes they take all the same deductions that were taken out of your pay check. NOTHING that you do at the post office, has any financial relationship to OPM who will be paying you…..EXCEPT…FOR ONE THING…IF, when you retire, has used more leave than you had “earned”…..OPM will retrieve that money for the post office. I hope this has helped. Roseanne

3 R. Hi Roseanne…..thank you. You’ve been so helpful. I have one more question, if I retire on January 1, 2018, will I get a check in the next pay period, for the last week of Dec., or will it be on my annuity check? Because I will need money for middle of the month bills thanks again. RP

Final Response Q 3. Any money “earned” at the post office, is paid by the post office. If you retire on 12/31/2017…BECAUSE THAT IS THE DAY OF YOUR RETIREMENT!! YOUR EFFECTIVE DATE AS A RETIREE IS 1/1/2018….that being said, any monies earned by being employed by the USPS is paid by the USPS not OPM, and is NOT on your annuity check. Two different agencies, two different payments, for two different types of money. So, if you work and your last day is 12/31/2017, the next (postal) pay day is 1/12/2018, (& even though you are not an employee….it’s still a postal payday) and THAT check, (for the prior PP26 (12/23-01/05/2018)) as I explained is going to be AT THE POST OFFICE THAT YOU USED TO WORK AT…in pay location 999. I hope this has cleared up any confusion on how you get paid. Roseanne

PEOPLE…..THIS IS HOW IT GOES FOR EVERYONE

Your last paycheck- IF NOT deposited in your bank account, will be at the office in which you retired from in Pay Location 999. And the same holds true for you “earned annual leave” check, that too goes to the office of record (your last employing finance number), in pay location 999

Q 4. Hey Roseanne, I have a question about sick leave. I have a year that I am adding to my years of service & 2 months I was going to take starting in Nov of this year. When I am using my sick leave will I also be earning sick leave since I will still be in a pay status? Thank you D.

A 4. Hi D, Absolutely yes. You are in a pay status….

R 4. Hi Roseanne, I was told by the lady at HR that I would not be earning any sick leave, when I take sick leave.

Final 4 Response: Then I guess that is why you wrote me…..cuz…it JUST SOUNDS WRONG….doesn’t it. AND that response was wrong. Unless there is something SO OUTLANDISH about you…OWCP issues….?? Because when you look at your pay stubs, when you did take sick leave, in all your working years, because everyone has taken sick leave in increments of one or two weeks…..did you NOT earn sick leave then…..of course you did! Roseanne

Q 5. Hi Roseanne, I retired from USPS in 2015. In 2016 took one time withdrawal and monthly payments. In 2016 moved from NJ to NC. I understand paying federal tax but NC wants to tax me after I paid taxes in NJ when making contributions. I can’t believe I have to pay state taxes twice. Please help, Thanks, JL

A 5. Hi JL, When you start off and say you took a one time withdrawal, and monthly payments….let me say….very smart…very smart!!! And I’ll start there. But in keeping with HOW your retirement works, your statements reflect TSP right..

And that is NOT where your bitch is…(it could NEVER BE…why…because TSP, that is VIRGIN Money….regardless of what state you live or lived in). But if talking about “retirement” from OPM, there is something called the “Bailey Law”. Which is if you fall into a certain “time frame of federal employment”, you could be exempt from paying any state tax on your federal pension in North Carolina, as am I. BUT KEEP IN MIND, I am a CSRS employee, and I began my postal career in the early 80’s. And depending on when you tell me your employment dates, I can let you know if you qualify for NO STATE TAX. Typically, if you are a FERS employee, and now a FERS retiree, you probably will have to pay state tax in North Carolina. Roseanne

Q 6. Hi Roseanne, I put in for early retirement on August 31 2017. Paper work not done yet by human resourses, so I am not getting paid. How do I get my SS supplement. Human Resources I do nothing. Is this true. Will I make it in time before the supplement is abolished for 2018. What do I do to get my supplement. I am confused. J

A 6. HI J, You say you put in for “early retirement”…..what do you mean by that? You were given an “early out” or a VERA?

If that is the case, and your position was offered an “early out- VERA”, when YOU SPOKE with HRSSC on your “retirement phone call”….what did they tell you…during THAT retirement session. Because that is a part of your retirement that should be discussed, particularly how and when the Special Supplement goes into effect, when you are retiring under the Early Out Authority. And during that phone session, did YOU ask THEM that very important question……about the Special Supplement – and what did they say? (Dying to hear this…)
And if you tell me NO, my question back to you is WHY NOT?

When you have an “early out” the information regarding how the special supplement is “applied” is provided to you in the “VERA Early Out Offer” packet. Because that is what you said…..you put in for early retirement. I personally don’t believe that is what you did, because you cannot “put in for an early retirement”….but I could be wrong. And then too, if you put in your paperwork for a retirement effective 10 days ago……did you really expect something yet, really…..in 10 days….really you expected something??? AND then to say “Human Resources I do nothing”….what exactly did that mean…..? I suspect they told you that they do “nothing” about the Special Supplement, and that is a true statement, they don’t. OPM is the “decider” if you are eligible for the Special Supplement or not.

I am not even sure that you retired under an early out…..I have my suspicions of what type of retirement you actually applied for. BUT I truly expect to you write me back and tell me that you didn’t have an early out offer, but went out on your MRA (minimum retirement age) and you don’t have 30 years….OH…it is a ……retirement… it’s an MRA retirement, and if it is my friend, unfortunately, you are NOT EVER going to get the Special Supplement. Roseanne

This retirement is an MRA+10. You’ve heard me write about this for years….well there it is. If you are your MRA, and have more than 10 years…yes you can retire….but as a FERS employee, if not under the full retirement rules of MRA +30 or more years, OR Age 60 with 20 or more years, you are NOT eligible for the Special Supplement.

Till We Speak Again…………… Roseanne

Postal Retirement Q&A November 2017 by Roseanne Jefferson

Good Day Postal Employees!!

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of you, a very wonderful holiday season….Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy New Year.

Well Postal Employees after the conversations, emails and a variety of healthy and vigorous discussions about the Special Supplement ….GUESS WHAT!!…..they are NOW putting that Special Supplement monthly payment amount on the NARCES Retirement FERS Annuity Estimate.

So we can end the discussion of how much your supplement will be, because it is listed on the actual estimate now. If you have not ordered one in the last 3 months, I would suggest you re-order, and your reason is….because the estimate you received is not the “most accurate”, and you need as much accuracy as you can get when dealing with the subject of retirement.

This is a very positive move that the OPM has included in this NARCES estimate. You will now have so much more of a “clearer financial understanding” about those 2 parts (FERS & Special Supplement) of your 3 part FERS retirement finally available.

Keep in mind, that if the monthly payment (Special Supplement), lasts until age 61 and 11 months…precisely…then the month that you turn 62, that Special Supplement will immediately stop. So therefore, it is in your best interest, when you reach about 61 and 6 or 7 months, to apply for Social Security, so that you will have your SS check, right after the Special Supplement ends. This is something, YOU the retiree, must initiate.

Q 1. Hey Roseanne, this is SP again. I would like to know how will I find out how much will make a month as postal retirement except the tsp and supplemental. I looked up light blue as annuity shows like for example $1400 so will I make less because of tax? Thanks, SP

A 1. You will have a “gross” figure like any wage or pension, and from that “gross” figure, it is reduced by federal tax, life insurance (s), the health insurances that you carry into retirement with you. Roseanne

Q 2. Hi Roseanne. Thank you so much for taking the time to help us all out with retirement questions. We have a woman in our office who started January 20, 1998. She is over 60 years old. Can she retire on January 20, 2018 or does she have to work through the year until January 20, 2019. There is confusion do to the 5 week 15 year annual leave status. It is not 15 years from the starting date of an employee’s career to get to the 5 weeks of annual leave. It is 15 working years, so it would technically be at the start of the other year of employment. Again, THANK YOU for helping us out answering questions. Regards, P

A 2. HI P, Well over 60 years old could mean 60 or 61, and with 15 years, and if you mean that, then she is not eligible for regular optional retirement. At age 60 or 61, you must have worked a full 20 credible years. But if she is over 62, that would mean, she is eligible to retire with 15 years. And so I wonder if your question is more about using annual leave to “achieve” time to meet “credible service” years. Bottom line you cannot use sick leave or annual leave to “achieve” a full 20 years or a full 30 years….those sick leave “years” are only counted AFTER you meet the qualification of MRA & 30+ years, Age 60 w/20+ years; or 62 with 5+years. I hope that was the information you were looking for. Roseanne

Q 3. Roseanne, You told me that it’s best to retire at the end of the month due to financial reasons….If my 30 year anniversary date is May 7, 2018, could I take 2-3 weeks A/L till the end of the month? That A/L is considered days of service?? I think it is but wanted to make sure!!

A 3. Yes…because to USE your “annual leave”…you still must be active (on the rolls)….(correct….yes that’s correct); and if you USE the leave until the end of the month, it still accomplishes the same thing…still on the USPS rolls until the end of the month. Roseanne

Response 3. yipeeeee!!!! Thanks, since i will be carrying over 440 and will have an additional 90 hours to take for 2018.

Q 4. Hi Roseanne, Did I miss something, or did they actually do away with the SS Special Supplement? I also heard a rumor that they were starting to payout sick leave balance like annual leave. Is there any truth to that rumor? I have 3 years, 7 months and 26 days to go. Not that I am counting. Thanks, for all you do. D

Response Q 4. Hi D, I hope that there was nothing in the column…other than the readers’ opinion or question that lead you to ask that question. As it stands TODAY, the Special Supplement is still a part of your FERS retirement plan. All of the rumors…to me are rumors…keep this in mind…this retirement plan that you/we have…is NOT just postal, it’s federal…and to change US, would mean an incredible overhaul of the OPM computers systems….I mean to change the ENTIRE FERS retirement plan…..for EVERY SINGLE FEDERAL EMPLOYEE……don’t you feel just a little bit better….just relax, but always be on guard. Roseann

Reader Response: Hi Roseanne, But I put in for early retirement on August 31, 2017. Paper work not done by human resources, so I am not getting paid. How do I get my SS Supplement. Human Resources said I do nothing. Is this true. Will I make it in time before the supplement is abolished for 2018. What do I do to get my supplement, I am confused. This is what made me ask. I did hear about paying us for sick leave from an “Area” person, usually happens a few months later. Even if they do away with the supplement and start paying cash for sick leave, I will do just fine. By the way, I am a loyal follower of your articles, always are good information. Thank you for your quick reply and have a long and healthy retirement. D

Final Response: Hi D, IF you put in for retirement effective Sept 1 as being an annuitant, you should have by now gotten some things from the postal service and perhaps OPM (based on the date of your email to me). So not getting paid yet from OPM….is normal.

BUT NOT getting anything in the mail – is NOT normal. Even if HRSSC had processed the SF Form 50 for “Retirement, you would not get a check in your bank, from OPM yet. If you had “earned annual leave” THAT pay check, that maybe you think you did not get, is really at your old work location; or pay office where you worked as a postal employee. If that is the case, give your old supervisor a call and find out if you last pay check or your annual leave paycheck is at the work location. Let me ask you…are you a carrier?…. because if you are, you are probably NOT opening your mail….maybe because you think it’s not important. Go back and open all your mail, especially the ones that look like junk mail….I’ll just bet you have tossed the most important pieces of mail from OPM, because they don’t look important. OPEN EVEN THE presort!! Check your mail, and get back with me, and let me know that you have literally received NOTHING from the USPS and NOTHING from OPM. If you don’t email me back, I will assume you found the mail you have not opened. Roseanne

NO RESPONSE BACK

Q 5. Hi Roseanne, and thank you for all you do to keep us informed and in the know regarding federal employment and the USPS. My question today is, I have been anxiously awaiting to hear about my VSIP with the USPS, to date, I believe the maximum amount has been settled to increase up to 40,000 for agencies….but of course I worry that the FERS Supplement is to be taken away in the near future. I am 61 years old and would like to retire but without an early out or the FERS Supplement, I would have a hard time financially. But really could use an incentive to help me thru the first few months of retirement. Any info, updates, news, or advise would be appreciated. Thank …you S.

A 5. Hi S, I truly try to keep up with all of this for all of you. I always think there can be an early out on the horizon…depending on Congressional changes…Board of Governor’s. Be proactive politically, even in just surveys….it could mean a lot. Just keep in mind that to change the Special Supplement portion of the FERS retirement, would not just affect postal employees, but all federal employees. I don’t see how they can “cherry-pick” what federal employees will not get the Special Supplement, or completely overhaul the OPM computer system…but there has been a lot going on politically that it’s a real crap shoot anymore, just to given an opinion, is difficult. But AGAIN, we are talking about FERS…it’s a 3 tier retirement “system” and part of that system incorporates the Special Supplement. If that is gone, then a part if the foundation for this retirement system is gone. I find it difficult to see how that could work….so…I am hopeful Roseanne

Q 6. Hi Roseanne, We thank you again for all your help recently. I have two questions: 1: Would there be any notice (or warning) if our retirements were to be based on high five rather than high three? In other words, would there be time to retire based on high 3, knowing that high 5 was going to be the new norm? 2: Hopefully the USPS will be around for hundreds more years, but if not, what would happen with our retirements? I thank you for your input. MC

A 6. Hi MC, (1) Yes there would have to be a tremendous outpouring of information. This is something so different, and changes the foundation of the retirement system, and a change that affects so many federal employees, not just postal, employees. So the messaging would need to be minimally a letter to each federal employee. But a change like that….OH…YOU WILL HEAR ABOUT IT!!!! (2) Our retirements are already PAID for. Meaning that the monies for our retirement are already “financed” in with OPM, by virtue of the employee’s contribution and the employer’s contribution. Roseanne

Q 7. Good afternoon, I was given your name as a possible resource for help with an annuity question. I was hired in 1986 as a career employee and resigned in 1991. At that time the USPS paid out my TSP and I rolled into an IRA. I returned to the USPS in 1996. In reviewing my annuity calculations, there is a difference in money based on the past pay out. That being said, based upon the information below from the HRSSC website, I have the option to redeposit that payout and have my annuity date recalculated. Do you have any idea how I would go about that?

“Question 16. What impact will a previous withdrawal of my retirement contributions have on my retirement annuity? (Updated 05/09/2012) Answer CSRS/CSRS Offset Covered Employees: If you are a CSRS employee and you previously worked for the Postal Service or another federal agency where retirement deductions were withheld from your pay and later refunded to you, you can apply to make a redeposit of those funds for that period of service. CSRS covered employees whose refunded service ended before March 1, 1991, will receive retirement eligibility and annuity computation credit for the length of the refunded service. However, unless the redeposit is paid in full, plus interest, your annuity will be actuarially reduced, based on your age and the amount of redeposit. If the refunded service ended on or after March 1, 1991, you will receive credit for eligibility but you must pay the redeposit in full, plus interest, to receive credit for the service in the annuity computation. [Note that the March 1, 1991, date applies to non-disability annuitants whose separation from service occurs on or after October 28, 2009; otherwise, the refunded service must have occurred prior to October 1, 1990]. FERS Covered Employees with a Frozen CSRS Component: The portion of your annuity based on a benefit that you have accrued and retain under CSRS frozen service is subject to the creditability rules and calculations as mentioned above for CSRS/CSRS Offset covered employees. For the portion of your annuity based on a benefit that you accrued under FERS, please see the next paragraph. FERS Covered Employees without a Frozen CSRS Component: The 2009 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) changed the rule that FERS participants who took refunds of their retirement contributions irrevocably lost service credit for the period covered by the refund. Now, if you had a prior period of service covered by FERS and withdrew your FERS retirement contributions, you have the opportunity to make a redeposit of the amount refunded, plus interest, and receive credit for the refunded period of service under FERS. Retirement regulations have been announced that give you credit for determining your eligibility to retire even if you do not make a redeposit. However, if the redeposit is not paid in full, plus interest, no credit is allowed for calculating your annuity.’

Any help is appreciated. Thanks in advance,

A 7. In a review of your question – If you are aware of the option of the redeposit (and I am going to assume you are..because YOU SAY, that YOU ARE ELIGIBLE to make “said” redeposit). I would also have to assume that you got THAT information of your “ability” to make a redeposit from HRSSC. KEEP IN MIND I AM NOT AGREEING OR DISAGREEING…JUST VERIFYING..YOU HAVE BEEN TOLD THIS BASED ON YOUR FEDERAL EMPLOYMENT HISTORY, IN ORDER TO KEEP THE ANSWER CORRECT AS POSSIBLE.

That being said, I see question 16, however, I don’t see questions 1-15. So that makes me wonder “where” did you get this question, out of what booklet? Because this looks to me like a simple “cut and paste”. And if it is…then you really are just “quoting” information, from where I don’t know…..with out the actual knowledge OR the AFFIRMATION from HRSSC THAT YOU ARE ELIGIBLE TO DO THIS. So why did I go through all of that? Because – although the rule may be “correct”, – YOU, may not be not eligible to do it. It is YOUR federal work history that gives this “any life at all”, meaning if you are eligible to do a redeposit.

You say that USPS paid out your TSP, that is not true. USPS has no control over your TSP, only you do, so that is incorrect information.

IF anything like that happened, YOU requested from TSP to roll that money (in the TSP fund) over to another 401K, the USPS had NOTHING to do with that, YOU are the only one that can initiate that, and if so, probably with a stiff penalty.

Additionally, perhaps you are talking about the 1986-1991 FERS retirement contributions. That as well, was something YOU had to initiate with the proper federal refund forms with OPM. And perhaps that is the money you converted to a 401K. So there is a confusion or a conflict in my mind as to the two different set of monies….and somehow, if or why you see them as the same….as they are not, and maybe you are only referring to one versus the two.

As a HQ employee, I would suggest that you call HRSSC to ensure what YOU think about what time you can pay as a redeposit, because it’s your federal history that would allow this…again, time frames. No matter what I say, nothing can be done without HRSSC being involved in the process. So you really got to call them and begin the process of paying back (if it was a refund of your FERS Retirement Contributions)…they will begin the process for you. I hope this has helped get you on the right track. Roseanne

AS ever……BE SAFE DURING OUR BUSIEST TIME OF THE YEAR…

Next Column January 2018

TILL WE SPEAK AGAIN…………….Roseanne