Roseanne is a retired USPS employee with an extensive background in USPS retirement, disability retirement, OWCP, EEO, Labor Relations and HR. She conducts individual and group counseling and is able to comprehensively discuss the pros and cons of employees who are on OWCP, disability retirement and regular retirement. Roseanne will be happy to answer your postal retirement questions. Contact Roseanne at roseanne.jefferson@icloud.com.

Good Day Postal Employees……..Happy New Year 2019

FYI: The end of this column is great information from my conversation with OPM yesterday!!

Q 1. Hope this finds you well. Thanks again for all your help. RETIREMENT is the Greatest. Thanks again for your help. My question is: Since I am receiving the FERS supplement, WHAT is the max money amount I can make per year. Thanks again. KJ

A 1. Hi KJ, For the year of 2018, the limitation is $17,040. I don’t see the new 2019 limitation sheet is published yet, and typically is around the first or second week of January. It does, however increase a bit each year. As an example in 2017 the limitation was $16,920. Roseanne

Q 2. Hi Roseanne, I have a question that I am hoping that you can help me with. I am filling out my retirement application and the question about Workmans Comp states: Are you receiving or have you ever received workers compensation from the Office of OWCP, Dept. of Labor because of a job related illness or injury? I did have an injury to my hand in 2013. I didn’t receive any money from them. They paid the medical bill. I did call the Dept. of Labor and she gave me the date of the injury. It is showing 2 claim numbers for that injury. She said it showed that I have up to 10 years to go back to the doctor if I should have any addition problems with my hand. My question is should I answer this question Yes Or No? I apologize that this is so long, Just trying to explain everything that the lady at Dept. of Labor said.Thank you in advance. W

A 2. Hi W, You have solid information from the Dept of Labor…and you have been provided a case number or numbers, so clearly the answer is yes, on the retirement form. Although it is very odd to have 2 cases and NOT two separate “dates of injury”.

Since you do have a case number or numbers, putting that information on the retirement paperwork is required. If you have the information from the Dept of Labor…and you have a case number or numbers…..for EVERY case number should be a DOI….Date of Injury. Why you don’t, I am not sure. The possibility is a second number was issued if perhaps you filed a “reoccurrence” (of the same injury) and what’s listed as a “second” case, perhaps should have been combined with the first case, just a first guess. I am just trying to make sense if you have a NEW case number, why you don’t have a NEW date of injury!
You did have OWCP interaction within your federal employment. So put down the OWCP number and the date of injury for THAT case. Since you have another case number and that they did not give you a date of injury, also known as the “beginning date”, I would be finding out that information. You want the retirement form to be CORRECT, the first time you send it in.
On all the forms that ask did you have an OWCP case, check yes…you did. It’s NOT going to affect anything….just correct information, as it relates to your overall federal employment.. BUT I am telling you if you have two separate case numbers…then there HAS to be two separate dates of injuries. And if not, there is a reason. You should call your District’s Injury Compensation Office/Safety & Health Office…because they will have data regarding “your” OWCP case(s), as you worked in that district. NOW for the closing date….leave blank…and most are left blank. You would KNOW if the case was closed, because typically you would have been issued a check for a “scheduled award”. If you were given another case number and they did not give you a date of injury, that really needs to be cleared up before you send in your retirement paperwork, for accuracy. Roseanne

Q 3. Hi Roseanne, Planning on retiring Mar. 30th 2019. FERS. I’ll have over 33 years working for the P.O. and I bought back 4 military years which will give me over 37 years service plus whatever sick leave I’ve earned. I turned 56 last October. I will get my annuity plus the special supplement and be able to tap into my TSP without penalty. Correct?
I read your column so I feel prepared, but just wanted to run this past your eyes first. Filled the blue booklet out but have heard nothing back yet from H.R. It’s been about 3 weeks. Do they send me something? One question I can’t seem to get answered is about annual leave, in the back of the blue book they have some question and answers. Number 81. It says if a holiday falls within the time of leave I have I get an extra day of leave added to my total even if I’ve retired. Say If I have 10 weeks of leave I’m turning in and Memorial day falls within that time I get 8 hours added to my leave total. Everyone I’ve told that to has never heard of it.Thanks for all you do. M

A 3. Hi M, Well first…to address your concerns….you did not say what your retirement effective date, just that you were “planning” on March 30th. So I am unable to actually address the “date” issue….yet. You said you “filled out the booklet”….you did not say if you “mailed” it?!! But let’s say you did. You should be aware that…NOTHING is going to happen, be sent, nothing until after 3/30/19. And why……because you are STILL AN EMPLOYEE. Keep this in mind, you have until the COB, (Close of Business) on the date YOU selected to retire, to “RESCIND” that retirement paperwork. So what was the point of me saying that….the point is…because until that date is reached….you still have the opportunity to CANCEL your retirement…so bottom line…NOTHING is going to be done until after that date is reached. From the date of this email, you sent it in really….REALLY early! I guess that is why…my answer in the beginning is framed the way it is…..

But to answer the rest of your questions, yes Correct?…you can collect from your TSP ONCE you have retired. NO….it’s not a penalty…tax OF COURSE, but penalty no.

Your answer to annual leave, is yes to the holiday question. Annual leave is paid to you on your last paycheck…and it’s the EARNED annual leave (minus what was “advanced” (in PP2), but has not been earned yet)). You will know it’s your last paycheck because it will have the words TERMINAL LEAVE printed on the check. Your last paycheck will have those words…even if there was NO leave to be paid.

On your last check you will receive from the agency, accumulated sick leave WAS added to your overall years and months of service, for the calculation of your FERS retirement. So the sick leave is already addressed by being calculated or ADDED in to the total YEARS & months of service. That determined your gross monthly FERS pension. You are paid for full years and full months. Anything not totaling a month is lost………….

LISTEN….You are never going to beat them at being “even-steven” on sick leave so don’t try. But you will all try to get approved for whatever YOU think will be left over. Let it go….really. For FERS employee’s that ONE MONTH equals about $4.28 a month (granted for life)… but is it really enough to get “twisted” about……let it go!~!

All this should work if you have followed the process with HRSSC. I hope this has clear up some of your questions. Roseanne

Q 4. Roseanne
Hope this message finds you in good health and out of the snow. A question came up regarding Life Insurance. I took your retirement session twice and have the information you provided but cannot locate the Life Insurance information.HQ employee JGH, retired in 2016. I was a FERS employee, and and did not opt for the declining life insurance. I remember there was some sort of permanent life insurance, I think one time your final salary; this insurance is permanent and there is no cost. Am I correct or am I just dreaming? Is this true and where can I read more about it
I would appreciate any information about the process for making a claim when the time comes. Hope everything is great with you, thanks for all of your help..JGH

A 4. Hi JGH- what you are referring to must be the Basic Life Insurance. It was/is your salary rounded up to the nearest thousand plus $2000. If I did your retirement, it should be in your retirement paperwork in the flag folder provided during our in-person or Air Mail session. If you did it with HRSSC, then it should be in the package of paperwork that you sent to HRSSC when you retired. The form you are looking for is SF 2818. That I think is what you are needing to confirm the life insurance amount(s) that you carried over into retirement. Hope retirement is treating you well! Have a very Merry Christmas!! Roseanne

Q 5.Hi Roseanne, I have been reading your columns for a few years and I was wondering how difficult is it to retire under the Disability Retirement. I am a union steward in (XX) and we have many employees that are unable to continue doing the job due to either long term illness such as cancer, or who have been injured in accidents that were not as a result of their postal position. I would like to know the process to guide them towards a Disability Retirement, but I don’t know where to start. Can you give me a little guidance so I can help them begin this process. Thank you for all that you do….DN

A 5. Hi DN, I am going to first start off by saying thank you….for helping our fellow employees, because this right here….is not for the faint of heart!! Disability retirement is a arduous process, actually a 2 part process with the Postal Service. I am going to strictly speak about FERS….(CSRS employees..by this time ….not a factor). As a FERS employee you must have 18 months of career federal service to apply for disability retirement. A disability retirement is really retirement….it is…but under disability rules. As a FERS employee, and because FERS is a 3 part retirement system, 1 part being Social Security, when you apply for this “disability retirement”, with FERS/USPS/OPM you must also apply for disability with Social Security (SSDI) as well. When you call HRSSC at 1-877-477-3273, you will request a disability annuity printout, and the disability retirement booklet. That is part one. Filling out that disability booklet, which in all reality is the form SF 3112. That is a 4 section form, where the employee and the employee’s physician, document the employee’s illness/injury. The 3rd and 4th part of the SF 3112 is for the employee’s supervisor, & Agency(USPS) to fill out. Once your part A,B are filled out and sent to HRSSC, then you will receive the actual retirement booklet (SF3107). You would then schedule a phone appointment with HRSSC for a session on the phone. After you fill the paperwork out in the book, you will mail that paperwork to HRSSC. HRSSC will then “marry-up” the SF 3112 and the SF 3107 and send it to OPM for review by a panel of physicians to see if the medical documentation supports a disability retirement. So as you can see, not easy, not fast and you must have absolute medical documentation supported by the physician’s statement(s). Just a statement….Mr. Postal employee is not able to do this job because he has a bad back….that will NOT cut it! This is going in front a board of physicians at OPM…it needs to be on point…accurate and documented. Like I said, not for the faint of heart. BUT it is doable and if employee’s are in that situation, they owe it to themselves to at least try. I hope this has helped to put you on the track to assist your membership. Roseanne

R 5. Hi Roseanne, I am blown away by your response….the detail…we thank you so much!! The members of our union, and I, know you sanitize these emails…but if we could LOCAL…sends big thumbs up for all that you do…and all that you know. DN

YESTERDAY….
You all have heard me say for years that OPM rocks!! And they do, really they do. I called on Wednesday at 4:01 pm, knowing that the portions of the government are shut down. I waited on hold for exactly 27 minutes…and during the call, there were announcements about having your CSA or CSF number; that no longer will retiree’s be able to use their Social Security number to access information, that they must use their CSA or CSF number and pin. And that is why I was calling to get my PIN number. I had gone on line in August (2018) and ordered a temporary password to create a new PIN. It was very easy and the PIN number came within 15 days. The perforated envelope was dated 8-11-2018. I was glad to have received it so quickly. However, when I went into opm.gov….it didn’t work. So yesterday I was determined to get this resolved. I spoke to a most incredible OPM employee (and most really are). I explained my situation and after my conversation with him, I knew I had to relate all of this to my readers.

The first thing is to never call on a Monday to OPM (1-888-767-6788), (which I have said for years (actually about any government agency))..to never call Monday or Friday, but Tuesday through Thursday between the hours of 10:15-4:15 and with patience you will be able to talk to a real live person. He thought that was excellent advice. He also told me that when you call OPM to be sure to have your CSA/CSF number ready. They will ask you for your CSA/F number, your mailing address, and your email address. When I told him that I was unable to access my account with the temporary PIN mailed to me in August, he told me it was because when you received that temporary PIN number by MAIL, that it was only good for 7 days, then it expires. I did not go into the OPM database until the end of September which is why it didn’t work. Another option was to send a temporary password to my email, which we agreed upon. I received it this morning. He explained that when you open the email, you have ONLY 48 hours to access with that temporary password. While I was on the phone will the OPM agent, I discussed that I wanted to create an “allotment” and my husband wanted to change entirely the bank in which his pension is deposited. He actually offered to do that while we were on phone, which I found to be amazing….actually would do it right there on the spot. I didn’t because I was SO NOT prepared for that, I was simply trying to get a way to get the password and go into my opm account.

After I opened the email, it had a log in button right in the email and it took me directly to OPM and the screen to input the temporary password (which was contained in the email) and select a new password. HERE is what I didn’t know….TO KEEP YOUR ACCOUNT ACTIVE YOU HAVE TO GO IN TO YOUR OPM ACCOUNT EVERY 6 MONTHS or that password you created will expire, and you will have to begin the process all over again.

NOW HERE IS THE THING I WANT YOU ALL TO KNOW….when you retire…open YOUR MAIL…you’ve heard me say that for years……OK it’s now been a decade that I have been saying this. I think in October I will have been writing this column for 10 years….and you still don’t open your mail 😳 ..but if you have retired, and you did not receive your blue and white pamphlet that says “Your Retirement Benefits”, you can order a new one.

Many years ago while working at the Postal Service , I was told by someone at OPM that the pamphlet you receive by mail, could/would only be generated one time. If you didn’t get it, or lost it, OPM would not generate another copy for you.

HOW UNTRUE…I have mine, and during the phone call, I would have never thought to even ask about that pamphlet, and then this great OPM employee offers to send me another pamphlet and I just about fell over. He said, that is such a valuable document…(which of course I know)…but the customer service was amazing, really. He offered to assist in changes and walked me through what was going to happen after I got the email. If you have been reading my column, you know I am no pushover…..and will talk trash when necessary. OPM ROCKS!!

So for many of you out there that know employees that have retired, and they don’t read this column, or for anyone that has retired and you or they don’t know what booklet/pamphlet I am talking about, you can call OPM and have them reprint a new one for you mailed to you.

This pamphlet is a summary of what happened on the last day of employment/first day of retirement. This pamphlet has federal agency phone numbers, OPM addresses, and information that was contained in your retirement paperwork. Every choice you made ON THAT DAY of retirement is listed: Life insurance; Health insurance; spousal benefit with spouse amount, all of that is contained in the pamphlet!! This pamphlet is not REAL time….it’s exactly what it was when you retired. So if you have moved, be sure that OPM has the new address to send it to you, because I believe that the pamphlet will have the “old” address. The agent was so helpful and was kind enough to prove it to me….he is sending me a new booklet to validate that the information I had before about only getting one, was incorrect. I will keep you informed about how long it took for the pamphlet to come and validate what is in it.

Till We Speak Again………Roseanne