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

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