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!

Q 1. Hi Roseanne, I have 2 questions to ask that I hope you can answer. Thank you in advance for taking the time to help. I am 60 yrs. old with 38 years of service under CSRS. I will probably work 3-4 more years. I have enough social security quarters to qualify for a benefit of $400 at age 62. Can I receive the ss amount of $400 while I still work at USPS after I turn 62 or will it be affected by WEP? Second question is If I take out 50% of the full survivors annuity will my wife’s social security annuity be subject to WEP? Thank you so much for the help you offer all of us. TM

A 1. Hi TM, First did you go to the SS office? Because if you are “quoting” that amount of $400..from what you see on the SS statement, it will not be the correct amount, due to WEP (Windfall Elimination Provision). I would strongly suggest that you visit the SS office to see what the amount of that SS check will actually be. It makes NO sense to collect SS while working, it really doesn’t, and that could only occur if one were at full retirement age, and 62 is not Full Retirement age, so the answer to that is no, you cannot do that. But when you do collect the Social Security, it will have the Windfall Elimination Provision (reduction) applied to the check.

The second question is yes, your wife SS will be affected; but not by WEP, but what is called GPO (Government Pension Offset). “The Social Security spouse’s benefit is offset if the spouse receives a government pension from work not covered by Social Security. The Social Security spousal or survivor benefit is reduced $2.00 for every $300 in government pension”. These are a part of the rules and regulations of CSRS. I would suggest that you go to opm.gov, to look into the how the Social Security works with CSRS employee’s. Everyone’s “work history” is not the same, and to get the best answer possible for this question….you really need to make an appointment to go the the closest Social Security Office so you have all the information you need to make a good decision. Roseanne

Q 2. Hello Roseanne, I am retiring from the postal service on June 30, 2018. I sent my paperwork to Hrssc on May 10. My delivery confirmation shows it was delivered. I’ve called to make sure they have it but no one can tell me anything.I have told my postmaster that I will be retiring June 30, but there has been no official word to me or my postmaster that it is being processed. How can I find out?

A 2. The easiest way to “see” if you are “connected” to the USPS is to try to go on liteblue, postalease….typically if you CANNOT get in with your EIN and PIN….then the most likely answer is that the retirement action which is being processed – you (or your paperwork let’s say) are in an “in-between” status. But know its working if you cannot get in. You are waiting confirmation on the personnel action “Retirement” (PS Form 50); being (initiated), and then when finally processed. Right now…..nothing is going to BE DONE….because if you are retiring June 30, federal regulations provide that you can “rescind” your paperwork up until the last day…therefore, it can not be done in advance. That is the best advice I can give you, other, than keep trying to call HRSSC….but I would not worry….you have the delivery confirmation….there isn’t anything they can really do….yet…so relax….it will be fine. Roseanne

Q 3. Good afternoon Roseanne!, First and foremost, let me thank you in advance for all that you do! I am writing to you about retirement dates. I will turn 56 on July 19th. 2018 At the time of my birthday I will have 33 years and 10 months of service. I am planning on retiring on July 31st. My first question is the end of the month any better than the first of the month for a retirement date? My second question is I am planning on using some AL up to my retirement date. I have 440 hours to sell back and 5 extra days. Can I take AL up until the 30th off July. Thank you again! P

A 3. HI P, If you turn 56 on July 19th, I would recommend that your last official date (as an employee) is July 31, making your official date as a retiree August 1. ( yes the end of the month is the best). Keep in mind that does NOT mean that you physically have to be there…you can take (approved) leave. So to say can I take annual leave up until the 30th of July, of course, as long as its approved by the approving official. Some employee’s as I say ….”annual out”. Meaning they use the annual until their last day of work, and what ever is left over (that has been earned) is refunded to them on their final pay check. Many times I hear that phrase, I have 440 to “sell back”….I never look at it as “selling” your annual leave, it’s just what you are “owed/earned”. If a craft employee you need to be sure you have no more than 440 “earned” because the max payout is 440 hours. Roseanne

Q 4. Hi Roseanne, Looking to retire at age 58 – I will have 30 years in December 2018. Will I get a pension? I heard they take your best 3 years. I have over 1000 hours of sick leave that I don’t want to lose. What are my best options. S

A 4. Hi S, You should call 1-877-477-3273, HRSSC, and request an annuity estimate to see the what your monthly benefits look like. On the annuity estimate it will show HOW YOUR SICK LEAVE IS CALCULATED to ADD to the overall years of service. So if you have 30 years….and 1000 hours of sick leave, you would be credited for 30 years and about 5 months. Once have the estimate you can see how the sick leave hours are credited to your overall years of service. If you think that you may really want to retire – then while you are on the phone with HRSSC, ordering the estimate, also request the blue retirement booklet. That is the beginning of the process…which then HRSSC will set you up with a phone appointment to assist with filling out the retirement paperwork. Roseanne

Q 5. Dear Rose, I read your monthly messages and thank you, my name is XXX, and I am a former carrier for 25 years. I talked to the union today and because of my attendance, I have been removed after 25 years of service. I retired from the navy 45 years with Feds. I’m also a disabled vet and 10 pointer but with some of the symptoms ptsb I have missed the last 7 months of work. So I was told if I don’t resign in the next 2 weeks I loose all benefits please help….xxxxxxx.

A 5. XXX, Unfortunately…with something that has been on-going for minimally the last 7 months, as you have stated below (I have missed the last 7 months of work)…..and what you are faced with is 14 day; Removal Notice, I would think after 7 months probably a Last Change Agreement. My only helpful suggestion would be an attorney or speak to someone in Labor Relations of your District Human Resources Office. This is not fixable with an email……you are about to lose your job……if you don’t do something….and I am sorry but I am not “that” something”. I think the union is your best resource. Roseanne

Q. 6. Hi Roseanne, I have emailed you several times in the past 2 years about retirement. Well, I finally retired, last day was Thurs, May 31. I stuck out one more year to get the ss supplement, as you suggested. So glad I did. I have to pinch myself to make sure it really happened!!!!!!! So happy, no stress, so glad to be out of there. It is the greatest feeling in the world….will never look back!!! Thanks to you for all your great advice. L

A 6. L, I am so pleased that you listened…….and I know that you are too financially…..Congratulations!! Roseanne

Q 7. Hi I just discovered your column. My question, is, is there an advantage to taking the 2018 VER that was offered to me over regular retirement? I am 55 year old NTFT clerk. I have 31 years of service and my MRA is 03/31/2018. I was considering retiring anyway around that date. I have not yet received my annuity estimate. I believe I will receive the supplement and I have the TSP.

A 7. Yes the VERa offer WAS “awesome”…and if a FERS employee, what you have in the TSP fund is crucial to having a great retirement. BUT IS THAT OFFER STILL AVAILABLE?? I have been doing this for YEARS and NO ONE EVER thinks they have enough in TSP, and typically that is not the case. Wait for your annuity estimate before you make any decisions on if you can or cannot afford to retire. Roseanne

R 7. I now have my retirement estimate and it shows $0 for my FERS Annuity Supplement. I’m so confused. I thought I qualified. Can you help me? I was a PTF clerk for many years and became a NTFT clerk recently. J

RA7. One reason could be if you are over 62, there would be no amount in the Special Supplement portion, but since you are not over 62, then that tells me you are not eligible based on THAT estimate…OF THE MONTH that YOU ASKED FOR. Try this….order one for 3 months later from the original date you requested and let me know what that one says. Roseanne

Q 8. Hi Roseanne, I was told to write you and ask this question….I am 56 years old and I have 24 years in the post office. Am I eligible for the Social security supplement if I retire 9/30/2018. L

A 8. Hi L, Unless you are retiring under what is called a VERa, then NO you are not eligible for the Social Security Supplment. WHY…because….You are NOT ELIGIBLE for FULL RETIREMENT. Meaning no….you would NOT be eligible for the Special Supplement. But the good news is….in 4 years you will be eligible for FULL RETIREMENT. By being 60 or older and having more than 20 credible years…you are eligible for full retirement then, and the Social Security Supplement. OK Understand YES YOU ARE ELIGIBLE TO RETIRE under the MRA+10 retirement….but that is such a loss in finances that you suffer…but yes, you are eligible….(pssst….don’t do it…). Roseanne

Q 9. Thank you for all the help you provide to everyone, it is very much appreciated!
I have a question. I am a FERS employee with 4 years till retirement. I know that for the special supplement there is a earning limit before it impacts your supplement. My question is this: I would be retiring in the middle of the year and plan to work part time somewhere after retirement. Does the amount of income earned from the post office for the first part of the year count towards that earnings limit for that first year when you retire? If so I would not want to work anymore that year or would need to retire at the end of the year. Thank you for all you do! EW

A 9. Hi EW, I am going to quote from the Social Security page…

Benefits Planner Retirement: Special Earnings Limit Rule
Some people who retired in mid-year, have already earned more than their yearly earnings limit. That is why we have a special rule that applies to earnings for one year, usually the first year of retirement.

The special rule lets us pay a full Social Security check for any whole month we consider you retired, regardless of your yearly earnings. If you will

Be under full retirement age for all of 2018, you are considered retired in any month that your earnings are $1420 or less and you did not perform substantial services in self-employment.

Reach full retirement age in 2018, you are considered retired in any month at your earnings are $3780 or less and you did not perform substantial services in self-employment.

“Substantial services in self-employment” means that you devote more than 45 hours a month to the business or between 16-45 hours to a business in a highly skilled occupation.

The example they give:
EXAMPLE: John Smith retires at age 62 on June 30, 2018. He earned $37,000 before he retired.

On October 5th, John starts his own business. He works at least 15 hours a week for the rest of the year and earns an additional $3000 after expenses. His total earning for the year of 2018 are $40,000.

Although his earnings for the year substantially exceed the 2018 annual limit ($17,040), John will receive a Social Security payment for July, August and September. This is because he was not self-employed and his earnings in those three months are $1420 or less per month, the limit for people younger than full retirement age.

John will not receive benefits for October, November or December 2018 because he worked in his business over 45 hours per month in all three months.

Beginning in 2019, the deductions are based solely on John’s annual earnings limit.

And all of that research was to say that the Special Supplement money, is treated the same way Social Security is with all of the same limitations as if were Social Security itself.

Till we speak again…….Roseanne