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!!

Well we are almost over the early out “escapes”, for mail handlers and clerks, and many of “my carriers” feel that they too, should have been offered an early out as well. I understand, I do! But if you look at the “history” of the early outs in the USPS, the last one that included city carriers was in 1992 and it pretty much “forced” the USPS to rehire, (immediately), because so many carriers opted for that early retirement. That left a huge hole in the organization, that no one in HQ truly was expecting. Well that was more than 25 years ago, and carriers have not been included in an early out since……..ahhhh…what does that tell you! You don’t need a ROAD MAP!

I have pretty much “toned down” the commentaries and have gone straight to the Q&A’s because that is where you get the information you are looking for, but I wanted to give a bit of “history lesson”, for those who were not around during that time. We can mechanize, automate mail, packages all that….what we cannot automate, is the carrier who comes to every single address in this country to place THAT mail in your mailbox. OK I’m done.

Q 1. Good Morning Roseanne, I am eligible to retire in May- 56 yrs. old and have 31 years of service. If I stay additional years I believe I get 1% more a year. Is that true? If I stay till 62 Would I get 6% more a year. Thank you. MS

A 1. Hi MS, Yes that is correct…for each year you work it’s an additional 1%. So if you work 6 more years then it is 6%….7 years would be 7%. Roseanne

Response: 6 more years for 6 percent is definitely not worth it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My final Response: True on the percentage…but keep in mind, those last 6 years are going to be at a higher (high-3) average salary. Not trying to talk you in to staying, just clarifying. And as well as 6 more years of contributions to TSP & Social Security….just sayin’ Roseanne

Q 2. Hi Roseanne, great job your doing for all of us postal employees….My question is this. I have 23 years in and would like to know if there is anything else I would get besides my retirement. I am 57 and like most I am done, even being in management they beat us down too much. I know about the 5 percent for every year. But is there anything else? T

A 2. Hi T, You have a 3 part retirement. 1. FERS 2. Social Security 3. TSP. Unless you are retiring under an early out, that (Special Supplement), you will NOT get (EVER), so you would have to wait until age 62 to receive (Social Security) a portion of your retirement. The TSP you could access if you took an MRA+10 retirement, (because that is really what you would be retiring under) (based on if I have interpreted your email correctly). That 5% is the reduction for each year under age 62….so right off the bat, it’s about a 30% reduction on your FERS pension. But you CAN access your TSP, because you ARE RETIRED. I hope this answered the question you were looking for. Roseanne

Q 3. Hi Roseanne, I am a Post Office employee under FERS. I have 24 years of service. On October the 28th I will be 60. Will I be eligible to retire on November the 1st with full benefits? J

A 3. Hi J, Absolutely yes…you will receive a FERS pension, you be eligible to draw the special supplement (then at 62 SS), and you will be able to access your TSP. It’s all good….retire!! Roseanne

Q 4. Hi Roseanne, First of all, thank you for all the help and advice…you alleviated many of my worries. I only have a couple of questions. On February 9th, I picked up my final paycheck and it included pay for, all my unused annual leave. My question: Do I need to be concerned about a lapse in health insurance coverage? I read somewhere that I might receive a bill for my dental and/or vision policies until my retirement was completely finalized, but have read nothing about how health coverage is paid for. Also I have yet to receive a Form 50 in order to apply for TSP funds. Is it too early to be,expecting that? Thanks in advance for your help. I just want to make sure none of my insurances, are allowed to lapse?

A 4. NO NO NO….there is NO reason to be concerned as it relates to heath insurance or life insurance form (SF 2818) (Continuation of Life Insurance into Retirement)…it is carried over as a result of retirement processing and the forms you filled out in the “blue retirement book” (the SF 2818 was in that blue booklet). The health insurance carries over regardless….why…because it is an entity called “pre-tax”…so you would carry over your health benefits because when you retired…you HAD TO..(OR UNLESS YOU DID NOT HAVE 5 YEARS OF “PRIOR” CONTINUOUS FEHB COVERAGE PRIOR TO RETIREMENT) .. and unless it was open season and you cancelled them for the next year….so no worries there. Once you receive your SF Form 50, (Notification of Personnel Action) then you can fill out the TSP-70 and begin collecting from your TSP fund. NOTHING is going to lapse!! RELAX!! And yes today, FEB 15….it probably is too early to expect the SF Form 50….but it is COMING…so be prepared for it. One way you can check if the form 50 has been at least cut…maybe not processed yet…but cut…would be to try to go into liteblue…if you cannot access that….that means the form 50 has been cut. Roseanne

Q 5. I’m confused! This article says you can’t use sick leave to add to years of service for retirement eligibility, yet you did use sick leave to do just that in a recent article in Postal Magazine.
Which one is correct? Thanks so much! I truly enjoy your articles and appreciate your expansive knowledge of the postal system! I always share your columns in our XX STATE small rural office. Our postal workers in this state XX all enjoy your articles too!

A 5. I will just make it easy on you. It amazes me how information can be right there….but missed. What I was relating was that you cannot use sick leave to ATTAIN ELIGIBILITY (required years for eligibility). Meaning if you were age 58 & had 29 years of credible service & then had 1 year and 2 months of sick leave. You cannot use that sick to reach 30 years of credible service.

But after you reach 30 years of credible service, then that 1 year & 2 months would add to the service making your retirement calculations as 31 yrs and 2 months of service. Does that clear that up? Roseanne

Response: Yes, thank you!
My final Response: Great….I want you all to be clear…not confused, otherwise, why would I be doing this!! Roseanne

Q 6. Good evening. Just wanted to know if you have any knowledge of the “Bailey
Agreement” and if so how is this worked into retirement papers to receive credit for my tax purposes to giver to my accountant that does my taxes? Hope that makes sense. Thanks M

A 6. Hi M, And for you to ask this question, I believe you live in NC, because that is where the “Bailey Law” (from all my information) has impact. I fall under the Bailey Law….I am CSRS, and I live in NC.

I will try NOT to be an ass here……but if you have an accountant or CPA doing your taxes (again, and you live in NC), and THEY don’t know about the Bailey Law….find another accountant or CPA!! YOU shouldn’t have to tell them THEIR JOB!

I actually recommend that the first year that you retire, NOT to do the taxes yourself…..even if you have done them yourself for years. THIS IS NOT THE TIME!!

Spend the money for the professional to do the taxes that year of retirement, and the next year. The Bailey Law (in NC) allows for those federal employees with a vested date prior to…..and I can’t right now think of that exact “effective date” in 1985…w/credible service…(I fall under this), which allows an exemption so that I DO NOT pay state taxes on my CSRS pension. It would be the same if it were a FERS employee who fall under the “credible service date”. That DATE is on the Bailey Law information..and your accountant should be aware of that. Hopefully my answer wasn’t too strong….I just don’t want folks being mislead. If you pay a professional to do your taxes, YOU should be able to rely on THEM to know any and all tax “relief” as it applies to federal and state taxes. Roseanne

Q 7. HI Roseanne, I’m KP, with 30 yrs on the job. My question is, I was divorced after 22 yrs., my wife remarried at age 54. If I retire, is she entitled to half of my social security disbursement till I become 62. I am 55 now and trying to get a fix on what my options are. Also can I put my daughter as a beneficiary of my pension should I die? Any help would be much appreciated. She has worked as well.

A 7. KP, The answer lies within the divorce decree (or in some states) the Quadro….or agreement legally binding them to separation for 1 Yr prior to divorce, and what is stated on that Quadro…(typically) determines (unless contested) what the divorce decree will state. Only YOU know what is in that divorce decree. What does it say? Because I am going to tell you EVERY single divorce attorney KNOWS, that when they are dealing with a federal employee during a divorce action, they send THAT divorce decree (IMMEDIATELY) to OPM.

That is the agency that pays us once we are retired. The fact that she remarried before age 55 tells me you should LOOK INTO THAT!! Really!!

Not unless your daughter is under the age of 22 or a “disabled” child…(let me say this) (which has been…FULLY DOCUMENTED THRU THE YEARS))….then no, she is not entitled to your annuity. If not married at the time of retirement, then no one would be entitled to a “spousal annuity”…and rightfully so….you are not married. Don’t confuse your FERS retirement, with your TSP account. That fund, would be a part of your retirement that you could leave to anyone, (providing you don’t do an annuity), and that is including your daughter. You could accomplish that by filling out a TSP-3, (Beneficiary Form) found on the website tsp.gov….go to search and type in TSP 3, and the form will pop up, print it, fill it out, and send it in to TSP. That should fix this beneficiary issue as an employee as well as a retiree. Roseanne

Q 8. Hi Roseanne, I probably need to explain my situation, to see if you can help me. I’m 50 , a rural carrier that still has 7 years before retirement. However I am having some health issues and I am considering retiring early. I wanted to see you and weigh my options. Do you think you can help me? L

A 8. Hi L, Let me say this first….you are looking to apply for “disability retirement” which is a long and arduous process. I am telling you this so you are prepared for the LONG HAUL. You have to have a doctor(s) detail a narrative (in writing); and supporting medical documentation, why you cannot now, or in the near future, be able to do the job for which you were hired. Matters not what the job is, AND MATTERS NOT WHY….MEANING IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE BECAUSE OF AN INJURY ON THE JOB..It can be, but it does not have to be. Think of the person that files for a disability retirement, because they have cancer, of course, not job related. But that is the second criteria.

The first criteria, is 18 months of FERS service, and you have that. Disability retirement means JUST that – disability…so if you are “disabled” then you have no options….looking at it from that way. I can guide you, but I cannot take your case….with all the early out’s, I just can’t…but I will guide you. Call HRSSC and request a disability retirement estimate, and request the disability booklet. This is a 2 part process, and the above is the first part. It all boils down to this one fact…you MUST have a physician that WILL document your medical condition(s) (keep in mind ALL of what is wrong with you, we all have many doctors and assorted medical issues which are not treated by the same physician…so all medical issues COUNT!!) & relate (on paper) that due to those medical conditions, you cannot be a clerk/carrier/mailhandler…etc…whatever your job is. If you feel you can support your claim of disability with your physicians statement…then…Call HRSSC at 1-877-477-3273 and request the above. I know you are a FERS employee, so I want you to know that a part of the process is to apply for Social Security Disability (because it IS a part of your 3 tiered retirement plan). This is giving you what you really need…to begin this process. It takes TIME, so begin NOW!! Roseanne

Q 9. 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 a 55 year old NTFT clerk. I have 31 years of service and my MRA is 3/31/18. 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. Thank you, J.

A 9. Hi J, Yes, the VERA offer is “awesome”… and if a FERS employee, what you have in the TSP fund is crucial to having a great retirement. I have been doing this for YEARS and NO ONE thinks they have enough in TSP, and typically that is NOT the case. Wait for your annuity estimate before you make decision on if you can or cannot afford to retire. Roseanne

Till we speak again………Roseanne