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!

LET ME BEGIN by saying the last column, Mar/April had an error in the opening statement in that, the last early out for carriers was 1992…and it wasn’t…..there was one after that. And it wasn’t that I didn’t know…actually…it’s when I retired as well and did retirement seminars for that “carrier early out”. Although that was in my head when I was writing, it didn’t go down on paper, and for that I apologize. You all get enough BAD and BS information, that this is one place that I want it to be right……

SECOND: PLEASE TAKE TIME TO READ THIS: OPM has made some changes to the Special Supplement as it relates to divorce decree’s posted in NARFE’s April edition.
I am sure every case is different, and it seems this was done “on the fly” and has caused much anger & debate over this change, I would encourage ALL OF YOU TO READ THIS, especially if you are a FERS employee, and have been divorced while a postal employee.

Q1. Dear Roseanne, First I’d like to thank you for all the help and info you provide!! I’ve gone back and read ALL your blogs, and they are a great help! I have one question.. USPS says on their 586.1 site that night shift differential is NOT included in annuity calculations…while OPM says on THEIR site that it is for wage grade employees.. So my question: As a FERS employee, (60y/o, with 26 years service), will I get my 26 years of working night shift and receiving differential pay included in my annuity calculation, or not? It makes a HUGE difference in the amount!! Thanks!! Sincerely!! PD

A 1. Hi PD, No…..and it is because the retirement is calculated according to your high 3 average (FORM 50) salary. Night differential, Sunday Premium, nor overtime is included in that calculation. So before we “discuss” “wage grade employees”…..do you know what that means? Because OPM’s rules are not just for postal employees, that have levels, and steps for craft and a different pay scale for different levels of management versus other federal employees that the wage grade would apply as they are (i.e.) GS (grades).

What increase with OT, Night D and Sunday P, is the amount of money you earn by increasing your overall gross pay, and that will vastly increase what your Social Security amount is going to be. So in the scheme of things, in a way it does count, just not on the FERS annuity. In doing retirements, I can tell which employee’s were on the desired OT list versus same level/step employee that did not, just by looking at the amounts they will get in their Social Security checks. Roseanne

Q 2. Hi Roseanne, I enjoy your Q&A but need to clarify a question – if a worker stays six additional years til age 62. You told them that yes one percent a year which in this case is 6 percent. But if this worker stays to 62 they would receive 1.1 percent times 37 years of service which is 40.7 percent. This is almost 10 percent more , higher top three, more tsp and able to collect SS. Thanks P

A 2. HI P, Absolutely true…but sometimes just answering the question is what they wanted for information immediately to make a decision now. I wait for a back up response… so that I can introduce the 1.1% calculation. Sometimes giving too much of the technical reasoning of the change in percentage from 1% to 1.1% is so overwhelming, I have to present it…in stages. Why try to confuse an already confused audience. As an example…..that answer would be wrong about the 1.1% if the employee stayed until age 62…but yet only had 16 years…..(that 1.1 only works if you have more than 20 years, if they had less than 20 years it still would be only 1%) that is why I did not include that in the answer. It would confuse folks, because they would NOT see the fact that he had 37 years….BUT FOCUS solely on the age 62 the calculation increases to 1.1%. Because there are so many different scenarios in each employee’s case that would change the answer….truly. That employee who send the question in, may have had 10 years as an RCA, (non-career) which didn’t count….and to throw that into the answer and the equation of the real question, would confuse even the most HR savvy. In most cases I have to go baby steps, because the confusion level is so high.. however, in your case…you’re on it!! Roseanne

Q 3. Hi Roseanne, I have 31 years of service and am 57 years old. I was wanting to retire at 591/2 – my questions “will I still be eligible for the SS Supplement until I turn 62?”. And “will I be able to draw from TSP, SS Supplement, and postal retirement at the same time?….AND will my SS increase at age 62.? Thanks for all of your help….Texas

A 4. Hi Texas, IN a word…yes to all of your questions. If you are at least at your MRA and 57 is THERE!!…and you have over 30 years…then yes you are eligible for the Special Supplement until age 61/11months….(in which it will stop); at age age 61 1/2 you should have gone to the SS office and applied for your SS to begin at age 62, so this is a seamless transition in money, and also so that you continue to get 3 separate resources of your retirement. Just as an FYI….if you are 57, and you do have over 30 years you can fully retire NOW and receive all 3 portions of your retirement…yes even TSP at 57.

This should be a smooth transition from the Special Supplement payment (which is paid by OPM NOT SS) to receiving your Social Security monthly payment (provided you follow the above paragraph).

Social Security is 1 part of your 3 part retirement…FERS; SS; TSP. BUT don’t think that your SS in going to INCREASE, it will in fact….BEGIN!!! The amount of that monthly payment will be the same as it shows on your Social Security Statement, at age 62. You are confusing Special Supplement with Social Security, they are two different “sources” of money. Social Security checks are paid by Social Security, Special Supplement checks are paid by OPM. And yes, Social Security is more money than the Special Supplement payment. But NOT because ITS increasing, THAT PAYMENT “the Special Supplement” is ENDING and then your Social Security begins (or should…if you filed for it), it’s not automatic because you have the choice to delay it. It’s two different sets of money, paid by two different federal agencies. Your Special Supplement was paid in the same account as your FERS pension payment, and paid to you by the same agency, OPM. When you reach 61 and 11 months, that Special Supplement WILL STOP regardless if you apply for the Social Security payment. Social Security pays Social Security checks. Roseanne

Q 5. Hi Rosanne, I have a question on my retirement. Question is I am 55 years old I have 21 years of service with the Postal Service. When would I be able to retire? I have the fers program. TZ

A 5. HI TZ, When you reach your MRA….and that depends on your birthdate, typically between 56 or 57….I suspect it is 56 in your case. That being said, for FULL retirement benefits you still MUST have AT LEAST 30 years AT your MRA (yours being age 56).

The next opportunity for FULL retirement is when you turn 60 and have 20 or more years, and you will, then that too is FULL retirement. Anything other than those dates, the retirement is an “MRA+10” and that retirement is NOT FULL retirement. And under the MRA+10 type of retirement, you will be reduced 5% for each year that you are under age 62, (that is 30% of your gross annuity before any deductions) and on top of that, you will not be eligible for the Special Supplement. That is why it, (MRA+10) is not FULL retirement, because of all of the reductions. Roseanne

Q 6. Hey Roseanne, Hope you are doing well!! Thank you again for helping me with this retirement process!! Everything has played out exactly like you stated it would and according to the sheet you gave me…amazing…!! I did want to let you know the outcome, (reference) my outstanding TSP loan. I did Not have to repay those funds prior to making a single payment withdrawal after retirement. Of course I will have to count loan amount as income in this tax year. When we talked you said you weren’t sure (based on (my) the selected date(s) of retirement)), and I told you I’d let you know how that turned out:) I had one question for you concerning my Request for full Withdrawal? TSP -70 section II. Married FERS – on the form you did in pencil there isn’t anything written here and I just wanted to make sure I needed to leave it blank? I’m sure you told us about this but neither one of us could remember this part🤔 I have already completed a separate form TSP-77 for a partial withdrawal and it has been completed. Thank you your help in my retirement!!! D.

A 6. Hi D, Thank you for getting back with me on that loan issue. This is what helps readers and eventually clients like yourself make the “good” decisions when you retire. On the TSP-70…in order for you to NOT HAVE to PURCHASE an annuity…the spouse has to “sign-off” so to speak…giving up “their” portion of that part of your retirement. And the why of that, was by getting the monthly payment versus purchasing an annuity, should you and subsequently your spouse passing away…..no matter when…..the annuity company keeps what is ever left in that fund. With the monthly payment process….it goes to the beneficiary you have on your TSP-3 Beneficiary Form. I hope that has refreshed your memory about that issue. Congratulations and have a most wonderful retirement. It was a pleasure working with you….Roseanne

Q 7. Hi Roseanne, I am a current postal worker with 22 years of service. I am 57 will be 58 years in August 2018. I am currently on OWCP (Workers Comp) for unilateral carpal tunnel syndrome. I had surgery on one side about 2 years ago, waiting for the left side.

I was only allowed 2 days a month for this condition under Workmans Comp.
I have a lot of other disorders that surely enough to retire on durability retirement. Would like your expertise in council. Hope you and your family be blessed and highly favored. Look forward to speaking with. EB

A 7. Hi EB, In a review of what you have written, I would suggest that you look into applying for Disability retirement with the postal service. I am assuming that you are a FERS employee. As a FERS employee you have a 3 part retirement system. FERS, Social Security, TSP.

FERS Disability is a two part process and it begins with calling HRSSC at 1-877-477-3273. The first part is very important in gathering all medical documentation (of all and any illness/injury) that you have. You will need to gather ALL medical information/documentation, regardless if ANY of your medical issues are due to an on-the-job injury. Let me say it this way…you don’t have to have been hurt/injured at work to apply for FERS Disability Retirement.

Additionally, (which you will be told by HRSSC) that along with filing for disability retirement with the postal service (FERS) (which eventually is going to be sent to OPM for approval), you will also have to file for SSDI (Social Security Disability Ins.); because it (SS) too is a part of your retirement, and too has to be approved.

I hope this has put you on the right track to begin this process. It takes time, and just the fact that you are on OWCP, and no doubt being paid….this is the time to start….versus…burning all your sick and annual leave and waiting for an approval without having any pay. Begin right away!! It is a very long process. Roseanne

Q 8. Hi Roseanne , I am a retired 60 year old csrs/offset who got bored sitting around the house. I found a part time job that pays about 30,000 a year. Is it true when I turn 62 in two years I MUST take social security on the day I turn 62. I really do enjoy working this job but if I must return one out of every two dollars over the 17,500 I make is it really worth it. Thank you for any help YL

A 8. Hi YL, Regardless if you “take” your Social Security at age 62, your CSRS/Offset pension will change (decrease) dramatically when you turn 62.

“The Offset (reduction) will begin at age 62, or at earliest entitlement to Social Security, even if the retiree chooses not to apply for Social Security benefits at a later date.”

“The CSRS annuity will be reduced based upon entitlement to Social Security, even if actual payments have been reduced to zero by the Social Security Earnings Limitation.”
So…..
That IS going to happen. Keep in mind that YOU have to apply for the Social Security Benefit, so if you don’t apply….they are not going to just send it to you because you DO have a choice of delaying it. So….no, you don’t have to take it, because now you KNOW you are NOT going to apply for it.

Again, not an easy question with being an CSRS/offset retiree, (which generally means to me, you were a rural carrier), receiving a CSRS FULL pension (because not yet 62); , and…. working another job! …..Your CSRS pension IS going to CHANGE…by how much? If I had to suggest what I thought that your CSRS/Offset pension would be reduced by, in dollar figures, I would tell you to look at your Social Security statement, see what is says the amount of your payment is at 62, and reduce the OPM check with that figure and you are in the ball park….and very close to the “omgshe’srightometer”. Roseanne

Q 9. Hi Roseanne! I’d like to thank for helping me through this confusing time. My question is about the Special Supplement. I worked for for USPS as a career employee from 1994 to 2002 for 8 years 8 months. I left in Oct. 2002 then got back in as a career employee July 10, 2004 and retired Dec. 1, 2017. I made a redeposit to get back the previous years. I was 60 in Jan. 2017 and had 22 years at the time of retirement. But, then I find out that I will not get the special supplement. Is it because I had that break in service and took a refund? They tell me they are considering me at 60 with 10+ and not 60 with 20 years. I hope you can help with this one. Just wonder if they’re right on this one. Thank you!

A 9. That is such a complex question…that in reality…only someone who understands rules and regulations…not just postal, but federal, could really sort that out. If this were a case in my district (when each district had an HR office) and I had to “figure out”…all of this ….I would do an RTR report. (Retirement, Thrift & RIF).

That RTR system was designed to “FIGURE OUT” how all of the different levels of federal service added (or not) to credible service, which is used to calculate your retirement. That would include military time, bought back (or not); which retirement system you REALLY should be in, what your REAL RCD and ACD are, and can they be different….yes, and why…

So after you just read that…it is CLEAR to you, that I am (or was) an HR person. That is what I suggest you do. Call your congressman if has been too long. In the meantime if you are still on the rolls…..hurry up and get to your eOPF on liteblue, and see where an RTR has been done on you since you have been rehired. Print it out. And more importantly was one done AFTER you made the re-deposit.. I can’t really say yes or no about the special supplement, too much relies on that actual RCD date. To say anything would be just an educated guess..and in this case, I won’t. I’ll wait for YOU to email ME and tell me how it turned out. The one thing that is for sure….regardless what the post office says (right or wrong)…it’s what OPM determines…is the final outcome. If you ordered an annuity estimate AFTER Nov 2017, it has the Special Supplement amount at the bottom. That is deemed to be correct, if that helps at all. Roseanne

Response: Roseanne I am entitled to the Special Retirement Supplement. I ended up going through my Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin’s office. Dealing with OPM by myself, they said it would take another 6-9 months! Going through the Congresswoman’s office it took shy of just one month. All is well in my world….thank you.

Till We Speak again……..Roseanne