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!!

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of you, a very wonderful holiday season….Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy New Year.

Well Postal Employees after the conversations, emails and a variety of healthy and vigorous discussions about the Special Supplement ….GUESS WHAT!!…..they are NOW putting that Special Supplement monthly payment amount on the NARCES Retirement FERS Annuity Estimate.

So we can end the discussion of how much your supplement will be, because it is listed on the actual estimate now. If you have not ordered one in the last 3 months, I would suggest you re-order, and your reason is….because the estimate you received is not the “most accurate”, and you need as much accuracy as you can get when dealing with the subject of retirement.

This is a very positive move that the OPM has included in this NARCES estimate. You will now have so much more of a “clearer financial understanding” about those 2 parts (FERS & Special Supplement) of your 3 part FERS retirement finally available.

Keep in mind, that if the monthly payment (Special Supplement), lasts until age 61 and 11 months…precisely…then the month that you turn 62, that Special Supplement will immediately stop. So therefore, it is in your best interest, when you reach about 61 and 6 or 7 months, to apply for Social Security, so that you will have your SS check, right after the Special Supplement ends. This is something, YOU the retiree, must initiate.

Q 1. Hey Roseanne, this is SP again. I would like to know how will I find out how much will make a month as postal retirement except the tsp and supplemental. I looked up light blue as annuity shows like for example $1400 so will I make less because of tax? Thanks, SP

A 1. You will have a “gross” figure like any wage or pension, and from that “gross” figure, it is reduced by federal tax, life insurance (s), the health insurances that you carry into retirement with you. Roseanne

Q 2. Hi Roseanne. Thank you so much for taking the time to help us all out with retirement questions. We have a woman in our office who started January 20, 1998. She is over 60 years old. Can she retire on January 20, 2018 or does she have to work through the year until January 20, 2019. There is confusion do to the 5 week 15 year annual leave status. It is not 15 years from the starting date of an employee’s career to get to the 5 weeks of annual leave. It is 15 working years, so it would technically be at the start of the other year of employment. Again, THANK YOU for helping us out answering questions. Regards, P

A 2. HI P, Well over 60 years old could mean 60 or 61, and with 15 years, and if you mean that, then she is not eligible for regular optional retirement. At age 60 or 61, you must have worked a full 20 credible years. But if she is over 62, that would mean, she is eligible to retire with 15 years. And so I wonder if your question is more about using annual leave to “achieve” time to meet “credible service” years. Bottom line you cannot use sick leave or annual leave to “achieve” a full 20 years or a full 30 years….those sick leave “years” are only counted AFTER you meet the qualification of MRA & 30+ years, Age 60 w/20+ years; or 62 with 5+years. I hope that was the information you were looking for. Roseanne

Q 3. Roseanne, You told me that it’s best to retire at the end of the month due to financial reasons….If my 30 year anniversary date is May 7, 2018, could I take 2-3 weeks A/L till the end of the month? That A/L is considered days of service?? I think it is but wanted to make sure!!

A 3. Yes…because to USE your “annual leave”…you still must be active (on the rolls)….(correct….yes that’s correct); and if you USE the leave until the end of the month, it still accomplishes the same thing…still on the USPS rolls until the end of the month. Roseanne

Response 3. yipeeeee!!!! Thanks, since i will be carrying over 440 and will have an additional 90 hours to take for 2018.

Q 4. Hi Roseanne, Did I miss something, or did they actually do away with the SS Special Supplement? I also heard a rumor that they were starting to payout sick leave balance like annual leave. Is there any truth to that rumor? I have 3 years, 7 months and 26 days to go. Not that I am counting. Thanks, for all you do. D

Response Q 4. Hi D, I hope that there was nothing in the column…other than the readers’ opinion or question that lead you to ask that question. As it stands TODAY, the Special Supplement is still a part of your FERS retirement plan. All of the rumors…to me are rumors…keep this in mind…this retirement plan that you/we have…is NOT just postal, it’s federal…and to change US, would mean an incredible overhaul of the OPM computers systems….I mean to change the ENTIRE FERS retirement plan…..for EVERY SINGLE FEDERAL EMPLOYEE……don’t you feel just a little bit better….just relax, but always be on guard. Roseann

Reader Response: Hi Roseanne, But I put in for early retirement on August 31, 2017. Paper work not done by human resources, so I am not getting paid. How do I get my SS Supplement. Human Resources said I do nothing. Is this true. Will I make it in time before the supplement is abolished for 2018. What do I do to get my supplement, I am confused. This is what made me ask. I did hear about paying us for sick leave from an “Area” person, usually happens a few months later. Even if they do away with the supplement and start paying cash for sick leave, I will do just fine. By the way, I am a loyal follower of your articles, always are good information. Thank you for your quick reply and have a long and healthy retirement. D

Final Response: Hi D, IF you put in for retirement effective Sept 1 as being an annuitant, you should have by now gotten some things from the postal service and perhaps OPM (based on the date of your email to me). So not getting paid yet from OPM….is normal.

BUT NOT getting anything in the mail – is NOT normal. Even if HRSSC had processed the SF Form 50 for “Retirement, you would not get a check in your bank, from OPM yet. If you had “earned annual leave” THAT pay check, that maybe you think you did not get, is really at your old work location; or pay office where you worked as a postal employee. If that is the case, give your old supervisor a call and find out if you last pay check or your annual leave paycheck is at the work location. Let me ask you…are you a carrier?…. because if you are, you are probably NOT opening your mail….maybe because you think it’s not important. Go back and open all your mail, especially the ones that look like junk mail….I’ll just bet you have tossed the most important pieces of mail from OPM, because they don’t look important. OPEN EVEN THE presort!! Check your mail, and get back with me, and let me know that you have literally received NOTHING from the USPS and NOTHING from OPM. If you don’t email me back, I will assume you found the mail you have not opened. Roseanne

NO RESPONSE BACK

Q 5. Hi Roseanne, and thank you for all you do to keep us informed and in the know regarding federal employment and the USPS. My question today is, I have been anxiously awaiting to hear about my VSIP with the USPS, to date, I believe the maximum amount has been settled to increase up to 40,000 for agencies….but of course I worry that the FERS Supplement is to be taken away in the near future. I am 61 years old and would like to retire but without an early out or the FERS Supplement, I would have a hard time financially. But really could use an incentive to help me thru the first few months of retirement. Any info, updates, news, or advise would be appreciated. Thank …you S.

A 5. Hi S, I truly try to keep up with all of this for all of you. I always think there can be an early out on the horizon…depending on Congressional changes…Board of Governor’s. Be proactive politically, even in just surveys….it could mean a lot. Just keep in mind that to change the Special Supplement portion of the FERS retirement, would not just affect postal employees, but all federal employees. I don’t see how they can “cherry-pick” what federal employees will not get the Special Supplement, or completely overhaul the OPM computer system…but there has been a lot going on politically that it’s a real crap shoot anymore, just to given an opinion, is difficult. But AGAIN, we are talking about FERS…it’s a 3 tier retirement “system” and part of that system incorporates the Special Supplement. If that is gone, then a part if the foundation for this retirement system is gone. I find it difficult to see how that could work….so…I am hopeful Roseanne

Q 6. Hi Roseanne, We thank you again for all your help recently. I have two questions: 1: Would there be any notice (or warning) if our retirements were to be based on high five rather than high three? In other words, would there be time to retire based on high 3, knowing that high 5 was going to be the new norm? 2: Hopefully the USPS will be around for hundreds more years, but if not, what would happen with our retirements? I thank you for your input. MC

A 6. Hi MC, (1) Yes there would have to be a tremendous outpouring of information. This is something so different, and changes the foundation of the retirement system, and a change that affects so many federal employees, not just postal, employees. So the messaging would need to be minimally a letter to each federal employee. But a change like that….OH…YOU WILL HEAR ABOUT IT!!!! (2) Our retirements are already PAID for. Meaning that the monies for our retirement are already “financed” in with OPM, by virtue of the employee’s contribution and the employer’s contribution. Roseanne

Q 7. Good afternoon, I was given your name as a possible resource for help with an annuity question. I was hired in 1986 as a career employee and resigned in 1991. At that time the USPS paid out my TSP and I rolled into an IRA. I returned to the USPS in 1996. In reviewing my annuity calculations, there is a difference in money based on the past pay out. That being said, based upon the information below from the HRSSC website, I have the option to redeposit that payout and have my annuity date recalculated. Do you have any idea how I would go about that?

“Question 16. What impact will a previous withdrawal of my retirement contributions have on my retirement annuity? (Updated 05/09/2012) Answer CSRS/CSRS Offset Covered Employees: If you are a CSRS employee and you previously worked for the Postal Service or another federal agency where retirement deductions were withheld from your pay and later refunded to you, you can apply to make a redeposit of those funds for that period of service. CSRS covered employees whose refunded service ended before March 1, 1991, will receive retirement eligibility and annuity computation credit for the length of the refunded service. However, unless the redeposit is paid in full, plus interest, your annuity will be actuarially reduced, based on your age and the amount of redeposit. If the refunded service ended on or after March 1, 1991, you will receive credit for eligibility but you must pay the redeposit in full, plus interest, to receive credit for the service in the annuity computation. [Note that the March 1, 1991, date applies to non-disability annuitants whose separation from service occurs on or after October 28, 2009; otherwise, the refunded service must have occurred prior to October 1, 1990]. FERS Covered Employees with a Frozen CSRS Component: The portion of your annuity based on a benefit that you have accrued and retain under CSRS frozen service is subject to the creditability rules and calculations as mentioned above for CSRS/CSRS Offset covered employees. For the portion of your annuity based on a benefit that you accrued under FERS, please see the next paragraph. FERS Covered Employees without a Frozen CSRS Component: The 2009 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) changed the rule that FERS participants who took refunds of their retirement contributions irrevocably lost service credit for the period covered by the refund. Now, if you had a prior period of service covered by FERS and withdrew your FERS retirement contributions, you have the opportunity to make a redeposit of the amount refunded, plus interest, and receive credit for the refunded period of service under FERS. Retirement regulations have been announced that give you credit for determining your eligibility to retire even if you do not make a redeposit. However, if the redeposit is not paid in full, plus interest, no credit is allowed for calculating your annuity.’

Any help is appreciated. Thanks in advance,

A 7. In a review of your question – If you are aware of the option of the redeposit (and I am going to assume you are..because YOU SAY, that YOU ARE ELIGIBLE to make “said” redeposit). I would also have to assume that you got THAT information of your “ability” to make a redeposit from HRSSC. KEEP IN MIND I AM NOT AGREEING OR DISAGREEING…JUST VERIFYING..YOU HAVE BEEN TOLD THIS BASED ON YOUR FEDERAL EMPLOYMENT HISTORY, IN ORDER TO KEEP THE ANSWER CORRECT AS POSSIBLE.

That being said, I see question 16, however, I don’t see questions 1-15. So that makes me wonder “where” did you get this question, out of what booklet? Because this looks to me like a simple “cut and paste”. And if it is…then you really are just “quoting” information, from where I don’t know…..with out the actual knowledge OR the AFFIRMATION from HRSSC THAT YOU ARE ELIGIBLE TO DO THIS. So why did I go through all of that? Because – although the rule may be “correct”, – YOU, may not be not eligible to do it. It is YOUR federal work history that gives this “any life at all”, meaning if you are eligible to do a redeposit.

You say that USPS paid out your TSP, that is not true. USPS has no control over your TSP, only you do, so that is incorrect information.

IF anything like that happened, YOU requested from TSP to roll that money (in the TSP fund) over to another 401K, the USPS had NOTHING to do with that, YOU are the only one that can initiate that, and if so, probably with a stiff penalty.

Additionally, perhaps you are talking about the 1986-1991 FERS retirement contributions. That as well, was something YOU had to initiate with the proper federal refund forms with OPM. And perhaps that is the money you converted to a 401K. So there is a confusion or a conflict in my mind as to the two different set of monies….and somehow, if or why you see them as the same….as they are not, and maybe you are only referring to one versus the two.

As a HQ employee, I would suggest that you call HRSSC to ensure what YOU think about what time you can pay as a redeposit, because it’s your federal history that would allow this…again, time frames. No matter what I say, nothing can be done without HRSSC being involved in the process. So you really got to call them and begin the process of paying back (if it was a refund of your FERS Retirement Contributions)…they will begin the process for you. I hope this has helped get you on the right track. Roseanne

AS ever……BE SAFE DURING OUR BUSIEST TIME OF THE YEAR…

Next Column January 2018

TILL WE SPEAK AGAIN…………….Roseanne

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