Good Day Postal Employees

Wishing All of My Readers…..THE BEST Thanksgiving; Christmas, and an Amazing and Prosperous New Year………and more thing ….if you have not…….VOTE……VOTE……VOTE

Q 1. Hi Roseanne, I have 31 years with Postal Service, and will be 57 in November 2018. I have a few years where I took 2 hrs a day LWOP under FMLA to care for disabled daughter. Knowing that this time probably effects my retirement eligibility, (but by how much?) I am Looking to retire next year. Thank You for your time. G

A 1. Hi G, Based upon the above information I don’t think it will have much impact on the overall calculation of your retirement. Where this becomes a “situation” is more when we “go to a less than 40 hour a week position”, and especially at the end of our careers. You would have to rack up a lot of LWOP, for it to truly make a negative impact. And it being a few years ago, that gives me even more of a reason to think that it will not be an issue in the calculation of your retirement. Roseanne

Q 2. Hi Roseanne, I can not find an answer. Hope you can help! I am getting different stories on sick leave. Do you get paid for sick leave or is it paid at 50%. Only information I can find, says it is added to your retirement to increase the annuity. If so, how does this work? Do I draw a regular check for a year (round about what my sick leave is). How am I compensated for my sick leave? Just to keep you informed, I am shooting for a retirement date of June 20, 2019. I hope you will be able to help. Thank you JC

A 2. Hi JC, There is a lot that concerns me about your entire email, and it makes it hard to answer a question, when you have the wrong concept about your retirement, or how the sick is “credited” so to speak to your overall years and months of federal service.

So first, clearing this up, unused sick leave is not “paid” out as in $$$ money. Sick leave is added to your overall years and months of credible federal service. Those years and months of federal service, and the calculation of your high 3 average salary, are the two factors that determine your monthly pension/annuity.

So for example, if you have 30 years and 2 months of “credible” service…and also have (i.e.) 1040 hours of sick leave that would equate to about 6 months. Sick leave is now valued, or a better way to say it is, sick leave is now fully “credited-calculated” at 100%; versus pre-2012 when it was only calculated at 50%….and if you go back in postal history…… it wasn’t calculated at all.

So..your sick leave is broken down on your annuity estimate, to show HOW it is actually added in to the calculation of your years and months of credible federal service. Then – OPM would have your years calculated at 30 years and 8 months. The statement “do I draw a regular check for a year (round about what my sick leave is)”. NO, as I have explained above. If there was a confusion in your question, and you meant annual leave versus sick leave then, that answer is, your “Earned” annual leave is what is paid to you on your last pay check. Now that you could look at THAT as $$$ money. You will always know which one is your last pay check, it will say on it TERMINAL LEAVE…even if you don’t have any leave left. Roseanne

Q 3. Dear Roseanne (from feb 2018), I read your monthly retirement articles and have learned so much! I cannot thank you enough!! I have a very serious and time sensitive FMLA/retirement question. I am praying I could talk with you directly as this is a very personal matter. Could you Please call me? I would be ever so grateful !! I believe you will know the answer right away! Way too terrified to ask HRSSC!

My telephone number is…XXXXXXXXXXXX. I will send you check or cash or whatever works for you to pay you for your time! I just really need a definitive answer before its too late!I really need your advice. Bless you!

October 2018… Dear Roseanne, How ever grateful we are to you! My husband’s retirement is complete! As you thought, the above concern was a non-issue. Your help and knowledge, your wisdom, guidance and reassurance were invaluable in attaining his retirement goal and regaining our sanity! Every retirement step happened just as you said! He could not be happier and neither could I! Such blessed relief! All that work stress is gone~Poof!

You being there for us in our time of scary uncertainty made such a difference to us and our lives, then and now, as we move forward! Wish you could see our happy dance! Wish you could see our happy tears! Wish we could express our deep gratitude to you in person and give you the biggest hug!

Your mission to educate and help people successfully retire, and to their best advantage, is so important and needed! We thank God for you and know what a blessing you are! We know thousands of other people do too! You are making such a wonderful difference in peoples’ lives every day!!May God richly bless you and keep you always, Roseanne, S

Q 4. Hi Roseanne, How can I tell if what was put in my divorce decree 23 years ago will protect me from my spouse getting anything after I retire?

I know he is not expecting anything but I do not know if it was worded correctly or if there was a specific form that should have been filled out and returned. I just want to make sure of how much my monthly retirement income will be with no surprises. Also he never remarried (he is now 58.)

Also I am eligible to retire the beginning of July 2019. I will be 56 with over 34 years. I planned on leaving July 2019. Does this sound like a good date? Is there anything I would be losing out on by going at that time? From what I understand I would be eligible for the Social Security Supplement unless things are changed before then. I am soooo ready!! Thank you so much for all you do. Sincerely, B

P.S. Wording of decree; “Plaintiff is hereby awarded sole and separate property, free and clear of any and all claim of the Defendant, the following: All interest in Plaintiff’s Thrift Saving Plan, through the employment with the United States Post Office; All interest in Plaintiff’s United States Postal Service Retirement.”

P.S.S. I also heard that if they’re not entitled to anything you mark “No” on whether you are divorced on the retirement papers but this doesn’t seem right. Can you clarify? I am remarried. B

A 4. Hi B, The wording above – IF that is shown on the divorce decree, it does validate that your prior spouse has no entitlement to any parts of your retirement.

To address the check mark issue, on a “federal” retirement form…come on now!!! ..If all it took was to place a check mark in the NO box, (and simply because of the X in the NO box…it meant, that the prior spouse would not get anything (even IF spelled out on a divorce decree that they would)…simply is NOT logical thinking. SO, NO….OPM is already 12 steps ahead.

I am putting your letter in my column for next month…..for those employees who checked no, on their retirement form(s)…don’t be SURPRISED, OPM has (in most cases) HAD your divorce decree, probably inside of one week after the divorce hearing. Of course the attorney for the ex-spouse of the postal employee, would have sent it to the Office of Personnel Management immediately. But you B, you are in good shape. As far as the actual retirement date, no matter if you are CSRS or FERS, it is ALWAYS best to retire as close to the end of the month as possible. Roseanne

Q 5. Hi Roseanne, Per the divorce decree my ex-wife is the beneficiary for 50%. I have since remarried. Is it possible to get my current wife any benefits in the event of my passing? Also as far as health insurance upon retirement can I still carry her? Thanks, N

A 5. Hi N, Yes….your current spouse is eligible for a “spousal annuity”. THAT annuity is paid upon your death…versus the ex-wife’s which is paid at the same time your annuity is paid. And yes, your current spouse is eligible to continue on your health benefits, provided you have “elected” her, for the spousal annuity. Should you pre-decease your current spouse, she (your current spouse) would be eligible for a “spousal annuity as well as being able to continue your FEHB, federal health benefits. Should your current spouse pre-decease you, then your annuity would be fully restored, without the spousal reduction (for the current spouse). It will still undergo the reduction for the first spouse. Roseanne

R 5. Thank you Roseanne, I had no idea that I would remarry, but I should have requested the 25%. Is it a one time lump sum payment, or recurring?

N, Don’t confuse FERS with TSP… I think that is what you are doing. I am unsure of your 25% reference. makes no sense. Roseanne

Roseanne, My reference is based on the full Survivor benefit being 50%. My thought was if it was with the partial, the ex as well as current spouse could have received 25%. I was under the impression the max amount is 50%. I know the difference between TSP and FERS. My ex received a lump sum from my TSP at the time of the divorce and is not entitled to any further afterwards. And she gets a percentage of the FERS annuity proportionate to my years of service versus the number of years we were married.

I was told at a retirement seminar that my current wife would not be entitled to any. I guess I would have to pay additional from my benefits to include my current for the spousal annuity you referred to. N

Hi N, That just absolutely is NOT TRUE. Your current spouse IS ENTITLED. I can prove it. Just look at the retirement form. Regardless if you are CSRS or FERS..the language on the retirement forms, specifically relate to the exact subject of prior spouses. SO trust me the current spouse has entitlement. DO you read my columns….or did someone tell you about me? Roseanne

Hi Roseanne, My coworkers told me about your columns. I found them to be very informative, thank you. I went online, and read thru many of them searching for something similar to my situation. N

Final Response: I don’t know who told you that incorrect information, but I would hate to see you short change your current spouse because you got bad information, profoundly bad….and I cannot imagine what else you “know or were told” that is profoundly wrong. Yes your current wife can be a spousal annuitant. I guess writing it, makes it very difficult. I would consider talking to you so that we can iron this out…..no charge….just let me tell you why you are wrong about this….and it won’t take me long….because I deal strictly on logic. Send me your phone number and a good time to call you, and I will see if I am available to at that time. I RARELY do this….jump on it…Roseanne

Readers: I called…it took me about 20 minutes. Your spouse has legal rights. It does not matter if you had a previous spouse, or what the divorce decree says….the current spouse has “rights” to your annuity as well (by being your (current )spouse)). The biggest reason to do that, is if you (the postal employee) were to pass away, you will have left your spouse a monthly annuity AND the ability to continue with your federal health benefits, and that is ONE HUGE benefit. Just the fact, there is room on the retirement form for more than one ex spouse, and combinations of “divisions” validates this.

Be safe out there my people….and VOTE!!!

Till we speak again……..Roseanne