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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Good Day Postal Employees!!
Happy Thanksgiving & Merry Christmas
Good Day Postal Employees…I want to wish all of you the very best of this holiday season. There are so many magical moments this time of year, take the time to share them with those who fill your life with joy!
One of the things I say when I do retirement counseling sessions, is to be aware of the yearly Open Season for Health Benefits. As a retiree you have the same rights to change your health benefits in open season, (every year) as you did when you were an employee.
THIS YEAR FEHB OPEN SEASON the dates are November 11-December 9th.
I always say that on Thanksgiving, you should be thankful for health insurance and that
Thanksgiving “trigger”, should make you always remember to check and make sure you are in the plan that best fits your medical needs. Our health changes over the years and it is a wise decision to review your medical plans to ensure the best coverage for you and your overall health.
A very important part of a successful retirement, is the first year after you retire, to review your FEHB plan. Many times the plan you have retired with, is not what you want and it cannot be changed when you retire.
The only time you can change your federal health plan is during Open Season (Nov-Dec); OR a “Qualified Life Status Change”, and retirement is NOT considered a qualifying life status change by OPM (Office of Personnel Management). So if you are looking to retire within the next 12 months, it is SUPER important to select the plan you are going to be comfortable with financially and with the medical care prior to retirement.
Imagine how difficult it is to process an employee retiring in either October, November or December and they also want to change their FEHB medical plan during open season (for the coming year)….during these months. So my best advise is to really research (and don’t just look at how much, look at coverage as well). There is not 1 BEST plan!!..it is about YOUR best plan.
The best plan fits you, not everyone else. So pick the plan you want prior to retirement so that when you retire, especially if retiring at the end of the year, the health insurance issue does not exist for you, it is already done. For those who choose to continue to stay with NALC; APWU; Rural Carrier; or Mailhandler’s FEHB plans, understand they also come with an associate member fee to keep that insurance. You will need to contact that union office for information on that. I would suggest talking with the local union office for that information before you retire.
Q 1. Hi Roseanne, I am a City Carrier and plan on retiring in May 2021. I am a veteran, I retired from the Army in 1997 after 20 years of service. I got hired in Mar. 2005 with a disability rating at 30%. I am at 50% now. My question to you is am I eligible for disability retirement? J
A 1. Hi J, I will reframe the question, Are you “eligible” to apply for disability retirement…YES. As a FERS employee, as long as you have more than 18 months of “credible” service, then yes, you are “eligible” to apply for disability retirement.
However, eligibility to file for disability retirement has NOTHING to do with being APPROVED for disability retirement.
That is a whole other case. You did not tell me your age, so I will tell you this…if you are age 60 and have MORE than 20 years of credible service NO then, you are NOT eligible to apply for disability retirement….why….because at the age of 60 with 20 or more years you can retire fully (without using a disability as the reason…the reason is you qualify TO RETIRE)… OR at age 62 with 5 years of credible service.
Follow up: Age was 60 with 14 years of “credible service”. The answer was yes, that employee was eligible to “apply” for disability retirement. Again, it is a long process that has to be “approved” by a panel of physicians at OPM.
Q 2. Hi Roseanne, I am a divorced postal employee. My ex husband just passed away. In our divorce agreement he was to receive 25 percent of my retirement. OPM already has this indicated in their records (I checked last year). My intention was to file for retirement in 2020. I assume that since my ex spouse has passed, no money would go to him, and should not be deducted from my retirement funds. How should I proceed with informing OPM of this event? Thank you R
A 2. Hi R, When retiring, the retirement paperwork will ask if you have a “living former spouse, to whom the court….”, your answer will be no. And to be completely explicit, I would send a “Certified Copy of the Death Certificate” to OPM now, and include a “certified” copy of the death certificate with your retirement paperwork when you file for retirement. Roseanne
Q 3. Hi Roseanne!
Wanted to give you a update on my retirement status. Things went smoothly! I retired July 31, 2019. Received my first pension ck Sept. 3rd. (direct deposit). Sept. 13th, I received my supplemental, via direct deposit. My retirement was complete on the Sept. 16th. Got my blue and white booklet shortly after. October 1, received my check which had both the supplemental and pension.
Just so you know, your net pension figure was – $4 different from what my net figures actually are….(how do you do THAT?!) !!!, $43 difference for supplemental pay, but thats the figure that was on my annuity statement so that’s on them.
As you probably noticed, it was faster than your famous timeline. Thank you so much for your help and meeting with me. I relayed this to my former coworkers, who were amazed. I explained to them as you explained to me….it’s just me…I cannot do every retirement that is requested of me..I just cannot”. I can guarantee you will have more customers even if you can’t do them all. MS
A 3. So glad it all turned out the way it was designed to. Roseanne
Q 4. Good Day young lady, I was re reading your article on Medicare and how you barely made the deadline for enrolling. The item that really caught my attention was you stated that after one is eligible for Medicare enrollment, the FEHB premium doesn’t pay as much in coverage. My question is, does the premium reduce for the FEHB once enrolled in Medicare? Thanks for coming back to Postalmag. You make a difference in a lot of lives. G-Man.
A 4. Hi G-Man, You really GOT to qualify your words when talking about Medicare. Because Medicare has parts to it, and not all work the same. Medicare Part A is free when we turn 65 and are not working. Each part of Medicare works and costs differently. What you are referring to when you say that the FEHB premium doesn’t pay as much in coverage…well….the premium is not the issue, the issue is WHICH IS THE PRIMARY INSURANCE …for that “medical occurrence”. In this case, at age 65, and in the hospital Medicare Part A is the FIRST PAYER…or the PRIMARY payer. The balance of what Medicare Part A does NOT pay, is the responsibility of the individual or your insurance company if you have insurance. Everyone doesn’t have health insurance, and so what ever Medicare Part A did not pay towards the hospital bill, it would be the patients responsibility, to cover the balance. No the FEHB premium does not go down, if you sign up for Medicare Part B (again because Medicare Part A is free), and Medicare Part B does cost, if you choose to sign up.
Q 5. Dear Roseanne, Does my 5 years active duty military time count towards my 30 years needed time for the Social Security Supplement? Don’t know if you need this information, but I was in the military from 1986-1991. Was hired as a full time regular August 1997. Was a casual for 20 months. Thank you for all the information you provide to postal employees. S
A 5. Hi S, No. Even active military time (even WHEN bought back) will NOT be calculated in the Special Supplement. The Special Supplement will be strictly “career postal” years. Therefore the casual time will not count as ”career service”, or in the calculation of the Special Supplement. BUT ALL of your earnings count individually in the overall Social Security computer. It’s just if you retired with 30 years and you bought back 5 years. You pension calculations would be on those 30 years, from OPM. But OPM will be counting 25…for the Special Supplement…..for lack of a better way to explain it. Roseanne
Q 6. Hi Roseanne, I just discovered the website and your articles and hope you can enlighten me on a particular question. If I want to retire at the end of October 2020, with a maximum of 440 annual leave, would I receive I extra payment for Veterans Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays? Seems I’ve read in postal group statements to this question that I will but don’t understand why since I would not longer be in a pay status to qualifying for these holidays. Thank you for your time!
A 6. Hi, Well the first thing that identifies you is, is that you are a craft employee (max 440). Also keep in mind when talking about EAS or PCES…versus craft employee’s there are differences. This is where everyone forgets….one answer JUST DON’T FIT everyone!! But the answer is very logical…..if you were to USE those 440 hours prior to retirement, you would have been “paid” for those holidays….it’s as simple as that. Roseanne
Q 7. Hi Roseanne, I want to settle a debate once and for all.
As a craft FERS employee, I say: “We only get our annual payout for actual EARNED annual and max payout is 440. Any time over the 440 that is also earned will be lost when retire unless they use while still working.
In addition: IF we have our 440 already and retire before the year is out…say end of September (have 440 earned already) we will get paid for all holidays from October till the end of the year.
Please help me explain to someone exactly how this payout is factored. They think that if someone has 500 earned hours, thy think they will get paid the 500 as a lump sum payout when retire. I know this is not true but can’t find it in writing to that effect that will explain it. I have directed then to the ELM for reference but they are not getting why some employees are getting more than the 440 earned. I tried to explain the holiday thing but they still don’t see that part in the ELM or in writing. Thanks! M
A 7. Hi M…first…I’m dyin…because of the passion I hear in the question…and I never get anyone with a passionate question and not CARING about being “right” just knowing what IS RIGHT. OK I get it…and I’ve gotten that for years. I want you to keep in mind that there many times there is not one “right” answer. For example, your “qualifier“…the word…craft. So right there that lets me know that you may have some “knowledge” that craft and EAS, and even PCES have some “different” benefits in retirement, or let’s say rates of things in retirement.
Correct that you can only get “paid” in a lump sum for 440 hours as a craft employee.
INCORRECT on 440 on some employees. EAS employees, if it is still the way it was when I retired….carried over and was paid for 520 hours.
The issue of holiday pay will always be a different answer, depending on which date an employee retires and what holidays would have fallen in those “440” of leave, in which they retired.
Another way to look at this could be…IF that employee were to have “used” those 440 hours of annual leave, they would have been paid holiday pay during the usage of those 440 hours. So that is why they get paid for the holidays that are WITHIN those (craft) 440 hours. When you look at it that way, it does make sense. If you are on vacation for 2 weeks during the 4th of July, it will only cost you 72 hours of annual because of 8 for the holiday. The same theory applies. Your last pay check should include all EARNED & annual leave. As an example, if you retired at the end of June…CLEARLY you only 104 hours of annual leave…even though your paycheck will show it being advanced. When you look on your annuity estimate, it has already reduced the leave that you DID NOT EARN. Your sick leave is rounded up and applied to the overall years and months of federal service, which is what your pension is calculated on. I hope this has helped shed some light on this. Roseanne
Q 8. Roseanne, thanks for all you do. I am a city carrier, presently with a total of 37+ years. I will turn 60 in a month. Thought about going to 62, I am physically getting tired and don’t really want to do two more summers in the Florida heat. I’m considering retiring at the end of January or February. By leaving before 62 I would be giving up almost 2 years of TSP contributions and a 10% bump in my pension, correct? Anything else? I would be receiving the supplement for almost 2 years which is considerable.($1375 according to estimate I received…Thanks!
A 8. Hi, Well in the email…all that you say is fiscally true. But is that “bump” as you call it..worth your health for 2 years….NO seriously…is it? You are right with 37 years at 1% is very different than 39 years with 1.1% …again…but is it worth it?
The bigger question is how much is in the TSP fund? With 37 years; the Special Supplement for 2 years. Then 2 years later Social Security replaces that 1375. (…and I would just guesstimate that if that is the amount of your Special Supplement, your Social Security check is going to be around 1675 per month). Your TSP $ will be the deciding factor. LOOK…I do an enormous amounts of retirements……don’t… don’t hold out for the bigger dollar…don’t…retire!! Tomorrow is not promised to anyone…don’t you THINK that 37 years is ENOUGH…come on….do yourself right!! Roseanne