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Postal Retirement Information
Information on this page is provided by Roseanne Jefferson. 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
Postal Retirement Q&A April 2011

Good Day Postal Employees!! Well it has been a rock 'n' roll month, hasn't it!! We got districts being eliminated; remaining districts having jobs slashed; and employees with 20+ years wondering will they have a job. Or will retirement ever be as rewarding as they once thought. The organization is offering another VERA, and ONLY to EAS in the affected district offices, (perhaps by the time this column goes to print, that will change), but for now, it has been officially reported that the following districts are being eliminated Albuquerque, NM; Columbus, OH; SE Michigan; Northern IL; SE New England; South Georgia, and Big Sky, MT. District offices that have remained, are losing anywhere between 15-20% of their staffing.

For those who are offered a VERA and when you look at the FERS retirement plan, it really is as good as YOU, yes YOU!! MADE IT...PERIOD!! By NOT always contributing the maximum to the TSP funds (which, by the way is the biggest component of the FERS retirement plan) has lead our employees into a serious dilemma when offered this early out. Aside from the obvious history of not getting matching TSP funds, (1% agency contribution) (even if you don't) you let the organization off the hook to not contribute anymore than that 1% to your retirement fund. OK SO HOW AM I SO SURE......FERS employees after they look at their monthly annuity, special supplement; and TSP, typically they simply cannot afford to retire. I have been doing this quite a while....this should be a wake up call for you...get on the stick with TSP. ARE YOU KIDDING ME...IT'S FREE MONEY.......OR DO YOU THINK YOU WILL NEVER GET TO BE MY AGE !

With CSRS employees, 7% was automatically deducted from their paycheck, no choice, 7%, whether could afford it or not, and therefore the postal service always had to contribute 7%. It's the CSRS employees are the only ones really in a financial position to retire. But everyone knows that, it's no secret CSRS are the heavy hitters as far as pay and benefits are concerned, and the postal service, no different than any other federal agency, would love to have the CSRS employees retire, they are a very, very expensive employee versus the FERS employee.

I have AGAIN responded to all emails this month for assistance. I'm always surprised at the incredible misconceptions that our employees have about their retirement plan. Particularly in the last years of their employment, they are so sure of their retirement benefits, and are so surely wrong. I have had the pleasure of being retained by the the APWU to do four retirement seminars; 2 for CSRS and 2 for FERS. I have done one of each so far, my group sessions take about 2 hours depending on the size of the audience. It has always amazed me how our organization is OK with the understanding that employees are afraid to retire, because they don't trust the newly HRSSC to get their retirement correct. Many in these classes I have conducted have said the lack of information given during an on-the-phone seminar is lacking real substance as it relates to the individual employee. Many have stated it sounds scripted and is overly generic when you call and ask questions. TRUE, TRUE and TRUE.

There are many reasons why this is an impossible task for the HRSSC to be personal with the employee, but that does not help the retiring employee have a sense of confidence when retiring. I completed a retirement one day this month with an employee who had the HRSSC counseling that same morning. The employee had about 1/2 the paperwork filled out, and most of it was filled out incorrectly. I questioned client about the session in the morning, and stated could not figure out what they were saying and they were going to fast for me to understand. So they got frustrated with filling this paperwork out. They also stated it was distracting to have other people on the phone for a counseling session at the same time. Many people don't absorb information in the same way.
I am currently in Florida as I write this, today the much-needed rain was just pounding the streets, so I had time to think about this months' column. I had the pleasure of meeting an employee from the Dayton's P&DC and was told that PDC was closing. There are a lot changes that are different from state to state. I think when it comes to having information that crosses the states line, you really have to be look toward the unions for guidance, maybe more now than ever. The email requests from all of you out there wanting to know if I am going to be in your area. I foresee perhaps in June maybe the NJ area and perhaps Baltimore area. I will keep you posted. And remember everything that glitters, ain't gold. - Roseanne

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