Postal Workers

Custom Search
Postal Retirement
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 2014
Good Day Postal Employees

I am bursting with joy�..I found out last night that a case (involving a deceased postal employee with Basic Life Insurance (& Option B 1X) coverage, that I have been dealing with for well over a year, appears finally have a resolve. Consistently through the years of writing this column, it has been a constant effort on my part to "force, scare, threaten all of you�.to go into your eOPF, and make sure the beneficiary forms for ALL of facets your MONEY are protected." Should you pass away, and the beneficiary forms that are in your eOPF is what the USPS; FEGLI and OPM will use to disperse the money�.

�..what if�.really�.what if � you filled out those forms, and for some reason�.those beneficiary forms did NOT make it into your OPF. Take that to the next step�.and those same forms that you filled out, were perhaps misfiled in "someone else's OPF" or somehow not filed at all���.AND THEN�those same huge OPF's with all of your hiring information, all the Form 50's (aka Notification of Personnel Action), every single thing about YOU, right down to your original application for employment, are taken WHOLESALE�meaning EVERY postal employee's file, were taken and sent to a "scanning site", to transmit ALL POSTAL EMPLOYEE'S FIILES to an individual electronic files an "eOPF", (that YOU can see on line) and that is EXACTLY how it happened.

So now, there are NO huge paper folder's (OPF's) in District Offices, or in individual Post Offices, but ONLY the eOPF (Electronic Official Personnel Folders) that are on-line for YOU to review. What if those beneficiary forms never made it to your "paper" file�..then CLEARLY!!! they are NOT going to be in your electronic file, the eOPF. So you can call HRSSC and request a "Beneficiary Package, that will include all of the forms that are listed below, that should be up to date and reflect your choices TODAY�not necessarily the choices you made the day you were hired.

FEGLI Life Insurance Beneficiary Form SF 2823 (filed in eOPF)
CSRS Retirement Beneficiary Form SF 2808 (filed in eOPF)
FERS Retirement Beneficiary Form SF 3102 (filed in eOPF)
Unpaid Compensation SF 1152 (filed in eOPF)
TSP Beneficiary Form TSP-3 (filed with TSP and NOT in your eOPF)

As a Manager, one of the most important issues I had was to continually ensure that OPF filing (of course this is when we had paper files�the ORIGINAL OPF (Official Personnel File/Folder), you know ones you could "hold in your hand", that beneficiary forms were to be filed daily - no excuses... that was just SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) in personnel, and rightfully so. In dealing with this case, it's hard not to put yourself in the place of the deceased postal employee, and wonder "could this happen to my family"? Even more so, when�.and let's face it�postal employees many times have been married more than once (OH, oh no, �.not like the JOB could have had anything to do with that!! hmm). So what if you remarried (as many postal employees do) and you fill out new beneficiary forms, what if the "HR" person at your district was not as "knowledgable or didn't truly understand what the impact would be if a situation like this occurred. I have said this before, and I will say this again�A beneficiary form TRUMPS a Will�.and even if this Will was written after the beneficiary form, the "financial" entity can ONLY honor that beneficiary who is on that form�.it's a legal document.

You must know by now that this case came to that. What would it be like�.it could be like some cases turn out�that an Ex husband/ Ex wife (who could have been an X for years), winds up getting the Unpaid Compensation money. This could happen if you passed away as an employee, the unpaid compensation, is your last pay check (final work hours) and all Earned Annual Leave What if that Ex got $15,390.47 and the widow/widower didn't because that SF1152 Unpaid Compensation Beneficiary Form, was not filled out after a second marriage, or not filed in the employee's OPF, because that is exactly what would (AND DID) happen. And then the second spouse (of many years), widow/widower of the postal employee was left to "fight it out" because a beneficiary form was not filed in the OPF, and so not scanned to the eOPF�not because the postal employee didn't fill out the form, but because the form wasn't filed in the OPF. Now add this to the mess, but YOU have a copy of that form in your hand, a signed copy of that form (that was signed�and entered by the HR person)�.BUT since it wasn't in the eOPF, it didn't exist. BUT IT DID EXIST. The fact that it wasn't filed properly, the fact that it was signed off by the HR person, made that a legal document�15 months of fighting for what their postal spouse wanted them to have.

I am hoping that once this postal spouse can finally pay the mortuary, the legal bills associated with the case, try to put their life back together and finally mourn the loss of their spouse without this hideous problem of life insurance money, that was always theirs to begin with, can heal after this terrible ordeal. I am hoping that in the next month or so I am able to publish a letter from this spouse so that you can know first hand what they went through�.maybe THEIR WORDS will convince you, because I have tried!!

Maybe this too will add to the issue, as it relates to postal employees, a beneficiary form NEVER gets REPLACED. Once the beneficiary form (this legal document I tell you about) was/is filed in your OPF, it became a part of an official record. To change the beneficiary, you fill out another form�.THAT FIRST (or second, third, or fourth) BENEFICIARY FORM DOES NOT GET REMOVED FROM YOUR FILE/OPF. The next beneficiary form (the newer one) is filed as well, but that first, or second, or thirty-third form stays in that file. The notion that you take out that one beneficiary form and replace it with another is incorrect, at least incorrect procedures. I have some "beneficiary forms" in my OPF (filled out in, let's say "another life") I sure would like to have "yanked" out of the file myself! But they couldn't be because they are legal documents� well as federal documents. And that should be a validation to you all out there, that I am well versed in what being a "Custodian of the Records" really means.

Comment/Response # 1.

Hello, Roseanne! I just finished your column and enjoyed it as usual.

I did want to add something to Q. 5 as reason #132 not to return to work for the USPS or any federal agency. The person who took the same VERA I did on 1/31/13, will have gotten $15,000 VSIP (the second part will be paid this May) which has to be repaid BEFORE being rehired in the federal government within 5 years of retirement. That seems yet another reason to NOT go back to the USPS to work (besides so many OTHER reasons!).

As you constantly say, retirement is so sweet! It does sadden me to read how many people reconsider returning to work. Thanks again for clarifying the madness for so many folks! N

Q 1. I will retire this year. I have received my retirement booklet. There are about seven forms that I was instructed to fill out and sign, one of the forms has to do with my TSP account and it gives me different options for monthly payment annuity accounts. I want to leave my TSP account in place after retirement but I do not want an annuity account that locks me into paying me a set amount each month. I want to be free to roll this account over into other investments if the time comes. But I did not receive a form to just leave my TSP account as is and I know by age 70 I will need to make yearly withdrawals. It just seems as if they are trying to make me sign up for a monthly pay out annuity account by not providing any other form but to sign up for a locked in monthly payment system which I do not want. Do you have any information on how I make sure they just leave my account as is or if not who I can talk with about this and a phone number. Thank you

A 1. There is NOTHING that you have to do to accomplish what you want, which is to leave the money in TSP in place until you decide what you want to do with it. You have until you are 70 years and 6 months to make that decision. Just so you are CLEAR�there is NO form to say "I want to leave my money in TSP"�.the only forms are to take it out, in some form or fashion�..stop stressing�you have done everything right and the way you wanted (at least from what you have stated in your email). NO WORRIES�.your money in TSP is fine and still there. I always feel edgy when an employee/retiree says I was instructed to fill out and sign�..that is NOT retirement is all about "filling out and signing"�.there is so much more to know that is never discussed. Roseanne

Q 2. Hi- I plan on retiring in 4 years, I am a FERS hired in 1984 and I bought back 5 1/2 years military which has been credited to my total years already, I'm wondering about the social security supplement we are to receive and how much it is and how it works, I was born in 1958 and am 55 years old, i'm thinking in dec 2018 on retiring giving me a total of 40 yrs with military. Any info you can give me would be appreciated, I am a letter carrier.

A 2. Hi M, Typically the Special Supplement is rated between $30-$35 per month, times the number of POSTAL years worked�.OK so I capitalized Postal�.of course there is a reason�.you are not paid the supplement for the "paid back military years"�So I would calculate (in the middle of the 2 figures and use $33.00 per month, times the number of postal years and you should be very close to calculating your Special Supplement. Roseanne

Q 3. I plan on retiring on Nov. 1st, 2014. I am a letter carrier under CSRS. I carried over 440 hours of annual leave from last leave year. Can I continue to accumulate my annual leave and sell back more than the 440 hours of annual leave when I retire ?

A 3. No. Craft employees can only carry over 440 from the prior year. If you are suggesting this, because it's not really clear�you want to retire at the end of the year, and then sell anything OVER the 440�correct? The answer is still no, because, and many (not even EAS employee's) don't know this�but when you sell back annual leave, you are actually selling the leave that is from the coming year, and if you are retiring, there is no leave coming for the next year. Roseanne

Q 4. Hi Roseanne, First of all, I'm so glad to hear Hope is in remission. It's a wicked disease and my prayers are with you all. I'm not sure if you can help me with this question or not. I retired from the USPS on 1/31/2013 at the age of 58. I had been there for nearly 28 years, all of them under FERS. I accepted the VERA that was offered to the clerks the previous fall, and get the SRS plus my pension. I understand that we have to follow the Social Security earnings limit when we work after retirement so we don't lose part of the SRS. Last year that didn't matter because that was the year I retired. I was able to collect unemployment for the first 26 weeks. In PA you are eligible for unemployment if you accept an early retirement offer due to an employer-initiated reduction in force. (The post office did appeal, but we all won.) I started a part-time job in October, but it was not a well-paid job. On our W-2's last year, the first $10000 of the buyout was counted as part of our earnings.

My question is this: does the second part of our buyout ($5000) that we will receive in May count toward the Social Security earnings limit? I have called OPM twice on this and have gotten two different answers, one yes, one no. I have been working two part-time jobs and will have to quit one of them very soon if the $5000 counts toward the limit. I really don't want to lose part of my SRS, but at the same time, paying all the insurances eats up most of my regular pension, so financially I still need to work until I'm old enough for Social Security. Thank you so much for your help!! SP

A 4. Hi SP, Congrats on retiring and on being able to receive the unemployment!! I would think that if they (IRS) considered the $10,000 "earnings" then most likely that would also be considered "earning's". This is the same dilemma every FERS employee has when considering the Spec Supp versus working. The problem stems from the fact that a FERS retirement is a 3 tiered plan, and that each "tier" does NOT weigh one-third. FERS is only 25% of the retirement income, SS is 35% of the monthly income and TSP was to be 45% of the monthly income. Unless TSP was funded FULLY, (meaning you have nearly double in TSP monthly income as the FERS annuity check. I would continue to call OPM for a definitive answer�.on the 5G's�.but prepare for it to be considered income. Roseanne

R 4. Roseanne, Thank you so much for the quick reply. I've been trying to call OPM every day and finally got thru yesterday morning. The woman I spoke with yesterday said it is counted as earned income as far as taxes go, but will not be considered earned income for the SS earnings limit test, as it was not actually earned. She said a questionnaire will be sent out at the end of April (after taxes are normally done) and there will be a place on that to show that the incentive money was not earned income. She was actually the first one from OPM to take time to answer my questions and back the answers up with research. I have already quit one of my jobs, just in case, but after I see the questionnaire and see it with my own eyes, I can always pick up another part-time job. Thank you again for your help!! I'll let you know what happens! SP

Q 5. Roseanne: Yesterday, the XYZ District held a telecon on the upcoming RIF of Postmasters (9/30/14). A question was asked about going to craft and we were told that we would have to take the Clerk test again if we took it before 2005. Is this your understanding? Thanks.

A 5. What a crock of bullshit!! Of all the employees that have changed crafts' or EAS employees that went from management to craft NEVER that I have EVER, EVER heard of�..had to take a test or a re-test� before or after 2005�..So NO, not my understanding, AND NO ONE ELSE'S either!!�.and ask them WHERE in the contract(s); ELM, EL 311/312 or in just an official " anydamnthing" does it show language that stated�anything that related 2005 as a "cut-off" year (or any year for that matter). MAKE THEM SHOW YOU IN WRITING, it's not true�.Roseanne

Till we speak again��.Roseanne

About  |  Contact  |  Terms of Use  |  Privacy Policy

Copyright, All Rights Reserved