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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 August 2011

Good Day Postal Employees!

OK, so most people who read this column, know I am around...close to.. but not yet 60.  Does anyone remember a summer ever being this hot!!  This summer has been brutal all over the nation.  So I say, no matter how you feel about anything that is going on in the postal service, we ALL need to take off our hats and commend our letter carriers.  I cannot think of too many jobs out there that endure the elements like the carriers do....all year long. 
Question # 1. I was hit by a forklift and badly hurt while in a safety zone at a plant.    I have been on OWCP since the accident.  If I retire (FERS), do I stay on OWCP?  Will USPS pay for my health benefits to assure I have care for the rest of my life, if I retire? A forklift almost cut off my foot but it was saved and I can walk.  Also had surgery for bad rotator cuff tear, which was repaired.  Am approved to RTD with many restrictions.  I was a Clerk Steno.  If I accept a job within limitations, do I stay on OWCP?  If I cannot go back to work or cannot perform the job and I retire, do I have to pay for my XYZ ?  Should I accept a settlement? I cannot get answers to my questions from anyone at USPS.  Any answers will be very appreciated.

# 1.  Boy do you have a lot going on!  There are many things to consider in your case, your age, your actual health, not for the post office's sake, but for your sake.  Sometimes we have medical injuries that are from working and sometimes we have other ailments, such as migraines, foot issues, bad backs, just because we age.  That makes our working life even more miserable as does the injury we sustained at work.  I will try to take apart some of the issues you got, but remember, I am writing based on what YOU tell me.  If you lead me down the wrong path, just like a computer it will be, garbage in....garbage out!!!

I will assume for just a minute that either the PO or someone has told you that you can retire "disability retirement" and get off the OWCP rolls....and yes that is true. You don't say how long you have been on OWCP for the forklift injury.  I will assume your clerk-steno job was abolished and somehow you transferred to mail handler either by choice or by force. 

If I were you, I would apply for disability retirement right away.  Just on what I see,  you have a really good case.  Being approved to return to duty with many restrictions, is in your benefit (for OPM's approval sake) that the PO really cannot a
ccommodate you.   Do you have to pay for your health benefits?  Only because I know that XYZ is a FEHB  insurance company and no doubt your health care provider.  Yes you do pay for your health benefits when you retire....we all do...and yes it is more than what you are paying now.  But the Post Office still, in your retirement, pays about twice as much as you do...FOR YOU each month.  As far as accepting a settlement, that would be improper on my part to even comment about something I know nothing about.  As I say in my column, which is where I suspect you found me, every case, every retirement, is different, so I don't comment on what I don't really know.  I realize that no one answers any questions, and for a good reason, they don't know the answers.  Call 1-877-477-3273, and get an "H" ticket number when you do, (ASK FOR IT, they typically are not going to just give to you !!).  You will request your DISABILITY ANNUITY STATEMENT for July 2011, as well as your DISABILITY RETIREMENT BOOKLET.  This will give you a starting point in the disability retirement process.  Just for clarification, please let me know how/where you heard about me. Roseanne

Response  # 1,
Roseanne, thank you so much.  You have been the most helpful person I have been able to find.  I found you on your blog through a Google search. 
Actually, I am in excellent health and have no physical problems.  When I was injured (from behind in a safety zone), I was actively working out, physically fit,  I don't even wear glasses, (had Lasik surgery), weight same since age 16, so this accident just "ended" my  life in terms of what I could formerly do.  The accident was in 2005. An attorney told me there is no disability retirement after you are 62.  I already had requested the disability packet but figured I couldn't use it.

I will call them as you suggested.  They may be offering me something in the clerk class (I definitely can't do mail handling) but I can't wear a closed shoe--or any shoe except a flip-flop sandal. I will call that number and get an H# so I can do this right.  Thank you sooooooo much!! 
Question # 2. Hello Roseanne,  I will be retiring from the postal service in 2 years. I will have almost 34 years under csr. My question is, can I work for the USPS as an RCA part time without it affecting my pension. I still need to get my quarters in to collect some SS even though it will not be much.
Thank you, for your time.

Answer # 2. Yes you can work for the USPS after retirement.  You won't be an RCA,(Rural Carrier Associate) but a TRC (Temporary Rural Carrier).  A TRC (as well as a PMR, (Post Master Replacement) are able (with notification to OPM by the Postal Service...((several forms that will need to be signed off and SENT to OPM))  to work after retirement with no negative effect to their retirement check...UNDER THESE CONDITIONS ONLY!!!  YOU CAN ONLY WORK 180 DAYS PER CALENDAR YEAR...THEY DON'T HAVE TO BE CONSECUTIVE AND THERE IS NO REDUCTION OF YOUR PENSION/ANNUITY.  WHEN YOU WORK THE 181st DAY, FOR EVERY DOLLAR YOU EARN, THAT DOLLAR IS REDUCED FROM YOUR ANNUITY CHECK.  I hope this has helped.  Roseanne

Question # 3.
Hello Roseanne,  I worked for the Postal Service for 20 years and I was under the old civil retirement system. I left the service and kept my retirement in place. can you direct to a resource where I can get an accurate estimate of my options and expected retirement amount. I am currently 55 years old and left when I was 45. Thank you for your time.

Answer # 3. It is very good that you did not touch your retirement in CSRS.  I am pretty sure that you will still have to wait until age 62 to obtain a "deferred retirement" under CSRS rules.  You can (if you want...and why would've waited this long) still pull out all of your money that is in the CSRS fund (mind you, just your contributions...the PO contributions stays in the fund).  If you do, you don't get the benefit of being a federal retiree.  You need to call OPM at 1-888-767-6738 and discuss this with someone on the phone.  You can also go on their website and navigate to see where you can correspond with them on this issue.  The web site is  Best wishes,  Roseanne

Question # 4
.Hi Roseanne, Maybe you could help me. My husband turns 65 in Dec of this year. He has been retired a few years now (after 37 years of service). He gets Social Security ( not much). I am fers, 52 years old with 25 3/4 years service to the postal service. We both carry our own insurance (self only) by the P.O. Now when he turns 65 does he sign up for A & B, or just A, or just B. We want to keep his Blue Cross Blue Shield. Does the BCBS become his secondary and how do we do it?
Sorry the question goes further to ask: If I retire on the next early out or at 56 with 30 years in, Should I keep my self only retirement or get family on his? If we were both on his, Would I still have insurance if something happen to him?  Thanks

Answer # 4.
I am so glad you wrote.  At age 65 Medicare becomes the primary hospital insurance... for everyone.  BUT THAT IS ALL THAT MEDICARE PART A pays...the hospital.  It WILL NOT PAY the doctor who saw you in the hospital, and a host of other medical bills that leave us wondering just what did Medicare Part A pay ? Again it only pays the hospital bill....period.  This is where the Medicare Part B, C & D become tantalizing...but don't do it.  You have federal health benefits, you don't need Medicare b/c/d.
I say it this way so that you don't fall for one of the biggest myths going about everyone jumping for joy when they get 65 so they can get Medicare and stop (they think) paying for expensive federal  health care.  You and your husband are PERFECTLY situated.  You don't need to do anything.  Medicare will take over just because everyone at 65 has medicare as it's mandatory primary hospital insurance.  There is nothing for you to do.  What happens in billing, is the hospital bill is paid by Medicare any other charges, are billed to your insurance company.  So again, it's nothing for you to do.  You want to keep your FEHB, and keep single for the both of you. Roseanne

I am sure some readers will have their own take on Medicare or feel their health benefits are too expensive and should change to all Medicare when they turn 65.  I don't recommend it,  but it's your money and your health.  I suggest not taking the cheap way out on your health benefits, particularly as you age, you really need to keep your FEGLI, and as far as Medicare b,c and d, fugetaboutit !!

Till the next time we talk.....Roseanne

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