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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 December 2011
Good Day Postal Employees

Lot's of talk this month about an early out, with incentives such as 25 G's or adding years to service time. There has not been any decision least not as I am writing this column. I will write a special column this month should the early out be approved by OPM. I would like to take this time to thank all of my readers for their emails, as they are too assisting fellow postal employees with their questions.

Q 1. Hi Roseanne- My wife is considering retiring from the USPS. She has been a PTF for many years, and not always getting 40 hours per week. She has 34 years and is 53 years old, and is under the CSRS. During the past several years, she has been able to work full time, plus overtime. My question? Can you calculate overtime into the "high 3 years" calculation? I betting not, so when I chose to download one of the many retirement calculators, should I use a 40 hour work week as the basis? By the way, which, retirement planning calculator do you recommend? If you have a fav, please reply with the link. Thanks, J.

A 1.Hi J - Unfortunately not.... overtime, Sunday premium and night differential are NOT included in the calculations for retirement annuity, just what the form 50 shows as the salary, so use the SF Form 50 salary. For CSRS just use my calculations....they are OPM's calculations actually not mine, but they are very accurate...see the CSRS calculations below

1.5 % of the high 3 average salary X 5 = $ (the 1st five years of fed service)
1.75% of the high 3 average salary x 5 = $ (the 2nd five years of fed service)
2.00 % of the high 3 average salary X 24 $ ( the remaining years of federal service).in your case 24 .

That is the yearly figure, divide by 12, that is the monthly figure...pretty simple. Just to show I am accurate go to and you will see this validated on the web site. When you asked about a favorite web site, is where all federal employees should go to review information regardless if you a retiree or even when employed. Roseanne
Q 1a. Thanks. Yes, the calcs are simple, but our challenge is finding the data for the calculations. How do find the data for the 1st and 2nd five year windows. Sorry for the confusion. J.

A 1a. Hi J, There are many ways to find the high 3 average salary. First to to postalease, liteblue and go to MYHR. You will need your EIN and PIN. You don't need the last 5, but the last 3 years of salary. You can go to your eOPF, on the MYHR and review your form 50's to see what your salary has been for the last 3 years, and then use those below calculations to see what your high 3 average salary is, then use the above calculations to compute your annuity. Roseanne

Q 2.Hi Roseanne, I'm plan on retiring in Jan 2014 (MRA w/30yrs FERS), but I might take a VERA early out if they offer it. I have a couple of questions.
1) Can you go a little more in depth about the special ssa supplement (other than what's on the official video about it)?

2) Would I be able to withdraw from my tsp account immediately with no penalties at mra/30, or do I have to wait until 59 & 1/2 to be penalty free? Thanks, P

A 2. Hi P, The SSA supplement is PAID by OPM (not social security) and is a "bridge" of money so that you are not living on just the FERS retirement, which is difficult to do prior to age 62 since the FERS is only ONE part of your THREE tiered retirement. The way to figure out your Special Supplement payment, is to take 33.00 times the number of years worked, in your case approx. $990. That is paid until age 62, your first opportunity to get social security. I suggest that you take it at age 62 rather than waiting for the higher amount at 65, 66 etc. You will never recapture the amount of money lost for those 3 years (between age 62-65) if you wait until later than 62 to take the SS check.

TSP- yes you can immediately pull out the $$ in TSP. Whether it's an annuity purchased through them (Metropolitan Life) or a monthly payment (paid by the TSP Board) or pull all of it out and roll it over. As long a you retire, there is NO penalty, that 59 1/2 is not applicable to your case. I was 57 when I retired (early out) and I pulled all of my money out of TSP ( I was a CSRS) and I was not penalized for being under 59 1/2, I did however pay a heavy tax because I did not roll it over to another IRA or Roth or 401k... I didn't have much of 12 G's in it. Hopefully this has been encouraging news to you! Roseanne

Q 2a. Hi Roseanne, It looks like they may offer another early out soon. It might be 25k + 2yrs service time added for FERS. That would put me at 30 yrs, but I'm 54, so I'm 2 yrs shy of my MRA. If I took the early out, how much would I be penalized? I know that I can't get the ss supplement until MRA. Would you advise against taking it & wait out the 2yrs? Thanks! P

A 2a. Hi P, Based on the early out criteria, you should NOT be penalized for being under 62, as long as you are at your MRA. BUT, before everyone starts jumping the gun, let's see what they are offering; will there be a penalty for under 62 if NOT at MRA. Once there is a decision made, then I will see what they really mean, and write something in my column, regardless if it's in 2 days or 2 weeks. Roseanne

Follow Up: OK, thanks Roseanne! You basically answered my question. Not min ret age = penalty (Unless they deem otherwise). Knowing the P.O., They won't offer cash & years. It will probably be one or the other. There are a lot of people just waiting for the cash! Thanks again! P

Q 3. I am under CSRS, and will retire with less than 40 quarters to draw social security. My question is if I don't have 40 quarters until after I reach 62. Can I draw social security without affecting my CSRS or will they still take my military time away?

A 3.Under CSRS rules and regulations as they relate to retirement and social security...provided you don't have 40 quarters of social security when you retire AND YOU DON'T GO BACK TO WORK AFTER RETIREMENT TO GET THOSE MISSING QUARTERS TO EQUAL 40, then your military years count FULLY without paying it back. BUT if you do go back to work, and eventually gain 40 quarters, then at age 62 you will have the 40 quarters and be eligible for the social security check, and then YES, your CSRS annuity will be reduced by the number of years (of military time) that was counted towards your federal years (that you did not pay back). Prior to retirement you still have the ability to buy back your military, but only do this if you know that you intend on going back to work to gain the 40 quarters.

BUT lets be clear, that amount that is showing on your social security statement, which I surmise is about 500-600 per month, is NOT THE AMOUNT YOU ARE GOING TO RECEIVE. Even if you pay your military back, your social security check is going to be reduced simply because you have a CSRS annuity. This is called WEP (Windfall Elimination Provision). Don't make this decision lightly, as it will cost you at age 62...that is if you go back to work after retirement. Roseanne

I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a safe and prosperous New Year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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