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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 2012
Good Day Postal Employees!!!!!!!!

Whew!! This has been one K-Razy month! The email questions have been really over the top. The uncertainty that is/was out there; the fear; the lack of information; the inability to get through to talk to someone; same question..3 different answers from 3 different people....I suppose you all know, since still employed, not hard to figure out who I am referring to. I have tried to answer each question but I have had some issues of my own this month as it relates to computers and network. I had to laugh, because as I have told many people via my email responses, the APWU early out blew up my computer and have been trying to answer on phone and tablet and when I was able to get connection to the new lap top. So if I have missed anyone please send me your question again. I am hoping to have this resolved (again) by the end of this week.

So many of you that have written me were so misinformed about everything that it was hard to keep on task with even the most simple questions. The questions were wrapped around bad information, so in essence, I had to "re-invent" the wheel in terms of retirement systems' differences, just in order to answer the question. Many of the questions wound up not even being a question, because what it was based on, was just FLAT OUT WRONG!!! I have spent much of my month saying these exact words "I don't care what HRSSC said". Why did I spend so much time saying that, because the information that, (at least what you all were telling me) was absolutely wrong. AND YOU ALL KNEW IT WAS WRONG, BECAUSE YOU WOULD CALL THEM BACK AND GET SOMEONE ELSE TELLING YOU SOMETHING DIFFERENT, than the first or the second answer. This month I tried to find the best emails that related issues that are pertinent right now. Some of your emails were very combative in regards to how you feel about how "retirement" is handled, and someone of you this was your first experience with HRSSC - and it was SHEER UNMITIIGATED CULTURE SHOCK!! Many of you that have not bidded in years, or really didn't have any changes that needed personnel, or now HRSSC assistance with, you were the employees most affected by this. There are some emails that I wouldn't print that are too personal in nature, and some even request that I don't use their "scenario" in my column, and I always do respect that, and don't. If I don't say it now, it will pass...If you read something I write, and you can help a fellow employee by explaining something to them, just do it. I want all of you out there to have the best retirement and watch for the curve balls...cuz we all know at the end of the day...this is still the PO.

Q 1. Hi Roseanne, I am a 63 years old Rural Carrier. I am in the CSRS/OFFSET retirement system. I am planning on retiring either the end of this year or the beginning of next year. I would like to know your opinion on buying back my non-funded years? I entered on duty, Jan 16, 1980 as a 73-0 sub. Then on Dec 12, 1984, in a leave earning status 73/77 sub / auxiliary carrier through Sept 23, 1985, and was made regular rural carrier. I resigned in December 23, 1996, with frozen retirement contributions. I came back and was re-employed March 15, 2001, as a casual. On September (2001) was converted to RCA (reached on the hiring worksheet), and then Sept 15, 2007 was converted to regular rural carrier. I have called HRSSC a few times, and it is a joke! When I spoke to the first lady that answered the phone and explained that I wanted to know how much it was to pay back the non-funded time, I was told that I could not buy any time back. Every time I asked a question, she had to leave the phone and come back and answer. I asked her how long she had been working at HRSSC, she said "awhile". When I told this to my postmaster, she told me to call back, that I could buy the time back. I called a couple of days later and spoke to someone else, and they told me I could pay it back. I don't understand why they have people on the phone that clearly don't know much or anything about rural carriers. How are we supposed to make a decision to retire, if even the post office can't answer a question

A 1. The first thing you need to know is that your years (and depending on when these years occurred) sometimes are ONLY credible for calculation for ELIGIBILITY to retire, versus years that are used in a retirement calculation. In a quick review, I see this as you having a total creditable and paid for years as 16 years, 7 months and 16 days. It looks like you can pay back is 5 years, 8 months and 7 days, based on the dates you sent me. Once you see your annuity statement, that should back up my calculations. That being said, the 5+ years that you can pay back will not be ONLY the 7% of the total earned salary during those years, but the INTEREST for the last almost 30 years. If you were a straight CSRS and not a CSRS/offset...even then I might not even consider it due the cost. As a CSRS/offset, at age 62 your annuity is going to be re-calculated, because you are the type of CSRS employee that will get your FULL Social Security check without a reduction. However, your CSRS annuity will be offset, or reduced. I say that to say, I personally don't think it's a good value. BUT that is just my opinion. What may be also my opinion, is that you aren't going to get the information back regarding the buy back in time from HRSSC to EVEN make a decision if you are banking on retiring at the end of the year. Again, sorry, I would have answered it sooner, but because this wound up in my spam box, I had not really checked it, with the computer issues I have had this month, and too I have been swamped with early out retirement sessions. Roseanne

Q 2. Hi Roseanne, It's an honor to meet you.. I just wanted to say THANKS for all your knowledge and wisdom you've provided on� I thoroughly enjoy reading other's questions and then your answers to said questions every month.. Its been very insightful� I have at least a 2 part question but the other question(s) depends on the answer to my 1st question� It's not really a technical question as much as it requires you looking into your crystal ball and giving your best opinion� I'm a 60 year old rural carrier(leave comp date, enter on duty date & retirement comp date �all' of 06-4-77, retirement plan 5-CSRS offset with a balance of 335.50 days sick leave{never to this day "knock on wood" used a sick day})�.. Someone asked if you thought rural carriers would be offered a VERA and you answered "honestly, no"� you said "their Union is mighty and they have a "true pathway" to career employment, unlike any other non-career" .. Here's my question: Having said what you did about no VERA, do you ever see the day that rural carriers like myself who are eligible to retire but are not quite ready to do so for different reasons(mine being that I have a great route/post office plus I TRULY TRULY love what I do and feel extremely fortunate to have ever been hired back in �77 to begin with(long story), in good health plus I'm just not ready 'yet" to call it quits) being forced out by management? In your opinion, do you ever see that scenario playing out???
Depending on what your crystal ball revealed will determine if I follow up with a �deposit/redeposit' or not question.. Thanks in advance for reading my email and I look forward to your reply�

A 2. Hi RT since it's a two part question....It's good that you asked this question, not because of the question, because I get to answer something that you didn't ask (yet??) that may be far more important than an early out. Is your retirement code 5 (CSRS/offset). That answer will determine my answer to you.

2. Added: Roseanne, yes, my retirement is a code 5 offset as I mentioned above...and my leave comp date, enter on duty date & retirement comp date �all' on 06-04-77, with a balance over 300 days sick leave...RT

2. Response: Your retirement is based upon CSRS rules as it applies to you before age 62. At age 62 your annuity is recomputed, because you are going to receive full Social Security benefits, unlike a regular CSRS annuitant, BUT your CSRS annuity will be reduced. and you will receive the full SS chek . Roseanne

Q 3. Hi Roseanne, I am a retired letter carrier who turned 65 years old last month under CSRS I had life insurance taken out of my ANNUITY STATEMENT FROM FEGLI AND NOW THEY ARE NOT TAKING PREMIUMS OUT OF MY ANNUITY AM I STILL COVERED FOR LIFE INSURANCE THROUGH FEGLI THANKS YOUR COLUMN IS GREAT.

A 3. are still covered! Once you turn 65, the basic life insurance payment stops...but your basic insurance (which was your yearly salary at retirement, rounded up to the nearest thousand,& with 2,000 added to that) will begin to reduce until it is 25% of the original value, and stays there. It takes about 3 years for the reduction to be complete. But you will always have life insurance. Roseanne

Q 4. Hi, I'm looking for some info and guidance on a VERA for a FERS employee. I've sent my application in for the early out offer and I am very concerned about the back log that's happening over at OPM. I've called shared services who once quoted me a 6-8 week period before I receive my first annuity check with my 1st accurate computed check coming in @ 6 months. Another call to HRSSC said to expect a 4-6 week period before getting a check and then receiving a correct annuity in 6 months. Does this waiting period sound right? I didn't prepare to well for retirement and may experience a financial hardship.

I'm 54 with over 27yrs of civilian service. I was told that under an early out offer I will receive the sup annuity when I turn 56. Is this correct? One more question. Also, I understand that when HRSSC receives your paperwork that they sent you out another booklet. What's that all about?

I can imagine that your getting all kinds of email from your readers so I would really appreciate it if and when you can respond to my questions. Thank you in advance.

A 4. Stop worrying, it's not going to be that bad. If you have sent in your paperwork already, you should be OK. I know what they are saying about 6-8 weeks period and that is correct...but understand something...two days ago, I got my annuity check. I got my check on Nov 1. BUT BUT BUT...did you know that check was paying me for October. So right off the bat, you are paid one month in arrears, so that 6-8 wk thing makes it look worse than what it really is. If you manage your last pay and your annual leave right, you should be OK. YES when you turn your MRA your special supplement should start. YOU ARE NOT GOING TO BE IN FINANCIAL hardship...stop worrying, it's going to be OK!! I know that HRSSC is resending books, and I know why but just don't stress about I, it will all work me, it will. Roseanne

Q 5. Hi Roseanne, Would I receive the social security supplement if i would retire at age 55 with 20 years of service with the post office. I'm in FERS. Also how much penalty would I get in my annuity doing this ?? Same question but if I stay 5 more years and retire at age 60 with 25 years of service. Also do you have a website or face book page to receive q & a from you ?? JM

A 5. If you are FERS, and are retiring with the early out, you would receive your supplement when you turn your MRA, typically age 56 or 57. There is no penalty on your age with your FERS annuity IF going with an early out.. Same answer except you are fully qualified to retire (age 60 w/at least 20 yrs). The only website is, in which I write the column. I don't answer jack *%$# on FACEBOOK. Employment and retirement questions are way too personal for the entire famdamily on FACEBOOK to look at, I will answer emails, just as I have done here. Roseanne

Q 6. Hello Roseanne, I am 60 yrs. old. and will be 62 in June 2014. I will have 20yrs at the PO in August 2014. Kind of a catch 22. I can retire now with the minimum age +10. How big of a hit is it if I go now or wait until I have the 20 yrs. in 2014?e am a FERS employee with about 150,000 in TSP with a single plan for medical . Obviously there is no bridge for social security. I am sure you are getting a ton of questions at this time but if you could take a second I would love to hear an answer. Thanks, AM

A. 6. Hi AM, after I read your email, the first thing I said was, yep, that sucks. Your eligibility is June 2014 (with age 62, with at least 5 years), so although you will have 20 yrs in August, you are able to retire fully in June. (UNDERSTAND I AM TALKING STRICTLY ABOUT ELIGIBILITY, AND JUNE 2014 YOU ARE FULLY ELIGIBLE, NOT AUGUST). Don't confuse the eligibility with HOW your annuity is computed. Still far as the early out for you, so I am telling you DO NOT....DO NOT....DO NOT.. take the MRA+10. It is a sucker move, I can go through all the reasons of the why's, but I am so swamped with emails and individual counseling's, I don't have the time to show specifically why I say that. I just wanted to pop you an email to stop you from doing that if you were truly considering it. But to answer your question, if you were to retire MRA+10, your annuity would be calculated at 1.1% X your H3 Av Salary, divided by 12. Then you would have it reduced by 4% (the reduction is 2% for each year under 62). AND THEN TO ME, the bigger loss is not being eligible for the special supplement and for you it would be around $620-$680 per month. ARE YOU not able to stick it out 2 years!!! You have been through the hard part!! Don't piss all those years away, retirement too WORTH IT...DO YOU HEAR ME...........Roseanne

Please have a safe & wonderful Christmas, Peace to you and Your Families....till we speak again, Roseanne

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