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
Retirement Q&A February 2011
A typical conversation, (but authentic) this month. This may be of
interest to some of you who struggle with medical issues, OWCP etc.
Everyone understand that each employee's situation is a different.
What is a correct answer for one could be completely wrong for
another. Also I cannot always clarify each itty bitty issue, (the
why's and the why not's). It takes away from core issue of what the
employee needs. This is for those who spend time trying to find
fault with my answer instead of seeing that I am trying to guide and
assist those in serious need.
Q#1. Hi Roseanne - &%$&^$#* sent me your name. I'm in a funny
in-between situation and I'm not sure how to proceed. I am 59 and I
have 31 years of accountable service as a rural carrier. I had a
injury, punched my shoulder out of the socket, then after 3 failed
operations, I had a final surgery to replace the joint now. I am not
cleared by the doctors, they say if I go back, it will mess up the
shoulder again.Work Comp accepted my case, no problems there, just
struggling to make sure I don't get penalized for going out under
age 62.Our rural rules say if I am over 55 and have over 30 years
in, I'm good. Could you give me an opinion on that?
A#1. In order for me to give you good advise, I need you to
tell me a few things. Are you CSRS or CSRS/offset, or FERS or FERS
w/frozen CSRS time. Look on your pay stub and tell me what code is
there 1,A,8 etc. I know you are 59 and you have 31 years, which
makes me think you are in CSRS or CSRS offset, but you could be FERS
w/frozen CSRS. That makes me wonder why you think you would be
penalized for going out under the age of 62. Please let me know what
the concern is about the age of 62. Next question, are you on the
OWCP "periodic rolls"? That means that you are not working but still
receiving 75% of your normal working salary.
Q #2. I am on the periodic roll, or I was. This is what my
latest "RTR Retirement Plan Correction Report" 1/14/11 says:
1.) 1979 -1985 FICA
2.) 1985-87 -CSRS Interim/Offset
3.) 1987- present FERS w/ CSRS Frozen Service
Clear? Not to me. The retirement sheet with the retirement estimate
says that they compute retirement on the last 3 years of service.
ok. Then it says if there is a period of LWOP, it will affect the
monthly amount. The LWOP time was taken after my 4th surgery and I
was in the Workman Comp program. The LWOP period is what I hope not
to be penalized for.
How long does the periodic roll last? I have taken a Function test
by their request, Doctors do not want me to go back.
A #2. You have a lot going on. First if you are not currently
on the periodic rolls, you are either working, on sick leave, on
annual leave or are on LWOP.That has to be established first.
1. 1979-1985 FICA...means none of your wages are in the retirement
system, neither FERS nor CSRS, and you were probably working at USPS
but perhaps did not pay back for your work time to be credited to
your retirement account.
2. 1985-1987 CSRS interim/offset, just a period of time in which you
were CSRS, (not sure if I agree, but that is what it is
saying...based on #3.
3. 1987 to present FERS. The frozen CSRS time, I think they are
referring to #2.
Your estimate is based on your HIGH 3 average salary, which is
typically your last 3 years of employment, but not always. For
example if you were a supervisor for years, and then your last 3 yrs
of employment you went back to craft, your high 3 would be those
supervisor years. There is a specific time frame where your LWOP
reduces your years of service. One reason, is that if you have no
salary. Your retirement is not only based on years of service, it is
based on the fact that you are working and money is being deposited
in the retirement system as well. Being penalized for LWOP is going
to happen, if the period of time is long enough, just a fact, not an
excuse. Again, understand that you cannot be credited in the
retirement system for time that you did not work (again falling into
the LWOP criteria). As far as your question how long does the
periodic rolls last, for as long as OWCP and USPS agree to keep you
on the periodic rolls. If I were you, I would ask for a disability
retirement package and a disability annuity statement. The number to
call is 1-877-477-3273. You have SO much going on, really. I hope I
have been able to clear up some issues for you.
Q #3. I was told I needed to apply for Social security
disability. I went to the SS office and they gave me a brochure,
could not do anything for me. I was told it would be 5 to 6 months
and many are denied. I got my medical records, cost $151. for 430
pages of records. I had an operation in 1999 on my right shoulder,
so it is not 100% either. The left shoulder after 3 failed
operations and stints of limited duty took a 4th operation to
completely replace the shoulder. This is the main reason the doctors
don't want me to go back.I find this all very very hard to deal with
and am very tempted to just 'pull the trigger; and regular retire,
to heck with the penalties. However when faced with up to a 12%
reduction in annuity, I pause.
The postmaster is absolutely no help at all, says it makes no
difference in pay whichever way I retire. I find that hard to
A #3. Listen to me very clearly because I want you to be able
to get out of the PO. You need to call HRSSC and request a
disability retirement printout and a disability package. Hardly
ANYONE gets approved social security disability, without going thru
a lawyer. And the requirements under social security are very rigid,
but under OPM's requirements not so. The only requirement to be
approved for disability in the post office, (which is OPM ruling) is
that you are unable to perform the job you were hired for AND the
post office cannot / will not give you an accommodation based on
your restrictions. You will need of course your physician to write a
narrative statement for the process but based on what you have told
me, you should have no problem being approved. I have done this for
many years, I do know what I am talking about. Call 1-877-477-3273
and ask for disability retirement printout and a disability package.
Q #4. I have sent for the disability retirement package. It
states I must apply for Social Security retirement first. After I
went to the SS office, they just gave me a brochure and said they
didn't know what to do. My doctor said his office does not give out
statements. What I do have is his last forms from the hospital
saying he did not reccomend returning in any capacity because two of
three times the shoulder came out of the joint were while I was on
'limited duty' at the postoffice. The fourth operation was quite
involved and with the spike down my arm and the claw imbedded in my
shoulder, they mistrust my shoulder strength to perform postal
limited duty.If that isn't enough to worry about, the XXXX joints
are now suspect and taking lawsuits for failure. The pain medicine I
was on for 6 months, XXXX, is involved in a suit about heart damage
caused by the medication. Thank you so much for writing, I haven't
been able to talk to my main Work Comp person, #$#%$% in &%*&
City,State for months, just a machine, then no call back. I had no
idea this would take so very long. The Postmaster at one point said
I needed to see 'the Postal doctor' but never said anything further.
A #4. I have broken out the paragraph to address each item.
I have sent for the disability retirement package. It states I must
apply for Social Security retirement first. You don't have to apply
first, you just have to apply in conjunction with applying for
postal disability. If you look at the retirement paperwork, it only
asks if you have applied, it does not ask any other question
regarding social security disability. So just apply, you may not be
approved, but that has no bearing on OPM approval. After I went to
the SS office, they just gave me a brochure and said they didn't
know what to do. Go back and apply for disability with social
security. You got a lazy federal employee, go back and if they don't
give you the paperwork to apply for disability, ask to speak to a
supervisor. Of course they know what to do...that is their job!
My doctor said his office does not give out statements. You need to
make an appointment with the doctor and your "received disability
package" Show him that it is required that he write a narrative that
you are unable to perform your job. What I do have is his last forms
from the hospital saying he did not reccomend returning in any
capacity because two of three times the shoulder came out of the
joint were while I was on 'limited duty' at the postoffice. His
paperwork needs to be clear and say that you are UNABLE TO PERFORM
YOUR JOB, AND THAT YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE BASED ON YOUR MEDICAL
The fourth operation was quite involved and with the spike down my
arm and the claw imbedded in my shoulder, they mistrust my shoulder
strength to perform postal limited duty.Again, the "they say people"
should have no problem in putting that down on paper. This is what
you need to be approved for the disability with the post office. You
need to be more forceful and since you are the patient, and they get
paid by virtue of your insurance or OWCP, and you, or any other
entity, it is your right to have that information on paper not just
If that isn't enough to worry about, the BLANK joints are now
suspect and taking lawsuits for failure. The pain medicine I was on
for 6 months, BLANK, is involved in a suit about heart damage caused
by the medication. I have seen those commericials on TV as well. You
have to do what I am telling you.
Please let me know, how you are proceeding with this. If you give up
and don't, you are giving up part of your right to get a retirement.
I know it is sometimes complicated, you are in pain, and your health
is suffering. But if you do what I am telling you, it will work.
Take care, Roseanne