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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 Q&A January 2011

Good Day Postal Employees

Q. On the bottom of the USPS pay stubs, there is a box labeled "USPS RETIREMENT". Over the years since I've been with the PO, I have heard many statements regarding this amount. Mine is over $7800, and I have heard people get this amount if they quit. Old timers back in the 80s told me it was a lump sum for the CRS employees. I am FERS and no one can clarify if I get this amount. Can you please enlighten me to how this amount of money the PO has deducted from my check for over 26 years and if I will one day receive it? Secondly, I am in the guard and I know I can buy my former Active Duty time from the Air Force. I have recently come aware of the fact I can buy back active duty time I put in when I go to Afghanistan or just do orders when I have pulled military orders for a chunk of time. Like in DC for a whole summer. I wonder if it's worth the cost to buy this additional time compared to not buying it? Doing nothing, I will end up with 36 years of Postal time alone with I finally it 56 in 2019. Do you think it's worth it?

A. That figure is YOUR contributions to the retirement. If you leave federal service (i.e. quit, fired etc.) you can apply to OPM for this money. This money is "housed" in the retirement fund, and the PO puts in the same amount of the deduction you did. If you look that figure only changes once a year....PP 2. FERS is a three-tiered retirement system comprised of social security, TSP and this money we are now discussing postal retirement. The military buy back issue is "person-specific". For FERS employees, in order to add those military years to your postal years to your overall federal years for retirement purposes you must pay it back. It depends how many years you have in the military (which would add to your overall years in the PO used for retirement calculation). To answer your question on the active time in Afghanistan, HRSSC has a listing of qualified "campaigns" & "wars" that will allow for guard time to be calculated as "career time, again for retirement purposes". For FERS it's 1% of your high 3 average salary, for each year of federal service. At your age and the military buy back, compounded by the interest added, in most likely would not be worth it. But that is a general answer, each employee's situation is different, and should be researched with HRSSC, as sometimes you could have time non-career federal time or military time that would add to your postal years, and ultimately your eventual retirement check.


Q. Thanks for answering my questions. I was leaning towards not buying back the military time as I earn it.

Finally, so this small amount the PO matches, when I do retire, how would I go about claiming this USPS Retirement amount?

A. It is not about claiming this USPS retirement. The money that is what is used when calculating your postal retirement. If you retire you don't get that specific amount of money back. It's SIMPLY YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS in the retirement fund. The calculation of 1% of your high 3 for the numbers of years worked divided by 12 will be your monthly annuity. It is far more than what was contributed by you or the USPS.

JUST A QUICK EXAMPLE: On the bottom of the check for a CSRS employee there is the figure of 88,000. When this employee retires with 30 years, and their high 3 is was 91,000, that figure is calculated to give them an annuity of 42,000 per year (this is based on years of service..same as FERS, but different percentage calculation is used for CSRS versus FERS). Their annuity would be 42,000, per year. This validates that by a little over 2 years the contributions you put in the OPM fund has little to do with how much you get monthly. If that were the case, then after 4 years (because the post office has matched that same figure that you put in OPM, you would only receive a retirement check for 4 years, as that is when the money runs out of what your and the post office contributed.

BUT THAT IS NOT THE CASE...YOU RECEIVE THE ANNUITY UNTIL YOU PASS AWAY, AND IF YOU SELECT A SPOUSAL ANNUITY, THE SPOUSE ALSO COLLECTS. Hopefully this has shed a little light on your postal retirement contributions.

Q. I am ready to retire right now (December 1st). I am 60 years old but will not have the desired 20 yrs. of service until March 2011. I worked years ago at the Corps of Engineers and the Census Bureau. Could those few months in each job bring my total numbers of years with the government up to 20 by December? I thought I had read something about this but can't find it now. I think it said, too, that previous government work would not add on to my Postal Service annuity. I understand that part, I just want 20 years NOW!!!

A. To answer your questions, YOU would have to know these things. When you worked at the Corps of Engineers, the ability for those years to be added to your total federal service time, you would have had to work where you were paying into CSRS. The same holds true for the Census Bureau. Typically the Census Bureau appointments are non-career. In order for you to be sure, you would have look on the Form 50's to see if your retirement code was "1". Also your local human resources office (located in each district office throughout the country) should have had your paper OPF and done an RTR on it. RTR means Retirement, Thrift, RIF information. You will need your EIN number (located on your check stub) and your PIN number. You can review all Form 50's in your eOPF. If you find that there are no form 50's for your Corps of Engineers or your Census Bureau time, then again, you will need to call your local services at the district office. They can direct you on the form needed to be filled out to send to OPM and the National Civilian Personnel Records.

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