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 January 2011
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.
AND THEIR FOLLOW UP QUESTION
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
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
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