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Postal Retirement
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 June 2012
Good Day Postal Employees:

Well, well, well VERA is in the house!! We have a few early outs, Postmasters (in specific office grades); some HQ employees; mail handlers and the every increasing talks for clerks...and so a reader writes me and asked "how do you know, what you know? Because everything you said about the early out VERA's like "giving years" to add to either age or years of service, you said would not happen, why did you say that, and how did you know that"?

This is true I have repeatedly said to folks writing me and even had comments in the column that said, "I don't see them giving years, but I do see an incentive". Why, because of the entire retirement structure, that's is easy to do, incentives are just the Big Bucks that they would have paid in your benefits anyway if you stayed employed and they did not offer the early huge financial loss for the PO. Look you all just got your Personal Statement of Benefits...doesn't it look like you make a whole lot more than you do??? But the cost to the USPS is just that, because of how much they pay towards employees' benefits. But to change or alter an entire federal retirement structure, just to accommodate the USPS...please give me a break, didn't happen, won't happen!

Q 1. Could you answer this question for me? I have 28.5 Years of service with the USPS as a city letter carrier. I am under the CSRS and if I retire right now what is my penalty? Also, do I have to pay clothing allowance back with anniversary date of 3-28. What happens to my S/L A/L thrift savings plan? I'm 58 yrs old and can't take it anymore. Thanks!!! Sincerely, BURNT OUT

A 1. Hi Burnt Out..I too am a CSRS and I retired (under VERA 2009), I was 56, with 26.5 years. I suffered no reduction for age, since I was over 55, and was paid for 26.5 years of federal service. Your SL is calculated into your total years of service, your annual leave is paid (but only the earned annual, not the advanced). Your TSP is a separate entity and you will deal with them directly. Roseanne

R. Thanks Roseanne for your information. Really don't know what to do next. Between a rock and and a hard place. The way the USPS is pushing, I'm hardly able to do it anymore. Its a shame!!! Is it that hard to say go if you want to go? I will not go for disability. Enough venting. Thanks again!!!! Burnt out

Q 2. Hi Roseanne, Thank you so much for your website!! I have a question I hope you can answer for me. I retired from the postal service on February 24, 2012. I have received interim payments. The amount I receive is about $300.00 less than my estimated retirement annuity provided by the post office. Will I be paid the difference? Also how much longer will it take OPM to finish my retirement paperwork?
Thank you,JM

A 2. Hi JM, The "interim" check is about 70-80% of what your NET check is going to be. Sometimes when looking at the annuity estimate and it says, for example, 1500 per month. After health benefits, life insurance, federal tax, (in some states state tax), are deducted, the net would be around 800-1000 per month. So using 1000.00 as the example, 70-80% of 1000 is 700-800 per month. Again this is just ONE example of what it would look like. It will take about 3 or 4 interim checks, and then you will get a settle up check after all the months are reviewed and you will be paid the amount that was shorted over the 3-4 month period of time. After that, you regular check begins to come and then you get a small blue pamphlet, that outlines your entire retirement. I hope this has helped clear up some of those issues. Roseanne

Q 3. Dear Roseanne, I know that my contributions to my CSRS are listed on the bottom right of my pay stub. How would I find out what the USPS contributions to my CSRS are? Thanks S

A 3. Hi S, they are IDENTICAL, to your contributions, you just never see them. Roseanne

Q 4.Do you know what an RTR report is?? It appears in my employee file and no one can seem to answer this question. Thank you L.

A. 4. Hi L, An RTR report is several things. First there are more than one RTR report(s). But most likely the one you are referring to is the Retirement Thrift & RIF Correction Report. That is typically in everyone's file. It is a computer generated form that is used to determine precisely how much federal time you have. Although the title of this one report is "Retirement Thrift & RIF Correction Report" it does not necessarily mean that it was done to "correct" anything, it just happens to be the title of the report. There are several other RTR reports I have run in my prior job, but the one I mentioned is no doubt the one you are referring to. Roseanne

Q 5. I have been with the Postal Service since Sept. of 1983. I was a PMR with no benefits. Then in Sept. of 1988, I was made to resign as PMR and be re-instated as Postmaster of a level 11 office. In July of 2011 another route was DUO'd into my office. I then had to go through quite a bit to finally get my office raised to a level 13. I finally contacted NAPUS. I don't know if they interceded but my office was raised to a level 13, effective in October of 2011. Now with the new Post-plan, my office is scheduled (according to the list online) to be reduced to 4 hours per day instead of 8 as it is now. The way I understand it, we Postmasters are supposed to be able to keep our same pay and benefits for 2 whole years, no matter how many hours they lower our office. After that, the way I understand it, there will be a RIF. Then it sounds to me like I will be out of a job. My options now appear to be to try to apply to a higher level office where there is a vacant Postmaster position, take the buy-out (tiny as it is) and early retirement (with a reduced pension), or sit tight until the RIF. I do not want to go to a higher level office as Postmaster. I would like to take the early retirement but it doesn't seem like very much money to live on for the rest of my life. I am 56 years old. I will be 57 in October of this year. If I wait two years until the RIF takes effect, supposedly in June of 2014, I will just over 58 1/2 years old. Not old enough to start drawing from my TSP. It also sounds to me like the supplement for SS they pay you until age 62 is a reduced amount than you will actually receive from SS at age 62. I am also concerned that my USPS pension will mostly go to pay health insurance. I have many questions and do not know where to start. I found your site online and decided I would begin by asking you. Thank you very much for your time. D

A 5. Hi D, Everything that you said about the retirement is true. When an office is or you are reduced to a lower grade (not due your own 991 or attempt to be in another position) then yes, there is the 2 yr saved grade. With 24 years you will only draw 24% of your high 3 average salary. AND with 24 years you are looking at about $600-$650 per month as the special supplement. So I do understand your reluctance to retire with this early out. But on the bright side you do get to keep your health and life insurance, which is SO valuable and still work another job should you want to. As far as you not being old enough to draw your TSP, that's BS. I was 57 when I retired and I drew my TSP. This 59 1/2 issue comes up all the time, but if you go to and read the information you will see you can draw it as long as you are retired. Roseanne

Q 6. Hi Roseanne, Just a quick question ,I received my Personal Statement of Benefits-2012 the other day. At the bottom of the page it says total creditable service is 35 years and 4 months. It then states for optional retirement under CSRS you will receive an annuity equal to approximately 66% of your average high -3 salary. My question is I thought for each year of CSRS service worked, is equal to 2% for each year worked minus sick leave, if so why is it only 66% for 35 years and 4 months and not 70% (2 x 35= 70) ? Thank You, B

Q 7. Hi Roseanne, My name is Joe and my question is if I have an outstanding loan at retirement how does that effect my pension? Do I keep making payments or do they take them out of my check? Does the loan have to be paid at once? I need to get a loan from my tsp and retirement is less than two years. Any help is appreciated. Thank You J.

A 7. Hi Joe, I suspect you mean a TSP loan, I will assume you are a FERS employee. Your pension, as you refer to it, is the FERS annuity. Your TSP has NO bearing on that component of your retirement, as it has no bearing on Social Security money. When you retire, and you have an outstanding loan, you will be taxed HARSHLY. I would suggest that you call TSP at 1-877-968-3778 so that they can explain how an outstanding balance would affect you should you retire early. My suggestion is always pay it off before you retire, it's just messy when you don't and costs you BIG. So in effect, yes it can be done, but you take a serious financial hit, if it is not paid before you them, so at least you know what will be in front of you should you take the loan and retire. Roseanne

Q 7a. Thanks for the info Roseanne. I was talking about the TSP loan. However, I am CSRS, does that change anything?

A 7a. Yes, it does change the answer, because as a CSRS annuitant, TSP really is a bonus (for us CSRS employees). The payback is still crushing like I said, but it's not a part of your retirement, like it is for a FERS employee. Roseanne

Till we speak again...Roseanne

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