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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 2013
Good Day Postal Employees � Before I say anything, I must thank all of the readers with gratitude for the outpouring of prayers for my daughter. We may be turning a corner this month in this journey, and I will ask that you continue your prayers and know we as a family are very grateful.

Just Sayin' � I wish I had a dollar for each time I heard that a postal employee say, that they couldn't file for disability retirement, because what is wrong with them is/was not an on the job injury.

Q 1. Hi Roseanne, I'm under the CSRS, I'm thinking about retiring Oct 1, 2013. I will have 38 years plus 2 years military (that I paid back very early in my career). I have conserved my sick leave my entire career and I have, or will have about 2250 about the time I retire. I have 285 hours of annual leave that I have carried over from last year, plus what have been advanced to me this year. That gives me 41+ yrs. What do you suggest as a good retirement date for tax purposes. Is it better to retire on Jan 1, 2014 so the annual leave is paid in the new year? Really appreciate your outlook on this. DF

A 1. Hi DF. The first thing I gotta say, RETIRE!!! You have enough (!!) years. But for someone who does retirement "regularly" I am pretty positive you will make more retired than you do working�.for a variety of reasons!!! If you are in the EAS pay scale, then waiting until Oct 1 is a date all CSRS employee's (that were in Mgmt. knew to use. Why�.because it's after the FY (fiscal year). If you are a PCES employee, the terms of your employment have bearing on the answer. If you are a craft employee then any time is OK. So let's address the Jan 1, 2014 versus Dec 31, 2013�.what is the real difference�none, timing, end of week, end of pay period, bottom line none�(again as a CSRS employee�FERS employee's don't have the luxury of retiring the first 3 days of the month as does CSRS).

What the question really should be is�.IS WHEN you will be paid for your "earned annual leave"�.that is the real question, or I should say the real issue". If you have MEGA earned annual, that you have been a-planning; a-plotting and saving for this "great escape", to be paid out to you�you would like to have that check in the year of 2014. If you retire on Oct 1, then your annual will be paid and calculated into your 2013 earnings. If you retire Dec 31, then the AL check is going to come in 2014 (same as would if you retired Jan 1 2014); and thus may be able to reduce your tax liability until 2015.

Q 2. Hi Roseanne,

I'm glad I discovered your page. My husband is very sick and we are working our way through the disability nightmare paperwork. I just received the Life insurance coverage worksheet and am totally confused when it comes to Options A, B, and C. He currently has all 3 options. When it comes to Option B, how do I choose between No Reduction or Full Reduction? He currently has 5 X for this. I'm afraid he will not live to the end of the year, and I want to be prepared financially, but don't know if it's worth keeping Option B at 5 or if I should lower the number or drop it completely. The same goes for Option C. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, M

A 2. Hi M, This is such a sensitive subject. If you have the paperwork you describe, that means that your husband has sent the first portion of the disability retirement package (SF 3112); and in turn HRSSC has sent you the Large Blue Retirement package. I would need to know if your husband has had his session on the phone with HRSSC for this disability retirement? Once you answer that, (that will let me know where you are in the process). I can then better provide a little guidance, or if interested in me completing the entire retirement paperwork via my Air Mail Retirement. This is TOO important of a decision to NOT KNOW exactly what you are doing, regardless if you use me or not. Roseanne

Q 3. Hi, Roseanne, I am a city letter carrier, and have been one since I started at the post office. I am 54 years old and I have worked for 24 years. Things have been getting very difficult at work. The nonsense that they are writing Letters of Warning, Suspension with no pay. The union has done nothing to even address the problem with management. The managers and some supervisors have no clue about mail delivery�Roseanne it's a mess out here. So my question is if I am fired, will I lose all my pension (annuity)? And thank you for all the help you provide us postal workers who really rely on you to tell us what is going on and how to make it happen. TJ

A 3. Hi TJ, Anyone can get fired and lose their retirement..anyone! Your best bet is to try to work towards your MRA, and no doubt that's at least another 4 or 5 years away. Many emails that I get are very much like yours�.looking for a light at the end of the tunnel and hoping for another early out. Let me say this to you�we all, every postal employee has had their "moment in the sun" with the post office�.some of us, have had even more than 1 moment in the sun to be real about it!!�I say that to say hang in there. Retirement is SO WORTH it�it is! As long as you are NOT ill, you can do another 4 or 5 years�you can!! You have done 25�.you can do a few more�I will tell you this�don't piss off your TSP�don't borrow on it�don't do anything other than fund it! Make a 5/4 year calendar�(I did�when I had precisely 5 years to go� I didn't know they would offer an early out�but I made a calendar and marking each day off, coming closer to retirement helped. Hang in there !! Roseanne

Q 4. Roseanne, Can a postal employee move their TSP money to an independent investor before retirement? If you can, is there any kind of a penalty for doing so? When I do retire will my military disability be stopped? I asked this last question once before but I think you misunderstood or I mis-communicated, I think you thought I had a postal disability as well as my military disability. I am a 30% disabled veteran so it's not much but want to be prepared if I am going to lose it at retirement. One other question, I get my retirement pay based on my high 3 years salary averaged out correct? So how much percentage is that figured at? Let's ballpark 60K. I have 4 plus years before I reach my MRA but I still hope for a Vera before then and want to be as prepared as possible. Thanks so much for you help and time!! MA

A 4. Hi MA, You can take your money out of TSP�you will be penalized and taxed but you can. And remember, that while employed, the postal service has MATCHING CONTRIBUTIONS.!!, and if any, and I mean any financial person out there that "suggests" that you shouldn't fully FUND TSP and your employer is matching the funds�. RUN LIKE HELL!!! I don't think they mean you any good�.think about this�if you do move your money�even if you do, the PO is STILL putting 1% into your TSP..just saying. As far as your VA disability, that will not change at all because you are retired. You don't lost any of your VA disability check because you are a federal retiree. Think about it�you receive the VA disability while you are working, so being retired has no effect on it either. It is an approval of injuries/illness as a result of your military employment. You deserve that based upon your medical information provided to VA, and retiring does not change that. An easy way to figure is to take the number of years you worked so if it is 30, then it's 30% of your high 3 average salary. If you worked 42 years, it's 42% of your high 3 salary. Whenever you get those 4 years, and I will assume that gives you 30 years, then you are looking at $60,000. X 1%= $600.00. Then $600. X 30 (yrs) = $18,000 divided by 12, gives you $1500.00 (monthly gross & before a spousal annuity factored in). Reduced by taxes, & health/life insurance's, that is only ONE of your components of your retirement. You still will have either pre 62 the Special Supplement, or at 62 Social Security, and TSP money, whatever choices you make with your TSP. I hope this has cleared up any misunderstanding that may have occurred in the other email you referenced. Hang in there!! Retirement is so worth it! �Roseanne

Q 5. Hi I am S, and I retired Jan 31, 2013. I had expected a small annual leave check for 32 hours. I did not received it. Should I have gotten paid for these unused hours ?

A 5. Hi S, Lets be clear first before you do anything. Did you really have 32 (EARNED) hours on Jan 31st? Look on your last pay stub to see what it shows as "earned"�because it's only the earned annual leave you get paid for. You don't say what your position is, but regardless if window clerk, rural carrier, all positions can have "financial issues" that would put an employee in a status of "owing" the post office money when they retire. That is why no longer are the annual leave checks automatically paid 2 weeks after retirement (ahem�like clockwork they were!!)�they are now looking to see if you owed them 15 or 20 cents. They are searching the data base(s) to make sure you don't owe THEM. Ok, so lets say you legitimately have this 32 hours of annual leave, you have checked your stubs and you KNOW you don't owe them any money�CALL your former office where you worked, PDC, post office, station/branch�wherever "checks are sent to" to see if a check is there. Understand that this is a PAPER CHECK that is typically mailed or picked up. With this being the middle of May and you retired the end of January, yea,nWAY TOO LONG!! � Something is wrong.. It's either, you are NOT owed any annual leave; OR you owe them money; OR, the check was cut and sitting in the desk of a supervisor at your old office, so I would call them first. AND if the check is not there I would try the timekeeping office in your particular district or area because THEY would know where those checks are/were. Roseanne

R 5. Yes there was a total of 32 hours of annual on my last check. I was a window clerk. If I owed the Postal Service any money would they not have given me some information about my debt. Thank you for your response. I will call the office to check on it.

Q 6. Hi Roseanne! Is the FERS supplement subject to the same income limits that social security recipients are subject to? I always enjoy reading your column. I hope your daughter is doing well. Thank you, RP?

A 6. Hi RP, If you look at the special "supplement"�it really means just that � supplement. Supplementing (for) your social security (payment) until you reach age 62. When looking at it from that perspective�then it makes sense that YES, there is income limits associated with the special supplement. Understand this - always, when you are dealing with $$ that the federal government is "paying" you, and there is a "limitation" on earnings, or just some "special criteria" associated with that money, they will ALWAYS FIND OUT � always - and you will always owe them back. Take care, Roseanne

So why did I "go there"? Because this is a prime area where I see retiree's getting into financial trouble. Well for one, look at the retiree's that went with this last early out (w/incentive), and consider the number of those that were FERS employees. They are eligible for the below: (Provided @MRA )

1. FERS check
2. Special Supplement check (if at MRA) (or will when reach MRA)
3. Incentive Payment
4. TSP
5 Part Time job (anywhere,Except a Federal Employer).

So all the above is doable, but I would make sure that I do this first: 1. FIND OUT from OPM or SS what is the precise about of money you can make without it affecting your Spec Supp or SS check. (Everyone is not the same�.age plays a part in this too). 2. If you do decide to work, be very selective about working part time, because you need to look at the dollar figure and divide it by 52, to know how much you can earn every week. Although, even if working a part time job within the "earnings limitation" and then if married... And for some added fun, should you live in a state that does NOT tax federal pensions; then have part time earnings, that make it unbearable when filing taxes at the end of the year. The moral of THIS story, don't work anywhere else unless you crunch the numbers first � KNOW if you are losing anything. � - I guess my words would be "IF working reduces ANY of your retirement benefits�why in the world would you!" DO YOUR HOMEWORK, and factor in any incentive money in your effort to minimize your tax liability.

However, that is not to say that a second job is not a GOOD thing. It's a great thing for some! Just don't make too much money. Retirees that are "our" age, are just a perfect employee for part time jobs. We don't need health benefits, we damn sure don't want 40 hours a week, we are excellent workers (have to be�we retired) we are former federal employees (that also helps in establishing integrity). It could help transition you over from the "hyper-drive" mode that you've done for the last 30 or so years at the post office, to a more mellow "doing something" mode, instead of just STOPPING altogether. It can be a "interesting" transition, that maybe a part time job could bridge a gap. In a few columns ago, I shared that the first 6-8 months of retirement can be a roller coaster ride itself, and it takes time to really transition into retirement. YOU just got to find that magical number that if you want to work, so that you actually don't lose any money. Till we speak again,�. Roseanne

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