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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 March 2012
Good Day Postal Employees: Yea, I have been reading ALL about it!! I have deep concern for FERS employees, (who have a 3 tiered retirement program) and the potential of losing the Special Supplement paid by OPM to the FERS retiree, supplementing the Social Security component until age 62, when they are first able to collect Social Security.

When you take a good look at the FERS retirement program, it is based on the employee's MRA (Minimum Retirement Age). Which by the way is NOT THE SAME FOR EVERYONE. Your MRA is dependent on the year you were born!!
Even so, FERS was designed to be a 3 tiered program, and all of the tiers are NOT OF EQUAL WEIGHT. Meaning that each component, (FERS, Social Security and TSP) is not one third each. Not even close!! If these massive changes take place in the retirement system, and the supplement is discontinued, then it pretty much forces ALL FEDERAL EMPLOYEES,(FERS) to either live on 2 portions of their retirement until age 62; or not retire at all until age 62. In all the FERS retirements that I have seen, so many have very little, TOO LITTLE, in the TSP fund to carve out a decent monthly annuity that will last them for life. If you are NO WHERE NEAR retirement, you need to review how much you are putting in TSP and ensure that you are contributing at a level that requires the Agency is matching those funds. I also have concerns about changing from the high 3 to a high 5. If you go back to my column July 2011, you will see how a high 3 versus a high 5 looks like.

Oh... the prospect of an early out....on hold! From what I am reading, they are dragging this out and right now, I still feel there will be an early out...but I will still hold on to what I have been saying....I don't see BIG MONEY flowing for you to leave.

Q. 1 - Hi Roseanne, I have been trying to get an answer to my exempt status since July 2009. No one will give me a written answer with specific references. In 2003 I took an EAS 16 Exempt Postmaster position in a first class office. I supervised one rural carrier and two PTF Clerks. The clerk hours totaled over 40 hrs per week. When my clerk retired (over 2 years ago) and again recently, I was denied a replacement for that position. This has pretty much left me working most Saturdays for at least 3-4 hours with my remaining PTF clerk so that we can get the mail to my rural carrier in time for his scheduled departure time. Also since that time, the relocation of my largest mailer resulted in the office being downgraded from first class and F4 hours were reduced to reflect the downgrade. I was told I am still FLSA exempt as long as the office level (16) stays the same. I now only supervise one Rural Carrier and One PTF clerk who gets around 30 hrs a week. My question has been: Are these two employees (One rural carrier and one PTF clerk) the equivalent of two full time employees as needed to remain exempt or should I now be classified as a Non Exempt employee? I have asked my MPOO, the District HR, Area HR, and even emailed VP. I have received a couple responses over the last 32 months but mostly just get shuffled around and put off. Can you please enlighten me as to what determines an Exempt from a non exempt and where I can find the reference? Thanks for any help you can give, G

A 1. - Hi G, You should call the MPOO and ask for the SWCS for your office for the last 5 years. The SWCS is the Service Workload Credit. Every 2 years offices are supposed to go through this process to see if they should be upgraded or downgraded. In either case, the numbers can dictate if you go into the "Zone of Tolerance", for an upgrade or downgrade of the office. Now an office can be upgraded or downgraded immediately if the numbers put that office over the numbers or under the numbers for the next level. Are you familiar with these terms? Another way to do this, is to review reports or ask to see the Form 150 for your office. That is where these actions take place. Once you see this form then you might have all the information you need to get some answers. Roseanne

Q 1. (a) - First thanks for your reply. This has been ongoing for so long I have trouble keeping on target and probably give more info than needed, thus clouding the question. What I am trying to find out is whether or not I should be classified as EXEMPT or NON EXEMPT. My employee complement has been decreased from one (Full Time) Rural Carrier and two PTF Clerks (splitting 40+ weekly hours) to One(Full Time ) Rural Carrier and one PTF Clerk (approx 30 hrs weekly). The office downgrade from first class to second is correct as revenue units are down. Obviously not all level 16 postmasters are classified exempt as my neighbor office is a level 16 and is Non Exempt. Exempt & Non Exempt is determined by the number of employees one supervises (2 or more FTEE), right? How does my PTF clerk qualify as a Full time equivalent position? Thanks, G.

A 1 (a) - Based on the information I re-reviewed you probably should be non-exempt, but my answer is determined by what you have told me. I did understand that when I answered the question. The SWCS can also determine many things in an Associate Office, including an exempt or non-exempt status for the Postmaster. If you don't have 80+hours between 2 or more employees then you should be non exempt so you are able to be paid OT. Lord knows you got to be working 60-70 hrs a week yourself. Have you spoken to NAPUS or someone from the League of Postmasters? If you have not, I would suggest that you do. Not that they can change what is going on, but it could be that a new SWCS should be done on your office and your NAPUS or League President may be able to intercede on your behalf. Roseanne

Q 2. - I am 55 and retiring in June. I am Civil Service. My question is what should I do with my TSP. Should I keep my money there or take it out and put in an IRA. Do I pay any penalties or taxes. Do I have a window of opportunity to do this. Thanks.

A 2. - Hi T, You have a variety of things that you can do with your TSP money. This question has so many options that you can take concerning your TSP account. I would suggest that you call 1-877-968-3778 (TSP Board) and request the TSPBK 02 (they may tell you to go to on line and read it..) but in that booklet it will show you all the options you have with your TSP account. As far as taking it out and putting it in an IRA or another 401k (yes you have a certain time limit that you can roll the money over, if you wait too long you will be HEAVILY taxed). And yes you pay taxes on the amount you take, unless you roll it over. Remember, that all of the money that has been deducted from your paycheck going into TSP was NOT TAXED. TSP has options such as single life level annuity, increasing annuities, and even monthly payments, as well as partial withdrawals. It all depends on IF you need this to supplement your retirement or its just a savings account of sorts. Roseanne

Q 3. - I will turn 55 in June 2013. I worked as a civilian for the Navy from 1972-1976 and I resigned due to my wife's health condition. Additionally, I took all my retirement money out of the CSRS system, to help with the high medical expenses we incurred. In June of 1984 I was hired by the Post Office and was told I was listed as a CSRS/Offset . My question is am I eligible to retire in 2013 if I don't have 30 years of contributing pension. Thank you, P.

A 3. - Hi P, The easiest way for you to determine if your civilian Navy time is being credited to your retirement (or not), is to request an annuity estimate from HRSSC. You should additionally request the RTR Retirement Correction's not about there being a correction necessarily, that is just the name of the report. You can see from both pieces of information IF your prior Navy is being calculated, and what your retirement eligibility date is, or when you can retire. Once you determine if this time is credited to you, you can contact HRSSC to see if you are eligible to "buy the Navy time back". Call HRSSC at 1-877-477-3273, I am sure they would be very happy to assist you in this process. Roseanne

Q 4. - Hi Roseanne, I have written you twice in the past and your answers were right on the money. I didn't particularly care for your answers, but I am writing to tell you that you were right, on every account. You probably knew that when I wrote you back, telling you that you were an asshole, since I was very displeased with your responses to me. Well, I took your advise, I have cleaned up my act and I am going to work everyday. I am on a Last Chance Agreement, and I want to thank you for your stern lecture, and your expert advise. When I asked you "if it's MY SICK LEAVE", why am I being disciplined?" your response was very harsh and I said some things I want to apologize for. You saved my job, just by your, as I called it "your management bullshit advice". It finally clicked, all I can say is I am sorry and Thank You. An Avid Reader, Yours Truly, ..L

A 4. - L, Sometimes we all need a reality check. I was just helping you reset your gears, and I am proud of you. Your sick leave is a benefit, don't nickel and dime it, it is too valuable. Roseanne

Till we speak again......... Roseanne

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