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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 2013
Good Day Postal Employees!!!

From the emails I have been receiving all over the country, the "loss" of staffing as a result of the VERA for Clerks has taken a toll on everyone. Many of you out there have written just to tell me how difficult it has been; or that management is coming down harder on employee's as it relates to discipline. Some of you have related specific incidents to me, that you have felt were unfair or just simply ridiculous. I understand everyone's frustration, as I also understand the frustration of being a management employee. As I have written before, many times the course of action(s) taken by a Supervisor, Postmaster, Manager, or even a District Manager for that matter, may have had absolutely NO input on the decision(s) that they are required to carry out.

Many times in management, more than I can count, action plans are developed in Headquarters, pushed to the Area Offices, to be carried out by each of the Districts. It does not mean that everyone or even anyone agrees with the action plans that HQ has initiated. If you are given instructions to implement an office closing, or reduce staffing by not filling vacant positions, there is no real internal negotiations, it has been decided. Each district has it's own set of unique differences and sometimes that could alter what a district does, but generally, when HQ "blesses it", it is rolled out to the field. I say that to say, everywhere in the country, all Districts, Post Office's, NDC, & Plants are feeling the pressure of job vacancies, timekeeping errors, higher than average discipline being issued, and high sick leave usage. I have been told this phrase a lot it's the "NEW NORMAL". This has been written to me many many times, so it must be what they say when you object to some new rule or way to complete a job function. I keep telling you all�..there HAS TO BE A FULL RESTRUCTURE, in order to gain control of our Postal Service.

Q 1. - Dear Roseanne,
I read your column every month and very much enjoy it. My husband just retired on Dec 1. I know that you say everything should work out that he should have received his terminal check two weeks later and then his first check from OPM the month following. Well he did not receive his terminal check until 1/4/13 and we are still waiting for his first OPM check as of 1/8/13. ASC did not forward his file to OPM until 12/31/12. Any idea when he could expect his first payment? Or why there was such a delay in processing. He turned in all his paper work starting in August and everything was in order. The letter from ASC said it could take 5 to 6 weeks to receive his first interim payment from OPM. I hope this isn't the case, it's very distressing that after 35 years they can't even make sure he gets paid in a timely manner, thanks, DG

A 1. Hi DG, thank you and appreciate you reading the columns. I do my best to try to help folks during this time when it seems no one can tell you anything. I know one thing....I have NEVER WROTE that a retiree would receive his first check from OPM one following the retirement...that never happens. I have a time line that is pretty accurate, and 1 month is not in it! As far as the terminal check is concerned, sometimes they will look for any "outstanding" monies owed the PO before issuing the last check that includes all earned annual leave. This is new because of the many employees that do have outstanding balances such as window clerks having owed money due to shortages in their drawer, or advanced annual leave etc. The date of the terminal check has no real bearing on how fast OPM does the retirement. Once the retirement is sent to HRSSC, it is split and part of is goes to Eagan ASC for validation of service, salary history etc. Then they forward that information to OPM. BUT OPM has been working on the retirement from the point of time HRSSC sent it to them.
So let me give you a typical time frame for a December 1 retirement (last day of work was Nov 30th). And let me tell you this....that although his retirement date is Dec 1, just like Social are paid one month in even at that, this December check would not even be due to you, until Jan 1. Of course and of course they are no where near done with the retirement.
Between Jan 15-22...first letter from OPM acknowledging retirement package
Between Jan 30-Feb 8 ...second letter from OPM with the CSA or CSF number depending if employee was CSRS or FERS
Between Feb 15- 23 first INTERIM CHECK (about 80% of what the net check will be)\
Between Feb 28- Mar 19 second INTERIM CHECK (about 80% of what the net check will be)
April 1 Settle up check...the shortages from the first two interim checks, and one full check
May 1 First regular check
June or July you will receive a blue and white pamphlet that outlines the retirement as a whole and gives all the financial information relative to his retirement.
This time line is typical, meaning there is nothing outstanding about this retirement such as "higher level" in the past, or periods of LWOP, or unpaid military time. I hope this was helpful. Please let me know after you begin receiving this information as dated above how correct I am. I know that all the retirements I did this year, I use this time line, and all my clients call or email me to tell me how on the money I was with the dates. Roseanne

Response 1. Roseanne, Thank you for writing back to me about this issue. I must have seen that time line in one of the retirement blogs on PostalMag. Sorry for attributing it to you. Just to update you on my husbands pay status, fortunately for us it wasn't as bad as you pointed out. His first interim check arrived on Jan 23 and his second arrived on Feb 1. So I guess we are on a regular pay status now, just waiting for OPM to catch up and pay him the full amount. Reading your column today someone said that the phone sessions were unhelpful. My husband watched the videos on Liteblue to help him fill out his paperwork and found they answered his questions sufficiently to fill it out correctly. You are also correct in stating that it takes at least a month to receive your final pay check. I wasn't even looking for it to come to the office and was surprised when my supervisor said that it came in, there is so much they neglect to tell you about all of this. Wow!! You are providing a great service to all retiring postal employees who know about this site. Thank you so much for all you do! I am not looking forward to going through this myself in a few years. DG

Q 2. Hi Roseanne. I have been a sub for almost six years until recently. I became a regular rural carrier on January 12, 2013. I received my first paycheck last Friday and noticed that I am not under the retirement of 8-Fers like everyone else. I am paying almost three times more out of my check than everyone else. Under my retirement with FERS it shows a C FERS ARE and it shows FICA Code C next to it. What is this??? Is this a tax? I already am paying into social security. I can't get ANY help from my postmaster or HR. I even spoke with someone with Accounting in Eagan. I just want to know if all that money they are taking out of my check will be there for me when I retire. Or will it be going towards taxes? We have a lot of issues at our post office in CITY/STATE. We have a new postmaster for about the last 3 or 4 months and so many of us are not getting paid. I still have not been paid for a route I worked on November 2nd last year. Others are missing for different days and routes of pays. One sub is owed 4 days of pay. Every pay period carriers AND clerks are not getting what they worked. I have been in constant contact with the union regarding the issues. It is very disappointing because I looked forward to working with the PO for so long and now to be going through the way we are being treated is very sad. My postmaster won't even look at me when I am trying to have a conversation with her regarding my pay or other issues. She even puts her hand up at talk to the hand and just walks away. It is so humiliating. Another thing, our United States Flag hardly ever gets put up anymore. I find that very disrespectful and unpatriotic. For the last two weeks at least, I have had to tell them that the flag is still not up. Last friday and monday it was not put up at all. I was told yesterday from a clerk "what's it to you? why do you care?" Just an unbelievable response from someone that served in the military. So, I am just getting started in my retirement savings. I am 42 years old and could use any recommendations you might have regarding this. Thank you for your time towards helping all of us. I appreciate it very much. Have a blessed day! CM

A 2. Hi CM, First, once you receive a paycheck that shows you are a CAREER employee, then we can go through it. If that is the pay stub you are referring to in the email�THEN LOOK at the box that says "retire" and the code for FERS is 8, my first question �what do you have in the little teeny box that says retirement? Better yet, if you could scan me a picture of the pay stub, then I can review it to see what you are seeing and then let you know what all of it means. As far as your office not putting up the flag daily perhaps that was a direct order from the PM or from the District Office due to an incredible work load. However, I sincerely doubt that the actual 5 minutes it takes to put the flag up and 5 minutes to take it down, was coming from UPPER management. The public (customers) look for the flag as a symbol that it IS THE POST OFFICE they are at. I understand your concern, and why you care, as just as soon as 2 customers call that District Office, and tell them that the flag at the XYZ Post Office in ANYSTATE, USA you can believe that flag will be going up EVERY DAY after that. Roseanne

Q 3. Dear Roseanne, I have been a city carrier for the past 31 years. I was planning on retiring at the end of March but now with the talks of incentives should I wait awhile and see what happens? I have my blue book complete,and I am taking the retirement counseling at the end of February. Also, after I send my retirement blue book into HR there is no changing your mind�..Correct? I don't know what to do. Any advice you have would sure help. Thank You, E.

A 3. Hi E, It's always a toss up! I retired with an early out in 2009, and about 8 months after I did, they did another early out for management, but this time with a 20,000 incentive�so you just never know. You also don't know what will happen either in terms of work either, this is a very difficult time for the organization. Very few thought that the PO would attempt to stop Saturday delivery�but they are doing their best to try. If they succeed, then the need for that T-6 carrier all over the country is it is possible from that perspective regarding an early out. But waiting on it totally depends on how badly you want to retire or see if they offer an incentive to retire, either way, it's really about you and if you are ready to retire or not�.with or without an incentive. And of course you can change your mind if you are retiring and it's NOT an EARLY OUT. You have until the close of business on that day to rescind your paperwork�..but my advise would be, if you are on the fence wait a month or so to see if you are really ready. Pulling it back is a HARDSHIP on everyone, YOU, YOUR DISTRICT, your supervisor, YOUR PAY!!! HRSSC, who has to undo everything they have already done...everyone. So be sure, and if not, give it a month or two�.continue to work and see if you can live on the amount of money in retirement... then re-evaluate your decision. Roseanne

Q 4. I think your column is very informative. I visit PostalMag frequently and many people on the site are fans of your articles because you know what you are talking about; and your answers are very helpful for the people that are looking for the right answer. Thanks for your continued help with our questions. I am a letter carrier with almost 34 years of service counting my military time (which I bought back). All the gloom and doom of the articles on PostalMag and such makes me wonder about retiring. The article was about the Post Office running out of money and not being able to pay their employees. If such a thing were to happen and you were already retired, is it true that if anything happens to the Post Office, since you were retired, you would not be effected?? When you retire, are you now covered by the OPM and would you be locked in to get the pension money you retired on.. Thanks for any info you can give me because as you know, it is nervous time out here waiting for the Early Out shoe to drop for Letter Carriers.. Can you also elaborate on if you can access your Thrift Savings if there were an early out or would you have to wait for 59 1/2 years of age, thanks, AB

A 4. HI AB, First you would be, as I am, and all retirees, safe as it relates to your annuity, in particular CSRS�.flat out!! I would think by your years (34) you were CSRS but since you bought back your military time AND because you refer to 59 1/2 and only FERS employees even go there, I know you are FERS. Do you realize that this 59 1/2 issue deals with just TSP (and not the OPM federal annuity)�and typically for most employees, the 59 1/2 issue means NOTHING. -- If you retire as a FERS employee and are at your MRA, you don't have to wait until 59 1/2 to begin to collect on your TSP annuity, that is just misunderstood information. As far as the early out for carriers�well I am doing a retirement for a Union President of the NALC next week, who is coming to see me from a different state. His term is up in October, so he is retiring in November. He said he didn't think that an early out was on the horizon soon enough, (at least for him) and he was leaving in November�and would be leaving earlier if not for his union position. That speaks volumes to me in terms of if an early out was coming for carriers soon. It would be at the very least "anticipated" by the NALC, and he, as the president of the NALC in his state, would be aware from a union perspective if this was close to happening. Roseanne

Q 5. Thank you Roseanne for your work helping all of us in the P.O. I am writing to you to help answer a question regarding the wording in VERA. It says " Any age with 25 years of service" Does that mean a full 25 working years or anniversary date ?? I was hired 9/26/1987. I am working in my 25th year. Would i be eligible for a VERA ?? No need for you to respond quickly. This was a discussion i had with another employee. I guess you are settling a bet.. even though we didn't make one. THANK YOU again for your monthly page in PostalMag. P

A 5. P, Let me say, "excellent question"! First just by the fact that you asked it in the way you did, leads you to believe there is always "fine printing" in nearly everything. When talking about working a "full 25 years"�that is one issue or anniversary date, another issue. So why do I say that? The fact that many employees work in a "non-career" position prior to becoming full time has many employees confused as how those dates relate to overall retirement eligibility.

If you have 24 years and 10 months, you are not eligible to retire under early out�.you must have 25 full years by the "effective date of the retirement". Meaning when the "VERA offer" comes out in Jan for April (example), and in January you have 24 years and 10 months..the "effective date is factored in to see WHO is eligible in example. Another example where the BIG confusion comes in is non-career years. Non career years can be credible for retirement eligibility�BUT NOT FOR MONEY! This is the big issue with many employees. SO here is that example, an employee gets hired as a TE carrier and works for 3 years, then gets converted to a career PTF. His anniversary date is his CAREER EOD date, but those non-career years could bring him to 25 if during an early out he only has 22 career years. But they annuity would only be calculated on the 22 years. There are more scenario's but I thought this one is the most common issue. Let me know if this is the answer you were looking for. Roseanne

Response 5. Thank you Roseanne, I won the bet!!! P

Till we speak again��.Roseanne

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