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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 May 2012
Good Day Postal Employees

......and still a-waiting!!!.....of course I mean for the early out. After all the reading, and watching CSPAN, and in touch with reliable contacts, I am doing everything I can to provide you all with accurate information, but it's still a waiting game. I will put myself out on a limb here and say when/if they approve an early out, I can see them offering a cash incentive....I don't see them adding years (to an employees' overall years of service). I simply don't see them changing the structure of federal regulations of VERA's with or without incentives. VERA / Early Out retirements have very specific rules and regulations that are requirements to being eligible for an offered early out VERA. Monetary incentives are included in the federal regulations for implementation in an early out. To approve additional years, would at MINIMUM, require them to change computer programs to incorporate "years" into service time, which is simply not there....I don't see it. I would think it would require manual calculations (to try to add "years" to service time that does not exist) on a NARCES retirement estimate. Those estimates are used for all federal employees, not just postal, so I don't see OPM changing how the annuity estimates are run for just one agency......HEY....settle's just my opinion, it could happen....I don't think it will though.

Q 1. Hi Roseanne, This is Ms. D, and you helped me fill out my paperwork for disability retirement last August (I was on crutches from a hip surgery). I just got my approval letter and should get my first check in May. The questions I have are1) when reading the big blue book (pg 259) it says that I am "subject to the 80% earnings limit". Does that mean that I could work (nothing strenuous or demanding, just for spending money) and make up to 80% of what I made when I was carrying mail for the post office? When I was calculating it I got that I could work and make up to $40,000 a year. Is that right? What are your recommendations on this matter? And 2) I received a form about Unemployment Insurance, it says to take the form to the unemployment office if/when I file a claim. Does that mean that eligible for unemployment? Should I file for unemployment with this form or should I disregard it? Thank you so much for all your help and advice. Because of you this process was pretty painless.

A 1. Hi Ms D, Great hearing from you. I hope your feeling well. Yes, if you were NOT approved for Social Security disability, there is a dollar limitation. You are able to work but the ACTUAL amount that you can earn is dependent on how much retirement annuity you get. Remember as a FERS annuitant, the second year the annuity is recalculated. Ah...40G,think about that. That sounds way too much to be a CAP, most folks don't make that a year NOT being disabled. I think it's more like 14G per year, but you need to check that out with OPM. Their number is 1-888-767-6738.
As far as unemployment, be able to receive unemployment, you must be FULLY ABLE TO BE LOOKING FOR WORK, and going this route is an accident waiting to happen....don't file for unemployment, it makes your retirement "messy". So disregard that. One additional reason, is you are being paid "disability"money for those months (or any months) that you are asking for unemployment, again too messy. And you are very welcome. I hope you are healing and enjoying retirement. Look, you are young and you can work in a job, but make sure you maintain the dollar limitation that you can work. Take care, Roseanne

R 1. That makes perfect sense...again Roseanne to the rescue. Thank you so much, Ms. D.

Q 2. If you have LWOP on your record, do you have to make it up when you retire. I have about 400 hours on my record during my career, but never any more than 100 hours in any one year, thank you. ML

A. 2, In order for LWOP without pay to have a "negative" effect, you must have MORE than 6 months of LWOP in a calendar year. It appears that is not the case with you, so you are OK. Roseanne

Q 3. Hi Roseanne, When my husband turns 65 and is eligible for Medicare Part A, and we keep our Federal Health benefit plan (BCBS), is Medicare primary and then BCBS picks up what they (medicare) does not cover? Thanks, M

A 3. Hi M, When turning 65, as far as the coverage with Medicare Part A, it becomes the PRIMARY hospital coverage. Meaning there would be nothing you are responsible for the hospital. I suspect if they were any additional charges (and they say medicare A pays ALL the hospital charges) BCBS would pick up any other charges that the hospital has billed perhaps such as therapy, tests that may not be covered by Medicare Part A. Your BCBS is your medical insurance for doctor visits, prescriptions etc....nothing changes except that Medicare pays the hospital bill...(again any charges that do not fall under what medicare pays, BCBS will). Roseanne

Q 4. Roseanne, I have about 28 years of service (3-30-1984) and am under FERS. Sept. 2010 I broke my hip and hurt two vertebra in my back at work and was back short days from Jan. - May 2011 off again because of nonunion in my hip and pain that was not under control enough to work again until early fall 2011. I never was able to work more that 4 hours a day and on 3-20-2-12 I had surgery to remove the hardware that had been used to hold my hip together. From the time I woke up from this surgery the pain I had lived with for 19 months was gone it was like they took out a knife or razor blade from my outer thigh. I am now off and recovering slowly I just don't seem to have any reserves, so I have little strength. I'm am 62 and hearing about a possible VER with monetary and maybe even extra service years.
My question to you is I won't know for several months about my ability to return full-time or if disability retirement is what's best for me. I was going to retire in Aug. 2013 so If a VERA is offered and I took it and then found disability retirement was the better choice would I still have a year to put in for disability retirement? Thank you for your good work here helping us with these important life questions. K

A 4. Hi K, For you, a disability retirement probably would be in your best interest. What I suggest you do, is to call HRSSC at 1-877-477-3273 and ask for a early out printout and a disability retirement printout. That way you would see exactly the difference in the monthly annuities. The difference in the VERA retirement (is if they offered money) VS a disability retirement is considerably different. Once you get the printouts email and let me know what you think. Let me be MUST be proactive..don't wait until you are out of sick leave or annual, because if you decide to go the disability route, it could take some time for OPM to approve the medical documentation you must provide. Additionally, as a FERS employee, you are required to file for social security disability as well. Roseanne

Q 5.Hi Roseanne, I am a USPS City Carrier close to retirement. Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.

1) On the lower right corner of the pay stub, it says 'USPS Retirement' with a dollar amount. Is this a lump sum payout to me upon retirement? 2) On pay stub, in the column next to 'Retire 8', what does the dollar amount mean, where does it go, and what is it for?
3) I am currently 63, and not collecting social security because I am still working full time. Is it better to delay collecting social security until full retirement age? I make $55,000-62,000 yearly. If I collect social security, would much of the benefit be taken away because of my income? 4) I've heard that people are waiting almost up to a year to receive their first retirement check. Is this true? Thank you for your time and consideration. P

A 5.Hi P,

1. That USPS retirement dollar amount is the amount of money YOU put into the retirement fund...those are YOUR contributions only. Should you quit, get fired etc., and you decide to take that money out, you could. No, that lump sum is NOT paid out upon retirement. Since you are a FERS employee, that amount is fairly small and there is a "matching contribution" paid by the post office (that you don't see) to OPM.
2. That 8 is a retirement code, that code 8 means you are a FERS employee. That money is collected over the 26 pay periods and then on PP 2, all of that collected over the year money, is added to the bottom figure. That is why that figure only changes on PP 2. Where it goes is to OPM where it sits until retirement.
3. Yes, it it better to delay the Social Security UNTIL you retire. One of the reasons is to NOT GET USED TO GETTING THE SS check and then when you retire and see how much your FERS annuity is (remember that amount of money you are asking me about...that is where your annuity is funded. Now of course, that money will deplete quickly. This is why your annuity is based upon 1% of your high 3 average salary, and not how much you put in the fund. What you put in the fund has no real bearing on your annuity.
4.No that is not really true. You will wait for several months for a FULL retirement check, but you receive INTERIM checks (until the annuity is completed done...and that takes a bit of time and that time is dependent upon how "difficult" your retirement is) which are about 70% of the NET, not the gross, which is where the confusion is when folks say I only got half of what was on my annuity statement.

I hope this has helped clear up your issues. If you have any more questions, please let me know. Roseanne

Q. 6. Roseanne-I'm eligible for retirement on the 3rd of May. I have been Civil Service since I started December 4, 1976. I have received my retirement book to start the process, but the figures show that I had no contributions for five years, while I was a rural carrier sub. I have my Pay stubs from that time that shows contributions being made. When I talk to the people that are to help me, I have gotten conflicting stories. One tells me that FICA was taken out, but my Social Security statements show absolutely NO contributions. Where can I go, or talk to to find out a more realistic estimate of my annuity? Thanks in advance.

A 6. The easiest way is to find your pay stubs for that period of time (when you were a sub)...or go to your eOPF thru liteblue and go to your form 50's from those "sub" years and go to the top and look to find where the retirement code..let me know what the code is. Roseanne

Till we speak again....Roseanne

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