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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 May 2013
Good Day Postal Employees!! I want to thank all of you out there in Postalmag world, for your continued prayers, well wishes and concern expressed for my daughter in her fight with breast cancer. We thank you for your prayers as we continue chemo, and this long road ahead.

A few months ago, I had the pleasure of reading through a book that was sent to me to review; since I write a column with many references to retirement. The author James (Jim) Brass has written a book that I thought is really an eye opener, for those who are invested in TSP, or really any 401K type of entity. The book is titled "How to Make Sure Your Money Lasts In Retirement". In doing retirements all over the country, I have seen figures in TSP from "are you kidding me" to "ARE YOU KIDDING ME"!! One of the questions I get many times is about TSP & how to "figure" the money; or how much is ENOUGH!!. This book gives ranges from $200,000 and higher, W/and without COLA additives and many different percentage return on investment figures. I recommend that you read this well written book that gives tips and information about your money in retirement. In the back of the book it says Made in the USA, Charleston, SC 11 October 2012. The author may be contacted at This is one of those books, written well, understandable, that may help open your eyes to financial reality.

Q 1. Dear Roseanne, I am becoming close enough to retirement to begin to figure out that everyone I ask or talk to about retirement has a different story. I have called our local district office and asked to speak to someone that could explain what and how much life insurance I will have when I retire. They told me to call shared services in North Carolina. I did call, but I could not get any answers to my question about life insurance, and what I would have in retirement. When I got my last paycheck, it looked like the amount they are taking out of my check has doubled. If this insurance is a good deal, then I will keep it. But if it's not should I cancel it? I am FERS with 28 years and 3 years military. I am looking for an early out, like everyone else. I would appreciate any opinion you have on this. I have read your column for a couple of years, and know someone you spoke to on the phone. BTW, he was amazed you called him�Thanks for your time, LST.

A 1. Hi LST, I hear ya!! That is why I write this column�.it can be information overload; So much (relative to personnel matters) is left for you to decide, with no real understanding of what you are choosing (or why). And as I always say, everyone is a little different. There is no 1 real answer fits "all" every time. It really begins with when you are hired and what insurance options you took during (orientation / probationary period) what I call "the formative years" in the post office. So strictly speaking on FEGLI Insurance Options, A - B - C, the premiums are based on your age. These insurance (Options A,B,C are NOT the "benefit", as it relates to retirement �benefits�), as you are paying full price�.or based on your age. Now understand that when you were hired, no matter what was your health condition, you had life insurance coverage (without a physical). Your benefit insurance is the Basic Life Insurance (in which you don't pay for, and never have, as an employee). You didn't say but that BIG $$ change, means to me you turned 60, recently. So now, what do you? Right�'Well, KNOW THIS FIRST�..NO ONE takes OPTION B into retirement unless they are very very sick. Every 5 years, the premium nearly doubles. So this is a very expensive insurance as you age, BUT, really has been expensive all along.

What do I mean by expensive all along?�because all the time we could have been paying on an insurance (all the years while we were young and generally healthy, we could have gotten a life insurance at a "decent" rate. Now we are older so the rate for even a 100G policy can be pretty expensive. Depending on health issues, some potential retirees choose to keep the expensive Option B due to health and knowing any life insurance could potentially be as expensive as Option B can be. You may NEED to keep Option B, or choose another policy. But read below before you do that�.

You asked for my opinion so here it is: I look at it this way "you don't want to be insurance rich and monthly poor". Insurance is for burial expenses�not paying off a house; not sending a grandkid to college�but for final death expenses, so that is not a financial burden on your family. So WHEN you look at it that way, really only Basic Life insurance (which is the best deal) is what you should take into retirement. If you are married, the spousal annuity should be sufficient�(the typical response I get for having Option B is so the "spouse" has something to live on). If you do your retirement correct, the spouse will have something to live on. I hope this has helped given you some real "options" as it relates to FEGLI Options A, B, and C. Roseanne

Q 2. Hi Roseanne, I'm just a little confused about the supplemental social security. I am a 51 years old and under FERS with 27 and 8 months of service. If I would retire this year would I still receive the supplemental when I reach 56 years of age? Also I do believe that I have read in the past that if early out is offered (fingers crossed) that I would receive the supplemental right away and not wait until age 56? Thank you for any info on this. It is so important to know what will all be available with such important retirement decisions and I am so thankful to have found you!

Also more importantly I have been praying for you and your family that your daughter will be ok. MGM

A 2. HI MGM, Thank you for the prayers concerning my daughter. I got back to Ohio yesterday, so I am here sitting with her, as I read my emails. I am so grateful for the prayers of those who read my column. Let's talk about the supplemental payment from FERS (not Social Security). There is an eligibility issue related to the Special Supplement. You must meet the criteria to even be eligible for it. In the example above, you are not eligible. Again, never a one stop answer fits all because mostly, and not being funny, you really don't know HOW to ask the question or even the knowledge sometimes to know a question needs to be asked.

SO here is the skinny:

Regular Retirement (age MRA & AT LEAST 30 yrs of service; OR age 60 & at least 20 years of service; OR age 62 w/5 yrs of service. ELIGIBLE FOR SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT

MRA + 10 Retirement You must have at least 10 years of credible federal service AND be AT LEAST at your MRA. NOT ELIGIBLE FOR SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT �.EVER!

Disability Retirement You must have at least 18 months of credible federal service & BE APPROVED BY OPM based on medical issues. NOT ELIGIBLE FOR SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT..EVER!

Early out Retirement You must have 25 years of credible service at any age; OR age 50 w/ at least 20 years of credible service. ELIGIBLE FOR SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT IF AT MRA, IF NOT AT MRA, WHEN YOUR TURN YOUR MRA YOU GET THE SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT

MANY TIMES, folks try to help each other out by giving them information that they know someone had told them. And I understand trying to help, who wouldn�t. But each case is "typically unique" in itself�sort of an oxymoron. Just change a few things in your email and I could have given you a totally different answer. But now you got the real information and can make a better informed choice, should you be presented with the possibility of an early out. The type of retirement you were talking about was the MRA+10, and that is such a "rip-off", you practically get nothing after the age reduction, AND really only makes sense under very harsh issues, and so I am hoping that is not the way you were going�TRUST ME ON THIS!! This is why I write a column�to warn folks of the choices they are given, could very well not be what is best for you, but you wouldn't even KNOW it until after you did it and retired. Take care, Roseanne

Q 3. Hi Roseanne! First let me say that my family is keeping your family in our prayers for as long as it takes. My question has to do with retirement. If I apply for a disability retirement from the postal service can I also apply for S.S. disability? Thank you D

A 3. Hi D, First ****IF YOU ARE A FERS employee***: you MUST file for Social Security disability retirement in "conjunction" with filing for FERS disability. If you look on the retirement form (SF 3107), you will see where it "identifies" that SS disability must be filed, (and they want proof from SS..either the "confirmation number" if you go "on-line" to file or paperwork). Additionally when you file for FERS Disability Retirement, the form SF3112 must be done in conjunction with the SF 3107. If you are a CSRS employee, there is NO requirement to file for SS disability because the "theory" is that if you are a CSRS employee, you don't have enough SS credits to EVEN apply for SS Disability. Roseanne

R 3. Thank you very much Roseanne !!

Q 4. Roseanne: I retired January 31, 2013. My question is on the FERS supplement. What is the waiting time on this supplement? Do I need to fill out any other paperwork for this or do I just wait till I hear from OPM? My annuity interim amount is around $900.00 a month after taxes. Thank You RLA

A 4. Hi RLA, First the Special Supplement has it "own" little time frame going on. Provided you are eligible for the Special Supplement ( and I will assume you are for the purposes of responding), the supplement seems to come in about the time that your retirement is completed (that would be around 70-90 days). OPM is the initiator of the Special Supplement, and they ARE who PAYS you the special supplement. Any papers to be filled out will be generated to you by OPM. And yes, it is sort of a waiting game�.but eventually all the kinks are worked out and you will begin to receive your special supplement. And remember this will stop the month and the year your turn 62. Roseanne

Q 5. Am hoping that your daughter is doing well...Illness of this magnitude is SO hard to deal with (esp being your own child). I had FMLA for 15 years, and of course it's been denied due to new "restrictions". Can deal with that. My question is: can I call in sick everyday for a month (prior to retirement) and not be penalized? I would of course, not go to work, so would not have to provide a Dr's statement. Will this harm me in anyway? From what I understand, I'll be paid for my sick leave when I retire, so why not take it BEFORE I retire? Same, same, in other words. Of course, I don't want to jeopardize my retirement...Please advise (when you are able). Bless you for the service you provide. MT

A 5. Hi M I am so glad you wrote before you did all this!!! Wow�.if I could tell you how many times I hear an email like yours��.THAT IS SO PROFOUNDLY WRONG it makes me shake!! Now sometimes you guys get your words screwed up, and mean something entirely different than what you wrote�But what you wrote is just flat out WRONG!! You are NOT PAID FOR YOUR SICK LEAVE����.EVER��.EVER��EVER!! Your sick leave if CSRS is calculated and then (+ADDED) to the overall years, months and days that you have worked (credible service) in the government. Those years, months and days are used to calculate your monthly pension, annuity (whatever you want to call it). If you are a FERS employee and you retire prior to 2014, what the sick leave balance is calculated and then reduced by 50%, and then those years, months and days are used to calculate your monthly annuity. In 2014 the sick leave will be applied at 100% just like CSRS. So that part is cleared up. What you DO get paid for is your EARNED annual leave (not sick leave). Nothing over 440 for a craft and 560 for EAS. Meaning if you carried over leave, then spent an entire year and did not use any annual leave, and then the next year retire and still not use leave, you still will only be paid for what the maximum..(there are a few caveat's to that..but that is the most "typical information".

So with that being said about sick leave and annual leave�.let's really talk about what you are trying to do. You want to USE your sick leave for one month prior to your retirement. I assume you know you have 20 days�(or need 20 days of sick leave for a whole month�you will be able to reduce that number if the month you retire has any holidays. So 20 days is also equal to 160 hours� ALL THAT BEING SAID�.YOU ASKED AND I AM GOING TO TELL YOU�DON'T TRY THAT!! At least not the way YOU want to�.you're leaving right, your are retiring, so!!!�spend the CO-PAY!!! YOU know you must get a doctor to "affirm" you have�.I don't care, whatever your sickness is, if you are going to try to burn SL. To think that you would try to just roll out�no call in; no doctor�s note; nothing�they will EAT YOU UP!! Calling in everyday is just going to piss them off, and they have the RIGHT to discipline you, which could "delay" your retirement moving at a normal pace. I am telling you this from my perspective (wearing the hat) as "Manager of HR", which is why you should take my advice, I am right, at least from a management view. As a fellow employee, future fellow retiree, and as Roseanne�you have worked too long to get TO retirement�do it the right way�I do know what I am talking about. Thank you for your prayers for my daughter.

Till we speak again���Roseanne

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