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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 2014
Good Day Postal Employees:

I would like to begin thanking everyone for their prayers for Hope. She is still in remission, and we pray that she continues the fight this dreadful disease.

This has been one of those months where so many of you have written to me in the hopes that I will have some miracle answer to fix what is wrong with the PO, or give you some tools to figure out "your" specific problems. From the changing of RCD and ACD dates..meaning�your RCD has been one date, and you send in your paperwork for retirement, and then you find out your RCD has been incorrect for years. Perhaps it�s a month off, or maybe it�s a year off. Generally this was due to improper credit of non-career time. Certainly finding out AFTER you have sent in your paperwork does NOTHING for the resentment you already have about not being given good information, or the fact that you really are NOT eligible to retire.

There are things that YOU CANNOT FIGHT�.this is one of them!! Yes, I know they were wrong�I know�retirement computation dates, and annuity computation dates have been very confusing�.for years. This is why they created the system of RTR (Retirement, Thrift, RIF). Prior to the RTR system, personnel employees would review regulations and dates and manually enter credible service time. (Credible Service is what is used to base years (of service) on, so that your retirement can be calculated (based on your high 3 average salary times the number of years of credible service)). As the Manager of Personnel�..a mandate came out from HQ, that by a certain date�EVERY POSTAL EMPLOYEE HAD TO HAVE AN RTR performed on their employment history. That date has long passed�.it was well before I retired. If I were to give a guess�.I would say that around 2006 was the year that it was mandated that all had to be done. So if an RTR is being done on you, I would be reviewing my eOPF to see if one has been done before, and question why another one.

When an employee has had non-career time, there are very specific dates that allow it to be "credited" for retirement. Sometimes the non-career years can be credible for retirement money and sometimes the years are only credible for years and NOT money. And as confusing as this sounds, it was. Therefore the creation of RTR, because (initially) the vast numbers of employees that were found to be in the WRONG retirement system. This RTR system was designed to "correctly" calculate retirement dates, as well as defining what retirement system you should be in. Recently I have had a number of emails that you,�yes you!! for years�thought�. and was on paper (your PS Form 50) that you were a FERS employee. Only to find out, after an RTR was performed, that you were CSRS. VERY VERY ugly for the post office. AND the same ugly if you were "thought" to be CSRS and are really FERS. UGLY!! The amount of money that is spent correcting employees retirement plans is thru the roof. And so it is the same with years that were "added" or improperly credited as "credible service time" but in reality were not entitled because it was outside of the time frame that allowed it to be credible. This is why I implore you to look at your eOPF. You can be in control�but YOU have to do for YOU, because no one else will or can. Don�t be the one who writes and tells me that you just found out that you can�t retire because THEY had your "dates wrong", and now your life is turned upside down. I am telling you�.check your eOPF now and consistently�..I know you say that no one is telling you anything�.well wrong�because I am telling you, and now you have no excuse. Be as interested in your eOPF as you are about your paycheck. Some of you will listen, and some of you will thank me, because you "caught" something now that would be an issue in the future.

Q 1. Roseanne, There is an argument amongst us, that with the PMG's last report, retirees are going to be forced to take Medicare part B as their primary insurance. I had asked you about this before. I thought I had the option to defer part B, and keep my Blue cross as my primary. I am 62 now, and will file for social security, after I am officially retired. There are rumors circulating that our retirement has this clause in effect, that we must elect to have Medicare as our primary.
Have you received any information on this subject ? Thanks, M

A 1. Hi M, No, I have not, and don�t expect that we will. My husband and I are both are retirees ( postal )....hubby will be 65 and got his "approval & fee" letter for Medicare part B. (Approval letter�.yer killin me..nearly everyone can get Medicare Part B if you pay for it�approval..pulease!!) So we sent it back that he was NOT interested in Medicare Part B, keeping in mind, he is not yet 65 yet and they are preparing to take the Medicare Part B deduction out of his check when he turns 65 in a few months. The only time a government agency does anything ahead of time, is when they plan on taking something from you. And 65 is the age when you decide about Medicare, not at age 62. And let's say that did happen, that the postmaster general decided that postal employees had to go to a "specific" insurance company of the Post Office�s choosing or THE OTHER rumor a health plan THEY CREATE THEMSELVES SPECIFICALLY FOR POSTAL EMPLOYEES (can�t possibly see that happening). FEHB rules state that you are NOT required take Medicare part B. And why would you�.Medicare Part B is health insurance�..YOU HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE!! I truly don't believe the PMG can make decisions that affect retirees, that are ALREADY retired. OPM is the governing body when you are retired, not your former federal employer. Once a federal employee becomes a retiree, they are a retiree, not a postal retiree, a federal retiree. I have several times given this website�its the official booklet regarding FEHB and Medicare. It clearly states, that we are NOT required to take Medicare Part B, and cannot be forced to, and additionally, states that FEHB insurance is as good or BETTER than Medicare. Keep in mind, I am talking about Medicare Part B, the one you pay for! Medicare Part A is free, and is going to happen. You have been paying it as an employee, and so when turning 65 and retired, Medicare Part A becomes the PRIMARY HOSPITAL payer. The PO has to follow OPM rules�it�s not the other way around!! Here is the link�

Q 2. Hi Roseanne, We have corresponded for the last 3 years, and I have taken your advice on every issue, and thank you for just BEING RIGHT!! Since the beginning of having a Shared Service center versus an on-site personnel office where you could get a personal face to face meeting with the person who was doing your retirement, there has been such a lack of information about retirement. You cannot get any real answers from anyone at the district level. When I retired, I did the phone session with Shared Service (and there were other people on the phone besides me!!), I did not get advice or even a relative "understanding" of how high the premiums would go to on the Option B insurance. I am paying an arm & a leg for life insurance. I guess it did not help that when I retired at age 69, 2 months later I turned 70 and the premiums nearly doubled. Had I been told that, I would have made some very different choices. What would you suggest that I do now? I guess after corresponding with you all those times, this was the time I really should have BEFORE I retired NOT AFTER. Again, thank you for your valued advice. GLD

A. 2 Hi GLD, My advice can and is very different for everyone. Not because I change my mind, but because my advice to you is about you and your family, and not a generalized answer. Everyone has their own specific reasons for life insurance. Health issues can be the barometer for the decision you make. If you have an illness or know that your life expectancy may be shortened by the illness, then my answer would not be the same to an employee who is retiring, say with no medical issues. It would requires a series of Q and A between us both so I can help you make a correct choice. AND AGAIN�..This is why I do what I do�because of just this� retired with limited information, and possibly made bad choices. Well those choices can be changed. You can reduce the multiples of your option B, (1-5); that is one solution, or you can cancel it altogether. To me, it�s just the pissin� off of money that you spent on insurance that you can not afford the older you get��FYI: NO ONE CAN!! That money was better spent either with another life insurance policy or in your pocket. Roseanne

Q 3. I'm window clerk, and I am a FERS employee. Been in the Post Office since Nov 1985 and on my birthday Nov 15, 2015, I will turn 56 & have 30 years of service. I was thinking of March 1st as a possible last day, but what do you think the best day for me to be my last if I want to receive the full 440 hours of accumulated annual leave lump sum payment check? At the end of Dec. 2014 I will have 360 hours of Annual Leave & 440 hours of unused Sick Leave. Approximately, how much more $ per month will that unused sick leave add to my annuity? Also, what does it mean when TSP tells me that i'm eligible to receive a certain $ amount per month for life, do they mean i can receive that amount per month until i die or until the TSP amount runs out and what are my surviving family members entitled to? Can i specify to TSP how much $ per month i want to receive? When would i receive my last paycheck & lump sum annual leave check , my first Annuity check and how would i apply for the Social Security soon could i receive the first of that also? My average high 3 salary comes to $ 53,000. What would my gross monthly annuity be plus the Soc. Sec. Supp. and would the net amount be roughly half that? Are taxes taken out of the TSP guaranteed monthly amount? Thank you for your help, J.

A 3. Hi J, Well much of your answers depend on what actual date that you are going to retire. If you are retiring in 2015, because, 1), you will turn your MRA on 11-15-15, and on that SAME date you will also have 30 (or more) years of service, yes you are eligible to retire. Your sick leave is NOT paid, but rolled over into your "years of service", totaling years and months. Any days that are left over (and are added to the actual years of service on the rolls), if they don�t equal 22 those 21 days of sick leave (or less than 21 days) are lost. You can receive your TSP in any manner you desire, once you are retired. After you receive your SF Form 50 showing retirement, then the choice is yours about what you do with your TSP funds. Hopefully you did not "dip" into your TSP, and that when you retire, you are eligible to do a variety of things with that money. When they say you can receive a particular amount of money until you die..that is what they mean. However��understand that with an annuity (ANY ANNUITY FROM ALMOST ANY FINANCIAL VEHICLE) when an annuity is bought and there is no spouse, then the money dies with the employee. If married, then the spouse would receive an annuity that was pre-selected (by the employee). Should that spouse pass away�whatever money left in the annuity is GONE!! BE CAUTIOUS with this money, this is a part of your FERS retirement plan.

There is NO WAY for me to predict how much $$$ on anything that you would receive�.and how could I�.just giving me your H-3 salary anymore, just won�t cut it, because of the NEW proration factor applied.

FERS is a 3 tiered retirement system, consisting of FERS, TSP & SS (Special Supp & post 62 Social Security). Each of those tier�s do NOT weigh 33% each, but are more in line with 25% FERS, 35% SS, 45% TSP. Hopefully you funded your TSP fully, for the maximum benefit. Again, question on taxes�.I am as specific as you are�.so about 10% on federal and depending on what state you live in would be the answer to a state tax question. Retirement generally is not a one answer fits all�.it�s way more complex than that. Roseanne

Q 4. Hi Roseanne, I was hired April 1983. I paid the 4 years served in Army to my civil service retirement. That will make 35 accumulative years in May and I'll be 55 years old in August. I'm at next to last step (M) of my full time level 10 E T job at the XYZ P&DA in MY STATE. A Remotely Managed Postmaster position has opened up and I would like your advise. It's a 6.5 hour a day office with a max $18.xx hourly wage.

Is EAS (non bargaining) postal employees "managers" retirement different from bargaining unit employees? If so how?

If I apply for the RMPO postmaster, how bad will that effect my retirement?
What if I worked less than a year as a RMPO postmaster?

If I was awarded the office, my goal would be to reach full time Postmaster position as soon as possible. I also know there's going to be a lot of area Postmasters that will get 1st preference to vacant full time offices because their offices are being cut to part time with post plan taking effect in late Sept early Oct.

I want to work for the United States Postal Service 5-10 more years and would prefer those years with a day time job with weekends off.

Most sincerely,

A 4. Hi G,

NO - NO and NO!! I know it looks attractive having a daytime job with weekends off�.but you will pay for that in the end�because, if you are being promoted to a position that is LESS than 40 hours a week, that will dramatically effect your High-3 average salary when it is calculated for retirement.

The are some differences with craft, EAS and PCES employees when it comes to retirement�.BUT�.that is not an issue that is as RELATIVE as money, �.and your money will be affected. Because a pro-ration factor is NOW being applied, your high-3 (based on a less than 40 hr a week job) will REDUCE the yearly income, and thus reduce what is put into the retirement system (by both YOU and USPS matching funds (in FERS)), and that total overall reduction, reduces the annuity�even though you may work longer.

Example: I did a PM retirement. That PM worked as a PM for years. Then 6 months prior to an early out offer, took a 6.5 hour RMPO job. Just six months in that less than 40 hour a week position, had already decreased the retirement calculations, at a 98% pro-ration factor (so in essence she lost 2% of the high-3). If she worked until her MRA (56) at the 6.5 hour job�(working an additional 5 years) she would have made only 5.00 more per month in annuity��why�..the pro-ration factor. I cannot tell you what to do, because I know daytime and weekends off are SO DAMN attractive�..but whatever you do, you now know the consequences. Roseanne

Q 5. Roseanne, I've always appreciated your great advice and now I really need some. I'm a city carrier (FERS), will be 58/30 yrs. AND I WILL be retiring at the end of 2014. However, this last year has probably been the worst in my career. My health is failing and I have a disease, that although may not actually take my life, does impact me working and how I can live my life. I have used up nearly all of my sick leave, and I will be on LWOP soon. Here are my questions: 1. How much LWOP can I take this year without affecting receiving credit for this last year? AND 2, assuming I can make it until Dec., is there an advantage staying thru end of the month vs. my anniversary date 12/19?

Thanks for your help. JB
A 5. Hi JB As far as question #1, MORE than 6 months of LWOP in ONE calendar year begins to have an effect on leave and creditable service. Question # 2, the advantage is it�s "cleaner"�.actually you should retire on the last day of the month.. in your case 12.31. NOW that does not MEAN you actually have to work, you can take leave, until the 31st if you want. BUT if you really wanted to retire on the 19th, NO one can really stop you. Its just NOT a good financial decision. It leaves you with 2-3 weeks of no income. If retiring at the end of (any) month, the annuity is beginning on the first of the next month. So why leave on the 12th, when there would be the loss of 2-3 weeks of income. ON the other hand, if you are on a LWOP status�then retiring on the 19th would be fine�because you are not being paid, and in this case is a moot issue. If your medical issues become unbearable, you could try to apply for FERS Disability Retirement, not the best choice since you are so close to actual retirement for too many reasons to actually list�just trust me on that. Roseanne

Till we speak again��. Roseanne

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