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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 September 2011

Good Day Postal Employees!

What a crazy month August was, with all the "changes" AND the fact that the post office is going to the legislature to REVAMP postal employees health benefits. I have some thoughts on that subject, would you like me to share them.... I thought you would. The thought is NO, NO and NO! In the USPS Talking Points of Health and Benefits and Retirement Programs, (8-11-2011) under one of the sections, I quote "Establish incentives to ensure that retirees and their dependents who are Medicare eligible take full advantage of their Medicare benefits" end of quote. WHY!? Why should we take Medicare anyway!!???

We have the BEST health care coverage FEHB, and why in the world would we give that up. Because we are Medicare eligible? I think NOT. SO what if we get Medicare A for free. It only pays the hospital, JUST THE HOSPITAL. You still need medical coverage...and here it comes, Medicare B, which you have to pay for monthly. Medicare B only pays 80% of the cost and you pay the other 20% (doctor visits, tests, etc.), (Medicare A does not pay that). So you need some help with the 20%...then here comes Medicare C (gap coverage of that 20%), yes that costs monthly as well. AND of course you need prescription comes Medicare D for prescriptions, again you must pay monthly. By the time you pay all the Medicare charges YOU SHOULDA JUST KEPT YOUR FEHB COVERAGE!!

So why do you think the push is for postal employees at age 65 to go on Medicare. Because then the post office does not have to pay THEIR PORTION OF YOUR health benefits. For a BCBS family coverage (Standard) (as an annuitant) the monthly premium is $431.60, and the post office pays $875.29 monthly for that ONE employee to BCBS. So in total, one RETIREE costs the post office nearly 900 per month. This column is really going to piss off postal management at the top, but what is true is true. NOW YOU KNOW WHY THEY WANT TO "ESTABLISH AN INCENTIVE TO ENSURE THAT RETIREES WHO ARE MEDICARE ELIGIBLE TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THEIR MEDICARE BENEFITS". Calming down... I will say this, your health benefits are a BENEFIT IN RETIREMENT that you worked your entire career for, why would you give that up! And just one more thing while I am calm, those who write me and quote ELM and other manuals, I am royally unnerved. If you know so much, why are you reading my columns and challenge every little Q and A I answer. My answers are for those individuals specifically. I share (of course after I change details to protect the employee) these questions so maybe that question sparks another question for someone reading the column.

Since there is so much going on, I thought I would dedicate part of this column to (and hope to inspire you) on OPF Housekeeping, or eOPF housekeeping since your files are now electronic. Many employees don't realize how important it is to ensure your beneficiary forms are up to date and you have ALL of them. I know many employees think of just the life insurance beneficiary form SF 2823 as the only beneficiary form they should have. Here are some forms YOU SHOULD HAVE!!! If you are a CSRS employee, you need to have SF 2808, Beneficiary for CSRS Retirement Contributions; for FERS it is SF 3102 Beneficiary FERS Retirement Contributions. Another little known form is the SF 1153 Unpaid Compensation (all earned annual leave and last paycheck). DID YOU KNOW THAT A BENEFICIARY FORM TRUMPS A WILL!! If you have contributed to TSP, you should also have TSP-3 Beneficiary Form. The TSP 3 will not be in your eOPF, but is housed with the TSP Board.

Q 1. Hey Roseanne, I wanted to ask you a question and see if you could answer. I am a bit concerned about the recent talk of layoffs and job cuts. Here is my scenario. I have been a letter carrier for 28 years, this year. I transferred to an MDC and switched crafts from NALC to APWU. As you can imagine I went from my seniority ranking of in the high teens to the mid 100's in APWU. If there are layoffs , will I be considered seniority-wise my service time, or my time in the new craft? I ask this because I also wanted to know IF I were to get laid off or had my job cut and had was separated, what am I looking at as far as benefits? I am in CSRS. If they cut my job, would I get all my contributions to CSRS in a check to me? Or would I be eligible for retirement benefits at a later age? If you could give me what my options would be, that would be helpful and give me some peace of mind. Also would the USPS owe me for my sick leave and unused vacation. I currently have 1857 hours of sick leave and about two weeks carry over of vacation. Thanks for answering a boat load of questions!! T.

A 1. Hi T OK, lets take this apart piece by piece. When a layoff occurs, POSTAL seniority ranks before craft seniority. If you are compensable veteran, that too plays into who goes where. If you are a 5 or more point veteran, then again the ranking (of who get's laid off) changes. By just being a "craft" employee, you have certain rights that say an EAS person does not. By virtue of your craft (APWU) ..(ah...if you ain't, get in the union now). SO WHAT if you don't agree with what is going on, if you are in the union you get better information and they are more likely to fight for you. I think, just by the fact you are CSRS, your FERS counterparts with less time will be going first (keeping in mind the above ranking regarding vets). If they abolish your job, as a CRAFT employee, they will put you somewhere else. You may not like the job or you may have to travel further, but you will have a job. DO NOT DO ANYTHING STUPID LIKE QUIT.. ride it out. You are CSRS and you must have at least 28 years...ride it out. If it does hit the fan, you have options. You are OLD MONEY...meaning CSRS.

Don't let the hype scare you out. As far as your $$ in the CSRS fund, the amount you put in, would be the amount you could withdraw (if you resign.... but don't don't don't), and you would NOT be entitled to what the USPS put in the CSRS fund in your behalf. Ride it out....if they are going to rid themselves of 120,000 employees, it has to be according to regulations and you being CSRS should be OK. Your sick leave is converted to years and months increasing your total federal time, which is how your annuity is calculated. Your annual leave is paid the following two weeks after your last check, or with your last paycheck. Remember it will be the earned annual leave. Chill, you are CSRS, and yea, they want CSRS employees to retire BADLY, because you cost the USPS approximately 5% more than a FERS employee (as it relates to retirement). I think if they are in the dire straits as they say, then I predict another early out will come....NOTICE I did NOT say with incentive, but an early out. You should be able to retire fairly soon if you are a CSRS employee.

Q A 1 Response: Thanks for the info Roseanne, I will not quit under any circumstances. If they do offer an early out do you think that they would wave the penalty? If they would just give me the years and my 62% I would go. As I am only 50 next month I would get 8 percent deducted for retiring five years before 55 right. They would have to add one year onto my time because of accumulated sick leave. Of Do you think I would be more susceptible to being axed by the USPS if I took an EAS job? My thoughts on moving to EAS is that if I decided to stay till my 41 11 I would only be 63 and would get my 80%. That's still pretty young isn't it and that would only make me work another 13 years. The fact is I don't think my body will last another 13 as a craft worker. And if I do go over to EAS I think I could get to a level 23 in the next 13 years. That would really jump up my high 3. You know they ALWAYS Would they be trying to get me out because I am CSRS? I am not a veteran by the way. I would join the APWU but I have to stay in the NALC because I have their HB. NALC, unlike APWU, makes you pay full dues even if you aren't in the craft to retain the HB. I am going to switch over next year to APWU plan or BCBS. I will have to compare. Let me know of any other things that may come to mind. Thanks again T.

Q A 1 Return Response: First going to an EAS position is risky because you don't have the 6 yr layoff protection any longer and most folks don't know that. This is a risky time to do that, although it would give you a higher 3. I KNOW EAS folks that have been axed, because they did not want to go to another job, in another state, or take a lower grade, or simply because there were no other positions in their district to go to. So it does happen. You can join the APWU. You can be in two unions at the same only are in NALC now, because you have their Health Benefits. As far as your questions about retirement, OPM ranks above postal rules for retirement, even early out retirements are in the control of OPM criteria. When doing an early out they have to abide by early out criteria set forth by OPM, which is the governing body of all federal agencies (as it relates to HR). Which means that they are NOT going to wave a penalty. I hope I have helped clear up a few misunderstandings. Roseanne

Q 2. Roseanne, I am a CSRS with 40 yrs. Could you inform me on the minimum election for spouse survivorship that will provide my wife with FEHB? She will be covered with another life insurance policy. Thank You, DS.

A 2. Hi D, As long as you give her 55% of $3600.00 per year, which equates to 1980 per year OR $ 165.00 per month, ensures that she will be able to take your health benefits into retirement should you pass away, AND that $3600., will not reduce your CSRS annuity. Roseanne

Till next time when we talk...Oh, and trust me, if I get ANY flack from this column, I will BE SURE to let everyone know. Roseanne

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