Postal Workers

Custom Search
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 September 2013
Good Day Postal Employees!!

JUST IN: Ex SPOUSE (divorced 23 yrs ago) GETS CHECK FOR $19,459.22 - CURRENT WIDOW (of 19 years) $0.00

Perhaps�..that was enough to make you check your BENEFICIARY FORMS!!!

August was an unusually busy month with emails; Air Mail Retirements, as well as individual personal sessions. AND ONE OF THE MOST ASKED QUESTIONS...�."what about Medicare when I turn 65"? Before we discuss this, it needs to be broken down. There are 4 types of Medicare, Part A, Part B, Part C and Part D. Medicare Part A (hospitalization ONLY) is FREE . Medicare Part B, Part C, and Part D will cost you monthly and those premium(s) are withdrawn from your Social Security check.

In many different ways I have tried to communicate, to LOOK HARD AT THIS ISSUE before you simply SIGN UP for Medicare Part B, or "BE SIGNED UP for Medicare Part B" only to become aware when your Social Security check is less than what it was the month before when you were still 64 (&11 months). HOPEFULLY, you all are aware, when you turn 65 that Medicare Part A (at age 65�and if you are not working�another added little issue) is the primary provider for hospitalization. Both CSRS and FERS employee's pay into Medicare, which is deducted from your paycheck. Medicare Part A is free when you turn 65, regardless if you are in the FERS OR CSRS retirement system. Not often am I challenged on my views as it relates to retirement�most just assume I know (and no news flash here �I DO!!). However this month, I was challenged on my views of Medicare Part B. So in order to ensure that I am providing the best "REAL" information, to you, which I know you rely upon heavily, I researched to see if I was flat out wrong, somewhat wrong or even misleading. Many times change is so fast that somethings can slip by you. In my case, dealing with my daughter's illness on top of going to NY for a funeral for the last "elder" of my family, this was not the best month for a "challenge". Something could have changed, and I could have missed something. BUT I DIDN'T, and that is not to say I can never be wrong� is said to say, I will go the extra mile to make sure I am giving you the most accurate information, so that you can make the best decisions as it relates to your employment and to your current or future retirement.

I am placing this link on here so that you can look for yourself on what OPM says about FEHB versus Medicare (all the parts of Medicare A, B, C & D).

This 17 page document is a wealth of information�.I can sum it up though�.FEHB and Medicare Part A work hand in hand. Medicare Part B or C or D is not necessary for you to purchase. This has been my opinion ALL ALONG, finally there is data this booklet to support what I am telling you. But this link is here for you to make up your own mind. YOU CAN'T just DO what I tell you!!!! I appreciate the trust that you have for me, but YOU HAVE to know why you are doing it, otherwise me writing these columns are NOT helping you, if you are NOT actively understanding the why's of it !! There are no 2 retirements alike�.the rules may be the same, but �everyone has something different in their retirement that could affect an answer relative to the Medicare issue�such as you may have Tri-Care, and a part of that insurance has requirements that are not addressed in the column. So PLEASE read it!! Then make decisions based upon you and your family status, not the status quo. I am telling you this because I believe you need to know the truth. IF I say you need to know the facts�you won't, only when you think that you are not being told the truth will you actively research it. You need to know even if it hurts (financially). I am a retired postal employee, my husband is a retired postal employee, and when we turn 65 we are NOT taking Medicare Part B,C,D or any other alphabetic symbol they come up with! HE AND I don't have to, we have FEHB�what is better than FEHB??? Medicare�ah�NO!!!�, so for us�at least, there is no question.

That being said�.all of you out there are individuals, and even though you may have the same retirement system (CSRS or FERS) and even in those 2 systems, each has an additional sidebar system CSRS/offset or FERS w/frozen CSRS. I revisit this subject because many of you still don't know. When I am asked questions via email, and you tell me that you are a CSRS employee, but in actuality you are CSRS/offset, that, depending on the question(s) can result in very different answers, to the same question. What is good information for one CSRS or FERS employee may not be the right information for another CSRS or FERS employee�even if both are exactly in the same system (1 of 4 retirement systems). There are some HARD FACTS that don't change in each of the retirement system, however each one is not a "cookie-cutter" retirement system; and there are too many individual "issues" (about YOU specifically) that have a real impact on the correct answer. As an example, if you ask me a question, and you state you are a CSRS employee, I answer it based upon the rules/reg's of the CSRS system. And then it turns out that you are a CSRS/offset, then chances increase a hundred fold you will get incorrect information... BAD INFO IN� will result �BAD INFO OUT.


So to make this a bit easier for you, go to your pay stub, in the teeny box that says Retire�.there is a even smaller symbol, it's either a 1 (one) or 8 (eight) or an A (apple) or 5 (five). (Straight) CSRS= 1; Straight FERS=8; CSRS/offset=5; FERS w/frozen CSRS=A. You need to know this stuff!!!

This month, I will be looking into a couple of Long Term Insurance policies/companies, not so much as to give a recommendation, (it's really just for me & my husband) but to see what the real financial value of this type of insurance is. I did not take out (federal) LTI when I was an employee, and perhaps I should have. I will post my feelings about this, probably in next month's column. And if you have not read all of my previous columns, there is a wonderful book written by James Brass "Make Sure Your Money Lasts in Retirement". I read it and thought it had really good information, especially if you are not a "financial person". Getting your knowledge before you retire is so much more rewarding because there is a sense of peace that you know what you know.

And here is the TOP QUESTION(S) OF THE MONTH: Discontinued, Early Out, VERA, MRA+10 Retirements. I can consolidate about 30 questions and answers from this month's emails alone, just by giving you some information on these types of retirements. Understand, I write from all of your perspectives, craft employee, union steward, supervisor, manager, or EAS anything! I am my own worst enemy!! Why? Because I must play both sides of the fence so that you have the maximum benefit of what I know�and it ain't easy!! I am constantly arguing with myself making "cases" for both sides of the issue to win. And when I have completely exhausted all of the little known "stuff" lets just say, then I give you the answer. Now this scenario is not so much about retirement rules, regulations or processes, but about other issues (similar to Medicare), that we should know about as federal employees. Otherwise, how will you know that you are doing the right thing, as it relates to your retirement, OR the actual TYPE of retirement that you will retire under.

VERA (Voluntary Early Retirement Authority) is the same as when referred to an EARLY OUT. Both can, but don't necessarily have an monetary incentive, and you ARE eligible (if you are a FERS employee) for the Special Supplement if you ARE at your MRA or when you REACH your MRA.
 50 20 yrs
 Any age 25 yrs.

Discontinued - "If your are involuntarily separated from your position and are not given a reasonable offer of another position, you may receive an immediate annuity if you have met the age and service requirements shown below. The CSRS portion of a CSRS/FERS Transfer annuity benefit is reduced by 2% or each years (1/6th per month that you are under age 55 on date of retirement. The FERS portion of the annuity is not reduced. Special retirement supplements are not payable until you reach your MRA. Special retirement supplements are subject to the Social Security earnings limitation."
 50 20 yrs
 Any age 25 yrs.

MRA+10 - Age (56-57) with (at least) 10 credible years of service. Meaning you are AT your MRA, but you don't have 30 years for full retirement, and you are not 60 yet with 20 years (for a full retirement). So YES you can retire at your MRA with only having worked 10 years (or more)�.AND unless you have some very specific reasons why you would take this type of retirement�I call this a sucker move. You immediately LOSE (forever) the ability to collect your Special Supplement, and your annuity is forever reduced by 5% for each year under age 62. Let me give you an example of this: Using a high 3 average salary of $50,000 - and 22 years (of credible service) AND you are at your MRA. Understand EVERYONE DOES NOT HAVE THE SAME MRA PEOPLE!!!!. It's based on your birthdate, but mostly the average MRA is 56 and we will use that figure for this example. $50,000 X 1%= $500.00 X 22=$11,000 (yrly) or ($916.00 monthly GROSS).

Then that figure is reduced by 5% for each year under 62, so that is a reduction in our example of 30% ($3300) = $7700. divided by 12 = $617.00 BEFORE TAXES, LIFE INSURANCE AND HEALTH INSURANCE. SO if you tell me that you are not taking either the life or the health insurance�.then what are you retiring to do? Because in this instance, the only benefit to this type of retirement is SECURING LIFE INSURANCE AND HEALTH BENEFITS, and moving on to another job�.AND either taking your portable retirement (TSP) and moving it to the NEW Job's 401K or keeping it at TSP (with the understanding that while it's in that fund (TSP) you NOW, a non-federal employee, CANNOT ADD any money to your TSP account.

SUMMARY: OK, so aside from the VERA being fairly easy to understand. AND once broken apart and you see the reduction with the MRA + 10 which is also now easy to understand�that it's not a good financial move really�.but in some cases could be necessary. It's the Discontinued Service that many of you are asking about. I have read the POSt Plan. My problem with you all TRYING FOR DISCONTINUED SERVICE RETIREMENT�..IS�do you think that the post office is not documenting the "job offers" being sent to you. How are you going to show that they DID NOT GIVE YOU A REASONABLE OFFER???, so that you can invoke a discontinued service retirement. I SAID I READ THE POSt Plan� and postmasters, you need to read it as carefully as I did!! Your questions are answered in the plan�look at the dates�.things are set in motion by the DATES!! Remember I am looking at this from all side of the situation.

Q 1. Hi Roseanne, I have been contemplating leaving the Post Office and taking all of my money with me. I have 26 years, and I am in the FERS system, my age is 50. At the time of the prior early out, I was shy of the years and age�.(OH HOW I WISHED MY PARENTS WOULD HAVE HAD ME A YEAR OR TWO SOONER !! LOL)...I don't have the energy or the desire to put up with the BS anymore!! My district promotes the worst of the worst. Rules and regulations are constantly being broken, and mostly by management (I too am management, so I get to see it first hand). I am a Postmaster (level --); and as you can see by my level, I run a fairly large office, and right now the changes to me personally are very little, but knowing�there is more change to come, and many of us don't think it's going to be pretty!! What do you suggest I do? You seem to be the ONLY person that understands this ridiculous employer we have! Thank you for being the postal employee's life raft in the sea of postalpuke. HELP ME SAVE MY SANITY.

A 1. Hi Help me��.sanity, First I suggest YOU read the POSt plan. I guess from being in the MGMT (game), I understand the "underlying language" of what is given to other management employees. Not only do I know HOW they think, I UNDERSTAND (from their perspective) why they think what they do. That is NOT to say that I disagree or agree with what they are saying or doing, it's just I understand, regardless of my opinion. That makes me uniquely qualified to answer these types of questions. So read the POSt plan, email me back with your phone number� after reading it at least 3 times�if you are unclear. And you are 100% WRONG when you said your district promotes the worst of the worst�..WHY because everyone of you think that their district promotes the worst of the worst!! Roseanne

Q 2. Dear Ms. Roseanne, a (former) co-worker in Headquarters (LeEnfant Plaza) referred me to you, because you did his (personal) retirement about a year or two ago. He said you came and gave a retirement seminar in Manasass Virginia, and told me that if you ever did one again I should do anything I could to attend. He told me that the information you gave was not necessarily the first time he had heard it, it was more the way you explain it, that you make the retirement puzzle fit together. He commented that he had attended many retirement sessions in his career (that were given by the USPS, on the clock and off the clock) prior to coming to your session. Like some of the other employees who were going to attend, related, felt like they knew enough to retire�.that is, until you came. He shared that the group decided that night, they all really knew little and understood even less, until your class. He said you stood up in front of the group, and told them that HQ employees were spoiled, knew less than many craft employees about THEIR retirement, and expected more than anyone else. And you told them you would never do another session like that again. Do you still feel the same way, or was that for just the HQ employees? The reason I ask is, I know several people that, also read your column, and would like to have you come to do a session for us. Just to let you know I am no longer in HQ's, if that was the reason you said you wouldn't do that again. If so, could you please respond and let us know the fee and what we as a group have to do, so that we too can have that same experience that they had. JT

A 2. Hi JT, Wow!! Yes, I did�and that is precisely what I told them. And it also tells me that you HAD to have spoken with one of those in the class, because no one else would know that but someone who attended. But there were reasons for that statement�logistics being the main one. Of course the normal "bitching 'n' moaning parade" OF postal employees in general, and just a variety of issues. So how do I answer this, because, I have done MANY group sessions since that one for the HQ employees�but they were APWU "driven". So in that case, the "where" was not an issue, as it was when I did the one for the HQ employees. Since I am NOT an employee anymore, I cannot USE postal premises for anything, therefore the logistics were difficult�.(Ah�in Washington DC )!!! Try to get 45 EAS/PCES folks�separate them by FERS and CSRS, then have a separate session for each, in a place where there is ample parking; a convenient day and time; and THEN, HAVE NO CLOUT WHATSOEVER to make sure they respond to my emails�ensure they are coming�book the site�. A LOGISTIC NIGHTMARE!! So yes, I do group sessions, and the fee is dependent upon where it is, how many are going to attend�if it's a "union-driven event"�meaning that whichever union is hiring me to do this, they have a union hall or place designated for meetings, or as in the case with some of the NALC unions, a session during a portion of their convention. If it is "individuals" coming together, such as it was with the HQ employees, hiring me sort of collectively, that also is another way that I have done these sessions. After you read this email, discuss with your co-workers and get back with me so that I can try to plan a session that would work for the group you are "representing" with this email. Roseanne

Q 3. Hi Roseanne, Maybe this is a stupid question, and I have asked this time and time again, even to my supervisor�what is that figure at the very bottom of my pay stub. Thanks, Clueless

A 3. Hi YernotClueless, That figure is the total amount of YOUR contributions to the retirement fund for all of the PRIOR years. The current years' contribution is on the "retire" line under YTD. The only time that figure at the bottom changes, is PP2, when the entire year (YTD) is added to that bottom figure, and PP 2 shows PP and YTD the same figure�because it's starting all over again�and then next PP2 its added�the same way. And by the way I even answer what some may feel are the stupid questions�..I just don't have the heart to publish them. For example, how come we as postal employees don't get a discount on stamps? I was tempted to say, I do, how come you don't. But that would have just been ugly on my part�My husband told me clarify YOU DON'T GET STAMPS FOR FREE and NEVER HAVE. Of course postal employees, don't get a discount on stamps nor have we ever gotten them free. And those who work at the IRS pay taxes, and those who work for TSA still have to be scanned when going through an airport�and on and on�..

Till we speak again���Roseanne

About  |  Contact  |  Terms of Use  |  Privacy Policy

Copyright, All Rights Reserved