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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

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Postal Retirement Q&A June 2014
Good Day Postal Employees!!

Several months ago, (and quite frankly for the last year) I've been harping on reviewing your eOPF's. Serious situations caused by improper filing of forms, and generally what is and IS NOT contained in your eOPF, was based on this case. I explained a month or so ago, that the case was resolved, and the widow had agreed to relate her story in her words, to share her experience with you so that you would not be in a situation like she faced. Below are her words...

Dear Roseanne, I would like to help others in the US Postal Service to avoid the literal nightmare I have been going through. I call it "DON'T LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU!"

My husband Dan was a Carrier and had worked for the Post Office in excess of thirty years. He and I were married for fifteen years. A couple of days before we got married, we went into the main Human Resources office in our town. Dan filled out paperwork adding me to his Health Insurance and completed a new form for the Life Insurance making me his beneficiary, as his new wife. He also doubled life insurance by choosing 1 multiple of Option ‘B'. We were married a couple of days later and the premiums for the health insurance and the life insurance started coming out of his paychecks.

I had many serious health issues including cancer during our marriage and Dan took care of me. He was also a very hard working and loyal employee. Nearly two years ago, Dan wasn't feeling well so he went to have some tests done. The test results determined that he had cancer throughout his entire body. This was devastating news. I had been the one with the serious health problems and my husband very rarely called in sick, so I had always expected that he would long outlive me. One month after Dan's initial diagnosis, my beloved sweetheart passed away.

Along with the numbness, shock and unbearable grief I was experiencing, I needed to figure out what to do to prepare for his funeral. A couple of weeks after he passed away, I called OPM to report his death. They told me he DID NOT have Life Insurance for me! I knew he most certainly did, so I found the copy I had in our files and faxed it to them. They told me that was exactly what they needed and that they would begin to process the claim. Per Dan's instructions before he died, I also asked about the compensation for the sick leave he had accumulated. I was very flippantly told "Oh, no one ever remembers to have employees change that Beneficiary form when they get re-married." I had no idea there was a separate Beneficiary Form required to receive his final compensation. To add insult to injury, I discovered that his previous wife was going to receive the $15,000 that I should have received.

I was unable to work. I still owed the mortuary $8,500 for Dan's funeral and I was under unbearable amounts of stress. I called OFEGLI every week for months to find out the status of his Life Insurance. I kept being told there was a "discrepancy" in the paper work. The "discrepancy" I was told was that the Life Insurance Dan filed for me as his beneficiary had supposedly not been sent to his electronic employee file. After nearly a year, I discovered that OFEGLI had another Life Insurance beneficiary form on file from over twenty years ago that they were considering paying. Every few months I received a form letter from OFEGLI stating my case was under review. I had lost my husband, had the mortuary breathing down my neck and no source of income. I was beside myself. As additional months passed away, I discovered that the other supposed beneficiary had been actively fighting me to obtain the life insurance.

I ended up in having to sell my husband's cherished collectibles that were a part of our married life together, in order to get the money I needed to retain an attorney. This fight for the Life Insurance became a full-time job for me. It took a huge toll on me mentally, physically and financially. The Insurance carrier, (after nearly two years), decided they didn't want to make the decision as to which beneficiary to pay, but rather turned the funds over to the Federal Courts. Now it was up to a Federal Judge to make that decision At that point, I had to sign a contingency form agreeing to pay my attorney a large percentage of the Life Insurance if we won the case. There is no doubt that Dan's intentions were to take care of me as his wife. After nearly two years I am still awaiting a final decision.

I implore you to have everyone check their personnel files thoroughly and on a regular basis. My husband had no reason to believe there would be anything wrong and he had completely trusted and expected that Human Resources had done their job properly. I am an example of what happens when mistakes ARE made! I sincerely hope that by sharing this painful story that I can spare someone else from having this happen to them. Sincerely, Jill


Q 1. Roseanne, I found your email on My dad has been a full time letter carrier for 28 years. He is currently 65 years old and does not have a clue in terms of the retirement benefits available to him. I am trying to help plan his retirement and figure out what his cash flows would be when he does. Can you give be a quick brief on the different programs eligible to him and direct me to some handbooks etc? I appreciate any help you can provide. Thanks again, -YD

A. 1. Hi YD, What a very nice thing to do for your dad. The first thing you will need to do is have his EIN number and perhaps his PIN number for accessing information on the internet. He has the ability to look at his personnel file, thru a computerized system called postal ease and liteblue. If you are looking to review information in his behalf, there are video's that you can review.

As far as how much money he would get in retirement is concerned, you would begin with calling HRSSC (Shared Services) the centralized personnel office for the Postal Service at 1-877-477-3273, and requesting a retirement booklet and his annuity estimate. You would ask for the month in which he wants to be retired. So for example he says, I'm not working the holidays this year…then you would request an estimate for December, because your last day of work would be Nov 30th, and you would be an annuitant on December 1. HIs age of 65 with more than 20 years gives him full retirement, regardless if he is a FERS or CSRS employee; and that too, his retirement plan, determines how to calculate the monthly annuity. But by calling them and once you received the annuity estimate in the mail, you will see the gross monthly annuity, with a spousal annuity or without, and that should give you a very good start. Take care,,,,very nice thing to do for your dad…really. Roseanne

R 1. Roseanne: Thanks for the quick reply. I will ask my dad for the info and request the annuity estimate, Take care YD

Q 2. Roseanne, I hope it OK that I contact you. I am an "impacted" Postmaster with only 7 1/2 years of full-time service and will be 55 years old in a few months., and I and am a widow. In September I will have 8 years in. I recently sent in a letter to take a PTF position with no set hours. I really do not have many other options due to where I live. The plant in XYZ City, STATE, is around 125 miles of travel each day. My question is: How will this affect me? I really do not have a lot of retirement coming as of yet. I really need my benefits and if I don't take something my job will be ending either in September or if what I hear is correct maybe as late as January 10, 2015. Also if I take the PTF position will I still get to keep my same benefits and life insurance since I will be considered part-time? Any other information will be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much for any help you can give me. LKS

A 2. Hi LKS, Every answer I give is not always the same, although I would imagine, that by reading what I write, it may seem that way. One little thing can change my answer(s)... But each answer has a direct correlation with the employee's own "certain set of circumstances". For you at your age, and the number of years that you have so far in the Federal Government, you really DO NOT have much choice. In your situation, a job that is a PTF may be your only avenue at this time to maintain Federal employment. Having close to eight years…and being a FERS employee, you really do have to work until you are age 62 to have any real substance with the FERS 3-tiered retirement program. But if you do stay, (and I do think you should), you should focus on maximizing your TSP contributions. FERS retirement is based this way:

FERS = 25%; Social Security= 35%; TSP=45%…so, even by staying as a PTF, as well as MAXING on TSP, you could very well overcompensate in TSP for the pro ration factor that you may have by taking that PTF or (less than 40 hrs per wk position). In your case, taking that position, maybe your ONLY and therefore BEST choice. Roseanne

Q 3. Hi Roseanne, I received a letter from HR today stating that my life insurance has been terminated due to LWOP for a 12 month period. When I filled out all my paper work I chose to keep my life insurance in my disability retirement. Should I just ride it out or should I call HR see what they say. Thank you PRT

A 3. Hi PRT, Whenever an employee spends over 12 months in a Leave Without Pay status, this is typical processing due to the amount of LWOP. (When there is more than 6 months of LWOP in a calendar year it begins to leave accrual and retirement….just as information). When filing for Disability Retirement, the carryover of your life insurance and health insurance will convert, once you have an approval by OPM. Since you are still an employee, even though you have filed for disability retirement, the fiscal issues of on LWOP will take it's course. Once a disability approval is granted, all will be financially "sorted" out. You will owe for "your outstanding portion" of the health insurance (and any life insurance "options") that was paid by the PO during the time of LWOP. But again, once approved you will carry your life insurance and health insurance INTO retirement with you. Roseanne

R 3. So I will probably owe them thousands of dollars that I don't have for the life insurance that they have paid. My husband has carried all the health insurance. Will they demand payment or will they work out a payment schedule? Hate to have so many questions, the way they work they probably won't even approve it. Some days I just get so discouraged.

RA 3. NO, not necessarily…it depends WHEN you are approved for disability retirement. If they "back date" the approval, meaning your last day in a pay status is used as the "beginning date" of your "disability status", then you may not owe much if anything at all. Roseanne

RR3. Ok, thank you. Sorry to keep bothering you but have been the most help of anyone. Maybe when they get my letter we will know something soon

Q 4. Roseanne, I have worked 36 plus years in addition to two years military time I bought and additional sick leave which will amount to 40 years of credited service this September. I am an RIF impacted postmaster come Sept 30. I've been told the Postal Service is obligated to find us full time clerk or carrier jobs if there are no postmaster jobs to go to. On the other hand, I read recently in PB22344 dated August 23, 2012 a reassignment offering could be part time based on positions available come Sept 30. I am presently believing another two years of work should increase my CSRS annuity another $250. per month to stay on. My questions (1)If a full time clerk position is not in the offering, would I be better to stay on a couple of years as a part time craft person to build up my annuity or would I be negatively affected in my retirement benefits in so doing? Question(2), as a CSRS future retirement annuitant, would taking a full time city carrier assistant position if offered benefit me to build up the last two years in CSRS benefits?. Question(3) , if I have the opportunity to take a 6 hour RMPO postmaster job, how and will this affect my retirement? Will my estimated annuity build at or near the same pace as my present assignment as a EAS-11? Given, the three scenarios, which way would be the best for retirement purposes, or would it better to retire this September given the options stated above? Thank JD

A 4. Hi Jeff, Well, rather than give you the "what fer" ….meaning why are you still there!!….what the 41-11? Is that what this is about? Because you could have retired long ago. I have no understanding why you are not!! Lets not play games here…you have been around a LONG time… and I would suspect you understand what is going on here…but if you don't… are about to see a "reduction" in what your overall high 3 average salary is going to be…IF you take a position that is LESS than 40 hours a week / 80 hrs bi-weekly….flat out!!! It does NOT matter at this point if its a clerk, mail handler, custodian, carrier….as LONG AS iT IS A FULLTIME position. Taking these bullshit PM 6 hour a day position (masquerading as "sunsetting your career with less hours" ) will degrade your overall high 3 average salary…(which is what is used to calculate your monthly annuity)).

So YES to answer #1 it will degrade based on a "pro-ration" factor. Read this month, and last month's column on this same subject. NOW QUESTION # 2. OMG…….. you are killing me……seriously, you want to retire from the PO, and then be rehired as a part time craft person to build up your annuity…OMG…In my HR world…you are a nightmare (financial) beginning to happen…WTF!! AND WHY!!! Let me read question 3…. and then I will come back to this because right now…I don't know why in the world with the number of years that you have…..why you are pissin' around and not retired yet….but…let me read # 3. OK # 3….HELL NO!! if you have been reading my column for the past few months, I have addressed this issue several times…OR maybe you read my column and thought that what I wrote was JUST for that one person, not sure. Because this pro ration factor that they are applying, is a "wholesale" answer to all employees that have taken a position with a set schedule of less than 40/80 hours wkly/bi-wkly.

There are too many reasons that question #2 is not even do-able. Once you retire CSRS, then coming back as a career is going to have your annuity reduced one dollar for every 2 earned…this is such a bad idea, and a nightmare as it relates to placing you in "some type" of retirement system…even if it's a non-career position.

It totally screws up your retirement. The ONLY job you can apply and be hired for (in the USPS) once you are retired is pretty much a TRC (Temporary Rural Carrier), and there are time restraints on how much you actually work (in this position title) without it affecting your annuity, and that is NO MORE than 6 months in a calendar year. If just ONE day beyond that 6 mo time frame and then too, your annuity is reduced….but this time dollar for dollar. Meaning if your annuity is 3000 per month, and you have worked beyond the 6 mo time frame, then if you make 1600 in one month, that 1600 will be reduced from the 3000. It is SO not worth it. If you want to work, you can….anywhere other than federal govt employment, and it NOT affect your CSRS annuity AT ALL! This is NOT a good move in retirement. Is it something that you can do within regulations….yes….but just because you can does not mean you should….really trust me on this. If you write me and ask me my opinion…it's not JUST my opinion on how I feel about it….it comes from knowing and dealing with these same issues that have almost in every case, turned out bad. OK that was my 22 cents on that subject. RETIRE!! Roseanne

Till we speak again………..Roseanne

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