Postal Retirement Q&A January 2011

Good Day Postal Employees

Q. On the bottom of the USPS pay stubs, there is a box labeled “USPS RETIREMENT”. Over the years since I’ve been with the PO, I have heard many statements regarding this amount. Mine is over $7800, and I have heard people get this amount if they quit. Old timers back in the 80s told me it was a lump sum for the CRS employees. I am FERS and no one can clarify if I get this amount. Can you please enlighten me to how this amount of money the PO has deducted from my check for over 26 years and if I will one day receive it? Secondly, I am in the guard and I know I can buy my former Active Duty time from the Air Force. I have recently come aware of the fact I can buy back active duty time I put in when I go to Afghanistan or just do orders when I have pulled military orders for a chunk of time. Like in DC for a whole summer. I wonder if it’s worth the cost to buy this additional time compared to not buying it? Doing nothing, I will end up with 36 years of Postal time alone with I finally it 56 in 2019. Do you think it’s worth it?

A. That figure is YOUR contributions to the retirement. If you leave federal service (i.e. quit, fired etc.) you can apply to OPM for this money. This money is “housed” in the retirement fund, and the PO puts in the same amount of the deduction you did. If you look that figure only changes once a year….PP 2. FERS is a three-tiered retirement system comprised of social security, TSP and this money we are now discussing postal retirement. The military buy back issue is “person-specific”. For FERS employees, in order to add those military years to your postal years to your overall federal years for retirement purposes you must pay it back. It depends how many years you have in the military (which would add to your overall years in the PO used for retirement calculation). To answer your question on the active time in Afghanistan, HRSSC has a listing of qualified “campaigns” & “wars” that will allow for guard time to be calculated as “career time, again for retirement purposes”. For FERS it’s 1% of your high 3 average salary, for each year of federal service. At your age and the military buy back, compounded by the interest added, in most likely would not be worth it. But that is a general answer, each employee’s situation is different, and should be researched with HRSSC, as sometimes you could have time non-career federal time or military time that would add to your postal years, and ultimately your eventual retirement check.


Q. Thanks for answering my questions. I was leaning towards not buying back the military time as I earn it.

Finally, so this small amount the PO matches, when I do retire, how would I go about claiming this USPS Retirement amount?

A. It is not about claiming this USPS retirement. The money that is what is used when calculating your postal retirement. If you retire you don’t get that specific amount of money back. It’s SIMPLY YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS in the retirement fund. The calculation of 1% of your high 3 for the numbers of years worked divided by 12 will be your monthly annuity. It is far more than what was contributed by you or the USPS.

JUST A QUICK EXAMPLE: On the bottom of the check for a CSRS employee there is the figure of 88,000. When this employee retires with 30 years, and their high 3 is was 91,000, that figure is calculated to give them an annuity of 42,000 per year (this is based on years of service..same as FERS, but different percentage calculation is used for CSRS versus FERS). Their annuity would be 42,000, per year. This validates that by a little over 2 years the contributions you put in the OPM fund has little to do with how much you get monthly. If that were the case, then after 4 years (because the post office has matched that same figure that you put in OPM, you would only receive a retirement check for 4 years, as that is when the money runs out of what your and the post office contributed.

BUT THAT IS NOT THE CASE…YOU RECEIVE THE ANNUITY UNTIL YOU PASS AWAY, AND IF YOU SELECT A SPOUSAL ANNUITY, THE SPOUSE ALSO COLLECTS. Hopefully this has shed a little light on your postal retirement contributions.

Q. I am ready to retire right now (December 1st). I am 60 years old but will not have the desired 20 yrs. of service until March 2011. I worked years ago at the Corps of Engineers and the Census Bureau. Could those few months in each job bring my total numbers of years with the government up to 20 by December? I thought I had read something about this but can’t find it now. I think it said, too, that previous government work would not add on to my Postal Service annuity. I understand that part, I just want 20 years NOW!!!

A. To answer your questions, YOU would have to know these things. When you worked at the Corps of Engineers, the ability for those years to be added to your total federal service time, you would have had to work where you were paying into CSRS. The same holds true for the Census Bureau. Typically the Census Bureau appointments are non-career. In order for you to be sure, you would have look on the Form 50’s to see if your retirement code was “1”. Also your local human resources office (located in each district office throughout the country) should have had your paper OPF and done an RTR on it. RTR means Retirement, Thrift, RIF information. You will need your EIN number (located on your check stub) and your PIN number. You can review all Form 50’s in your eOPF. If you find that there are no form 50’s for your Corps of Engineers or your Census Bureau time, then again, you will need to call your local services at the district office. They can direct you on the form needed to be filled out to send to OPM and the National Civilian Personnel Records.

Postal Retirement Q&A February 2011

Good Day Postal Employees

A typical conversation, (but authentic) this month. This may be of interest to some of you who struggle with medical issues, OWCP etc. Everyone understand that each employee’s situation is a different. What is a correct answer for one could be completely wrong for another. Also I cannot always clarify each itty bitty issue, (the why’s and the why not’s). It takes away from core issue of what the employee needs. This is for those who spend time trying to find fault with my answer instead of seeing that I am trying to guide and assist those in serious need.

Q#1. Hi Roseanne – &%$&^$#* sent me your name. I’m in a funny in-between situation and I’m not sure how to proceed. I am 59 and I have 31 years of accountable service as a rural carrier. I had a injury, punched my shoulder out of the socket, then after 3 failed operations, I had a final surgery to replace the joint now. I am not cleared by the doctors, they say if I go back, it will mess up the shoulder again.Work Comp accepted my case, no problems there, just struggling to make sure I don’t get penalized for going out under age 62.Our rural rules say if I am over 55 and have over 30 years in, I’m good. Could you give me an opinion on that?
A#1. In order for me to give you good advise, I need you to tell me a few things. Are you CSRS or CSRS/offset, or FERS or FERS w/frozen CSRS time. Look on your pay stub and tell me what code is there 1,A,8 etc. I know you are 59 and you have 31 years, which makes me think you are in CSRS or CSRS offset, but you could be FERS w/frozen CSRS. That makes me wonder why you think you would be penalized for going out under the age of 62. Please let me know what the concern is about the age of 62. Next question, are you on the OWCP “periodic rolls”? That means that you are not working but still receiving 75% of your normal working salary.

Q #2. I am on the periodic roll, or I was. This is what my latest “RTR Retirement Plan Correction Report” 1/14/11 says:
1.) 1979 -1985 FICA
2.) 1985-87 -CSRS Interim/Offset
3.) 1987- present FERS w/ CSRS Frozen Service

Clear? Not to me. The retirement sheet with the retirement estimate says that they compute retirement on the last 3 years of service. ok. Then it says if there is a period of LWOP, it will affect the monthly amount. The LWOP time was taken after my 4th surgery and I was in the Workman Comp program. The LWOP period is what I hope not to be penalized for.
How long does the periodic roll last? I have taken a Function test by their request, Doctors do not want me to go back.
A #2. You have a lot going on. First if you are not currently on the periodic rolls, you are either working, on sick leave, on annual leave or are on LWOP.That has to be established first.
1. 1979-1985 FICA…means none of your wages are in the retirement system, neither FERS nor CSRS, and you were probably working at USPS but perhaps did not pay back for your work time to be credited to your retirement account.
2. 1985-1987 CSRS interim/offset, just a period of time in which you were CSRS, (not sure if I agree, but that is what it is saying…based on #3.
3. 1987 to present FERS. The frozen CSRS time, I think they are referring to #2.

Your estimate is based on your HIGH 3 average salary, which is typically your last 3 years of employment, but not always. For example if you were a supervisor for years, and then your last 3 yrs of employment you went back to craft, your high 3 would be those supervisor years. There is a specific time frame where your LWOP reduces your years of service. One reason, is that if you have no salary. Your retirement is not only based on years of service, it is based on the fact that you are working and money is being deposited in the retirement system as well. Being penalized for LWOP is going to happen, if the period of time is long enough, just a fact, not an excuse. Again, understand that you cannot be credited in the retirement system for time that you did not work (again falling into the LWOP criteria). As far as your question how long does the periodic rolls last, for as long as OWCP and USPS agree to keep you on the periodic rolls. If I were you, I would ask for a disability retirement package and a disability annuity statement. The number to call is 1-877-477-3273. You have SO much going on, really. I hope I have been able to clear up some issues for you.

Q #3. I was told I needed to apply for Social security disability. I went to the SS office and they gave me a brochure, could not do anything for me. I was told it would be 5 to 6 months and many are denied. I got my medical records, cost $151. for 430 pages of records. I had an operation in 1999 on my right shoulder, so it is not 100% either. The left shoulder after 3 failed operations and stints of limited duty took a 4th operation to completely replace the shoulder. This is the main reason the doctors don’t want me to go back.I find this all very very hard to deal with and am very tempted to just ‘pull the trigger; and regular retire, to heck with the penalties. However when faced with up to a 12% reduction in annuity, I pause.
The postmaster is absolutely no help at all, says it makes no difference in pay whichever way I retire. I find that hard to believe.
A #3. Listen to me very clearly because I want you to be able to get out of the PO. You need to call HRSSC and request a disability retirement printout and a disability package. Hardly ANYONE gets approved social security disability, without going thru a lawyer. And the requirements under social security are very rigid, but under OPM’s requirements not so. The only requirement to be approved for disability in the post office, (which is OPM ruling) is that you are unable to perform the job you were hired for AND the post office cannot / will not give you an accommodation based on your restrictions. You will need of course your physician to write a narrative statement for the process but based on what you have told me, you should have no problem being approved. I have done this for many years, I do know what I am talking about. Call 1-877-477-3273 and ask for disability retirement printout and a disability package.

Q #4. I have sent for the disability retirement package. It states I must apply for Social Security retirement first. After I went to the SS office, they just gave me a brochure and said they didn’t know what to do. My doctor said his office does not give out statements. What I do have is his last forms from the hospital saying he did not reccomend returning in any capacity because two of three times the shoulder came out of the joint were while I was on ‘limited duty’ at the postoffice. The fourth operation was quite involved and with the spike down my arm and the claw imbedded in my shoulder, they mistrust my shoulder strength to perform postal limited duty.If that isn’t enough to worry about, the XXXX joints are now suspect and taking lawsuits for failure. The pain medicine I was on for 6 months, XXXX, is involved in a suit about heart damage caused by the medication. Thank you so much for writing, I haven’t been able to talk to my main Work Comp person, #$#%$% in &%*& City,State for months, just a machine, then no call back. I had no idea this would take so very long. The Postmaster at one point said I needed to see ‘the Postal doctor’ but never said anything further.
A #4. I have broken out the paragraph to address each item.
I have sent for the disability retirement package. It states I must apply for Social Security retirement first. You don’t have to apply first, you just have to apply in conjunction with applying for postal disability. If you look at the retirement paperwork, it only asks if you have applied, it does not ask any other question regarding social security disability. So just apply, you may not be approved, but that has no bearing on OPM approval. After I went to the SS office, they just gave me a brochure and said they didn’t know what to do. Go back and apply for disability with social security. You got a lazy federal employee, go back and if they don’t give you the paperwork to apply for disability, ask to speak to a supervisor. Of course they know what to do…that is their job!

My doctor said his office does not give out statements. You need to make an appointment with the doctor and your “received disability package” Show him that it is required that he write a narrative that you are unable to perform your job. What I do have is his last forms from the hospital saying he did not reccomend returning in any capacity because two of three times the shoulder came out of the joint were while I was on ‘limited duty’ at the postoffice. His paperwork needs to be clear and say that you are UNABLE TO PERFORM YOUR JOB, AND THAT YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE BASED ON YOUR MEDICAL INFORMATION.

The fourth operation was quite involved and with the spike down my arm and the claw imbedded in my shoulder, they mistrust my shoulder strength to perform postal limited duty.Again, the “they say people” should have no problem in putting that down on paper. This is what you need to be approved for the disability with the post office. You need to be more forceful and since you are the patient, and they get paid by virtue of your insurance or OWCP, and you, or any other entity, it is your right to have that information on paper not just verbal.

If that isn’t enough to worry about, the BLANK joints are now suspect and taking lawsuits for failure. The pain medicine I was on for 6 months, BLANK, is involved in a suit about heart damage caused by the medication. I have seen those commericials on TV as well. You have to do what I am telling you.

Please let me know, how you are proceeding with this. If you give up and don’t, you are giving up part of your right to get a retirement. I know it is sometimes complicated, you are in pain, and your health is suffering. But if you do what I am telling you, it will work. Take care, Roseanne

Postal Retirement Q&A March 2011 (Special Edition)

Good Day Postal Employees:

Big changes are coming!! Some districts are going away (no I don’t know yet which ones…nor do I think any final decisions have been made). DUO is implemented in test area’s, and coming very soon to the rest of the offices. I have had so much email traffic from the carriers throughout the country wanting to retire because of DUO.

The majority of my emails this month have been employee’s relating their fear of retirement. Some have attempted to calculate their own retirement, and some have no understanding that each retirement system(s) are so different from each other. Many employees seem to be paralyzed in limbo, due to the lack of information they want, when they call the Shared Services number. As the former Manager of Personnel in the Greensboro District, I could look out my window and see HRSSC, as they are across the parking lot from the district office. Understand however, the employees in our district DID NOT get any special treatment because of the proximity of the HRSSC site. We were told that right upfront…don’t even go there because WE (HRSSC) are across the street. They did not feel that Greensboro NC employees should have any advantage to their office, and they were right, it would be unfair to the rest of the country. In being honest many of my staff (personnel employees) choose to apply at HRSSC and why wouldn’t they! They knew their jobs were being eliminated. All of them were chosen for positions there. I trained 2 additional (detailed) personnel staff’s (aside from my original staff) while all of the HRSSC changes were being implemented, and all my employees (detailed) were selected for positions at HRSSC.

I had an upfront understanding of the vast and overwhelming changes, and how it affected the nature of information being given to the employees. This was most evident as it related to retirement information. The employees that work throughout the Greensboro district were and are far more knowledgeable about retirement, and not because of HRSSC being in that city, it’s because I am still here. I have said many times, how can you ask questions that you don’t know to ask or even what to ask? Even when you do ask, there is only so much information the Service Center is able to give you. The rest is up to you…but what if you don’t have a clue as to what “the rest” of it is!!!

The AWPU has hired me to do 4 group retirement seminars in Greensboro North Carolina, in the month of March and April. The NALC is negotiating with me in the Greensboro District as well. I have been to Atlanta this month to do a few individual sessions. They were so spur of the moment, that I did not have time to even post in this column that I was going to be there so see if anyone was interested in having me do any individual sessions. Therefore, I am announcing that I will be in the Orlando/ Ocala/ Daytona Beach area at the end of March to the beginning of April. If anyone is interested in an individual session please contact me at If there are any unions that would be interested in discussing a future group session, please contact me, as the summer dates are filling up fast. As information on my individual seminar, I will go over what an employee/pre-annuitant can expect. I review will your annuity statement, fill out all of your retirement paperwork, explain the mysteries and the misleading information that is on the annuity statement as it relates to your basic life insurance; I calculate your federal taxes, explain spousal benefits and show you how to maximize this benefit for your spouse as it relates to health insurance; I discuss and guide you on your TSP (if applicable); military buy-back (if applicable), and finally expose some social security myths. At the end of the session, you will have a clear and concise understanding of how money NET money you will have to live on when you retire, and isn’t that what everyone really wants to know!!!

As far as disability retirement and OWCP as they relate to each other, I have completed many employee’s papers. I explain the reasoning of disability retirement approvals and disapproval. I will show how a social security disability retirement is so different from a FERS or CSRS disability retirement. Again, if there are any interested in an individual session or union’s wanting some dialogue for a group session please contact me for available dates and fees. – Roseanne

Postal Retirement Q&A April 2011

Good Day Postal Employees!!

Well it has been a rock ‘n’ roll month, hasn’t it!! We got districts being eliminated; remaining districts having jobs slashed; and employees with 20+ years wondering will they have a job. Or will retirement ever be as rewarding as they once thought. The organization is offering another VERA, and ONLY to EAS in the affected district offices, (perhaps by the time this column goes to print, that will change), but for now, it has been officially reported that the following districts are being eliminated Albuquerque, NM; Columbus, OH; SE Michigan; Northern IL; SE New England; South Georgia, and Big Sky, MT. District offices that have remained, are losing anywhere between 15-20% of their staffing.

For those who are offered a VERA and when you look at the FERS retirement plan, it really is as good as YOU, yes YOU!! MADE IT…PERIOD!! By NOT always contributing the maximum to the TSP funds (which, by the way is the biggest component of the FERS retirement plan) has lead our employees into a serious dilemma when offered this early out. Aside from the obvious history of not getting matching TSP funds, (1% agency contribution) (even if you don’t) you let the organization off the hook to not contribute anymore than that 1% to your retirement fund. OK SO HOW AM I SO SURE……FERS employees after they look at their monthly annuity, special supplement; and TSP, typically they simply cannot afford to retire. I have been doing this quite a while….this should be a wake up call for you…get on the stick with TSP. ARE YOU KIDDING ME…IT’S FREE MONEY…….OR DO YOU THINK YOU WILL NEVER GET TO BE MY AGE !

With CSRS employees, 7% was automatically deducted from their paycheck, no choice, 7%, whether could afford it or not, and therefore the postal service always had to contribute 7%. It’s the CSRS employees are the only ones really in a financial position to retire. But everyone knows that, it’s no secret CSRS are the heavy hitters as far as pay and benefits are concerned, and the postal service, no different than any other federal agency, would love to have the CSRS employees retire, they are a very, very expensive employee versus the FERS employee.

I have AGAIN responded to all emails this month for assistance. I’m always surprised at the incredible misconceptions that our employees have about their retirement plan. Particularly in the last years of their employment, they are so sure of their retirement benefits, and are so surely wrong. I have had the pleasure of being retained by the the APWU to do four retirement seminars; 2 for CSRS and 2 for FERS. I have done one of each so far, my group sessions take about 2 hours depending on the size of the audience. It has always amazed me how our organization is OK with the understanding that employees are afraid to retire, because they don’t trust the newly HRSSC to get their retirement correct. Many in these classes I have conducted have said the lack of information given during an on-the-phone seminar is lacking real substance as it relates to the individual employee. Many have stated it sounds scripted and is overly generic when you call and ask questions. TRUE, TRUE and TRUE.

There are many reasons why this is an impossible task for the HRSSC to be personal with the employee, but that does not help the retiring employee have a sense of confidence when retiring. I completed a retirement one day this month with an employee who had the HRSSC counseling that same morning. The employee had about 1/2 the paperwork filled out, and most of it was filled out incorrectly. I questioned client about the session in the morning, and stated could not figure out what they were saying and they were going to fast for me to understand. So they got frustrated with filling this paperwork out. They also stated it was distracting to have other people on the phone for a counseling session at the same time. Many people don’t absorb information in the same way.
I am currently in Florida as I write this, today the much-needed rain was just pounding the streets, so I had time to think about this months’ column. I had the pleasure of meeting an employee from the Dayton’s P&DC and was told that PDC was closing. There are a lot changes that are different from state to state. I think when it comes to having information that crosses the states line, you really have to be look toward the unions for guidance, maybe more now than ever. The email requests from all of you out there wanting to know if I am going to be in your area. I foresee perhaps in June maybe the NJ area and perhaps Baltimore area. I will keep you posted. And remember everything that glitters, ain’t gold. – Roseanne

Postal Retirement Q&A May 2011

Good Day Postal Employees!

Question 1. I recently received and read my retirement package. My question is about the TSP. Am I right to believe that I can leave my money in the TSP and take it anytime I want as an annuity? This being either one, two, five or ten years later. Also, if I send my papers in, to retire July 31, can I rescind them if I change my mind?

Answer 1. You can leave your $ in TSP until 70 yrs 6 mo (if retired). Once no longer employed you cannot contribute to TSP unless you were to move it to another financial vehicle other than the TSP board. You can withdraw all of it, some of it, or draw an annuity or even monthly payments within 1 month to 10 years later or later, again…until 70 and a half. Yes you can rescind your papers until 5:00pm on July 31st.

Question 2. I was wondering….. Do you.. can you answer questions of a pay nature… I asked 2 supervisors.. and my union… Got no answer from any of them!

Answer 2. It depends on the question. I don’t have the ability to look at YOUR info on a postal computer. I’m retired. I am unable to access USPS records. But other than that, just ask I can lead you through your form 50’s on postalease.

Question 2a. OK goes – I am a letter carrier.. when I first got hired back in 94.. I was a level 5 now a level 1… Then I got a float aka T-6 or level 6,,,, before I got my first step increase…. So I had to start new waiting period before my next step increase … But the weeks I served as a level 5 were not lost.. They were in , may I say, held in limbo, which I could use later, if I were to back to a level 5… Well to make a long story short,,,,,here 2011,, I am still a floater,, level 6,, now a level 2 ,,, and I still have weeks in limbo.. I can not remember how many now….Lets say 20 weeks,,,, Now if I got back to a level 5 or a level 1 I have to take a pay cut and get level 1 pay… But can I use the weeks I have in limbo,,,, how ever many weeks I have ,,, 20 maybe? to keep from getting a pay cut and keep getting level 2 pay for 20 more weeks?

Answer 2a. – Here is what you NEED to do. You need to contact your local services office at your district office. All offices have report to a district office.. In your case, I know your city still has a district office and local services as well. But what you need is to have a “Step Calculator” applied to your service time. When going from a level 5/1 to a level 6/2, the weeks that you are referring to (waiting for the next step) would be reapplied should you return to level 5/1. If that did not happen then someone either in your local services office (at the time) or HRSSC did not apply the step calculator to your time. If local services is the one to do it for you, trust me, when you call HRSSC they will be quick to tell you that or at least give you the phone number of your HR Generalist/Principal (correct title) of who can assist you in this matter. HRSSC is 1-877-477-3273.

Question 3. -Thank You in advance for taking my question! I am a CSRS. I have 32 yrs postal service, a year of sick leave and have bought back 4 years of military service. Until last week’s hearings I was seriously going to stick around 2 more years. Do you think I should get out now, especially concerning the possible rise in health care costs?

Answer 3. – I am going to assume that you are waiting around to be 55? One thing that you may not be aware of, as an annuitant, the post office still pays an enormous amount of YOUR health benefits. I know that when employees look at how much the insurance is when you are a retiree, it seems outrageous. But let me say this, in 2009, when I retired, I was paying 23.05 per pay period, which is 46.10 per month. When I retired, I began paying 92.88 per month. But here is the kicker, when I finally received by booklet provided by OPM after you retire, guess what I found out?? I was paying 92 a month for health insurance, but the post office was paying 277.45 per month for me as well, and will continue to pay that high amount for me until I die. Unreal ain’t it!! I say that to say your health benefits are such an good benefit in retirement. Understand that FEHB is the same insurance of all federal employees, including congress and the senate. Therefore, we are getting the best of the best of the best. A rise in health care cost, will increase, but so will the portion of what OUR agency pays in our behalf.

Question 4 – My dad retired from the USPS in 1988, and died in 1995. My mother is getting his retirement annuity. She had an accountant do her taxes in previous years, and they seemed to ignore what was taxable or not. I now have the task of doing her tax return for her.Thanks for any help.

Answer 4. There is a portion of the annuity that is NOT taxable. As an example, a CSRS employee, who put 85,000 into the OPM retirement system, and say receives 3000. per month. That $3000 monthly amount is only taxed on 2790. per month. When a retiree goes to get their income tax done (as I have, and as my husband has) there a place on the 1040 long form that “asks” for the amount of monies input into the OPM system. There is something on the 1099 that alludes to that. Your father was in the CSRS retirement fund. Their is a new retirement system for federal employees called FERS. I am a CSRS, as was your father, so I am reflecting on a CSRS annuity. As far as a source, I would call HR Block, because they are the ones that have done my taxes for several years and I sit there and watch where there is an exception to the money received monthly for me, because it was already taxed when it was earned. I hope I have at least given you a place to start. Not sure if you know any of these numbers, but if you need to contact OPM, the number is 1-888-767-6738.


– Roseanne

Postal Retirement Q&A Memorial Day 2011

Good Day Postal Employees!

Well I must say that I am pretty “PO’d” about right now. I have heard rumors, and they ARE true..because I have seen validation of it. What is she talking about?? I am hoping I have your attention now. You all know that I do individual retirements so I am always seeing the changes in paperwork and see a consistent degrading of adequate information that employees are receiving through the retirement process.

Again, what is she talking about? Hopefully you are in….AND I HOPE YOU GET AS PO’D AS I AM. As the Mgr of Personnel, and after I retired, when I did retirements for clients (up to 2009), YOUR annuity estimates were ordered through NARCES. If any of you out there have an estimate from at least 2009 or prior to that, it will be from NARCES. That estimate was a comprehensive piece of information to the employee explaining IN DETAIL (with a little assistance, I’ll grant you) your retirement in totality. It was one complete sheet of information that was CRITICAL in the accurate completion of your retirement paperwork. NOW THE RUMOR. I was told that OPM is allowing (either just the post office or all federal agencies) to create the annuity estimate, because their numbers (meaning high 3 salary figures) are accurate. Well that’s true, the agencies do have the accurate salary necessary to compute your annuity. And NARCES was only a “snap shot” of your last 3 years anyway. I say 99% of the time your last 3 years of employment are your high 3 years.

But get ready because the estimates coming out from the post office are in a word LAME, and seriously LACKING OF NECESSARY INFORMATION. They are missing at least 10 pieces of information that are REQUIRED on the retirement form. I am doing a retirement right now and there is so much anger inside of me because if those of you who have never seen a NARCES estimate, then get this BS estimate, HOW DO YOU KNOW WHAT THEY ARE NOT TELLING YOU AND BELIEVE ME THEY ARE NOT TELLING YOU. The life insurance on the forms shows you have none. NOT TRUE. Every postal employee has at a minimum Basic Life Insurance, which is your yearly salary, rounded up the the next thousand, plus an additional 2 thousand, and on top of that the post office pays for your basic life insurance. But when you get this post office annuity estimate, there is no insurance information is on there. No Basic, no Option A, B, C. In a word, UNREAL. You want UNREAL again; they don’t show you how much your health insurance will be after conversion to retirement, because it does increase. So on the NARCES annuity form if there is a question, you ask. There will be nothing on the Post Office annuity form to question, because it lacks information YOU SHOULD QUESTION….and so YOU CAN’T ASK.. Shameful!

I’m sure I will get some backlash about this, but IT’S FLAT OUT WRONG. Some of you will write in the comment section some nonsense unrelated to this column or give me grief about me trying to help you!! I know there is no way for any of you reading this to know what I know, or see how they are taking away your options in retirement , by simply not showing them. The younger the employee, the less knowledge you have about the benefits. Now for the why, so you DON’T TAKE THE HEALTH BENEFITS. Then the POST OFFICE DOESN’T HAVE TO ASSIST SUPPLEMENTING YOUR HEALTH BENEFITS TO THE GOVERNMENT IN YOUR BEHALF.


YOU DIDN’T KNOW THAT DID YOU? Don’t get me started on HOW MISLEADING the FEGLI is on the annuity estimate either!! I have created a mission statement for my business: “I help achieve what you deserve”

If you are in Ohio, and, interested in an individual retirement session this summer, please email …Till the next time we talk, – Roseanne

Postal Retirement June 2011

Good Day Postal Employees!

Here are a few Q&A’s from this month.

Just for your information, 25+ employees retired from HRSSC on May 31, 2011. So what…. So what… what that means is 25+ employees who had the knowledge and were employees PRIOR to the invention of HRSSC, have left and so too, their knowledge has gone right out the door with them!! Everyone at Shared Services (HRSSC) are not stupid, there are very intelligent, dedicated & great employees who are willing to help….but really, too few that fall into that category. And I can say this because I know them very well, many I myself have trained ! OK – I am done, since I had a ahh commenter stating on the blog that I was ranting and raving and could not understand what I was saying. If you read the blog, I was polite.

Q 1 – Hi Roseanne,

I have inquired with USPS about my retirement. I am still a little confused. I am eligible for a voluntary FERS retirement however I am uncertain what the heck to do.They have not offered but I am ready anyway– Now do I understand this correctly that if I defer my annuity I take no penalty. And will the USPS pick back up my Medical and life upon retirement age if I defer? Is there a hidden agenda I should know about or is this clean cut. And is my annuity available at regular retirement age or later? And also thanks for being there to help.

A 1 – Hi *****Based on our follow up email to validate your age and years, you should call HRSSC back, be sure and ask for an “H” ticket number because I am sure they will deny they told you wrong information. Ask them to tell you where in the ELM or the EL-312, (manuals that will show information relative to retirement etc)…where the LANGUAGE is for information about Deferred Annuity. Because what you have stated in your email that they told you is incorrect. Information in the FERS Retirement Information Booklet states”

“Deferred Retirement: if you separate from before you are eligible for an immediate annuity, and you do not take a refund of your retirement contributions, you will be eligible for deferred retirement benefits as soon as you attain the age that corresponds with the age and service combinations shown below. You will not be permitted to continue Federal Employees Health Benefits or Federal Employees Group Life Insurance. You are not eligible for the special retirement supplement”
MRA 30 (yrs)
60 20 (yrs)
62 5 (yrs)
MRA 10 (Reduced)

So what you asked, and the answer given to you, again is not correct. However, there is another type of FERS retirement, called MRA+10 Retirement Postponed Benefits. This may be where some confusion lies regarding their answer. The information in the FERS retirement Information Booklet it states for this type is:

“You may postpone receipt of the MRA+10 benefit to a later age to lessen the reduction. Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) coverage and Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) coverage may be reinstated when the annuity commences.

Q 2 I am a postal employee (csrs), with 39 years of service. I am having trouble finding out how much federal tax and health benefits would be deducted from my monthly income. I would currently receive 3,269.00 a month before taxes. Thanks for any help in advance.

A 2 In order to find some of this information, the easiest way would be to order your annuity printout from oing from an employee to retirement. As far as the federal taxes are concerned, take the amount of monthly annuity on your statement ordered from HRSSC, then go to and click on retirement information. You will find the federal tax annuity calculator right there on line. You just input the monthly amount and check married or single and the number of deductions, hit enter and it give you the federal tax amount.

Q 3 Hi Roseanne, Thanks for your help. My question is about health insurance. My husband retired from USPS (CRS) and carries the insurance for both of us. I retired (FERS) and am 2 years older than him. Can I just stay on his insurance when I turn 62 (1yr) or am I required to join medicare? Because I will be eligible to receive social security, am I mandated to collect s.s. at 62 or lose my supplemental income from FERS? Thanks again for your help.

A 3 Hi, As a postal couple, only one of you can carry family coverage, whether your working or retired. (You both can carry single coverage…but one cannot take single and the other take family) I know why you are asking because of the medicare. But just hear me out

You and your husband can (during open season Nov-Dec) change to single coverage each. That I am sure would lessen the financial burden because 2 single coverages is typically much less than 1 family coverage per month. As far as your question, with him being a CSRS and you being a FERS, has NO bearing on you staying on his insurance, if you decide to do that.

When you turn 65 (not 62) medicare kicks in.. for all of us. Your husband’s primary hospital insurance when he reaches age 65 will be medicare (yes I know he is CSRS, so am I but at 65 medicare will be my primary…and no I am not going to receive social security. Like you my husband who is also CSRS will also receive a reduced social security and he will have medicare as his primary at 65….all of us in USA will have medicare as their primary insurance at age 65…regardless. As far as your ss supplement, regulations provided that supplement be paid until your first opportunity to collect social security, which is age 62. You can choose to NOT collect social security until age 65 or older to increase the amount, but the supplement paid by OPM is still going to stop at age 62.

Additionally, When turning 65 and medicare becomes your primary…it’s only your primary for hospitalization. You will still need coverage for doctor visits, as well as the paying the “hospital doctor”..medicare only pays the hospital. Additionally you will need coverage for prescriptions. Your FEHB will be an appropriate gap coverage for medicare. People who have FEHB don’t need to sign up for medicare part B or D, provided they continue with the FEHB coverage. When one does do the MATH of medicare part a,b, and d, FEHB is still a viable affordable option. Till we talk again…. – Roseanne

Postal Retirement July 2011

Good Day Postal Employees!

July’s column will start out with a BANG! Recent news has given many people cause to pause…and rightly so. I have gone through site after site after site, and every report on websites, including union websites I have read, say precisely the following:

“The post office said it has informed the Office of Personnel Management that the $115 million retirement payment made every two weeks will be suspended effective Friday. The action is expected to free about $800 million in the current fiscal year. The post office’s Federal Employee Retirement System account currently has a surplus of $6.9 billion the agency said. Because of that surplus the suspension should not have any effect on current retirees, postal spokesman Dave Partenheimer said. He said no decision has been made about how long the contributions will be suspended but “it is not a long-term solution. The long-term solution is getting legislation passed.” Anthony Vegliante, chief human resources officer, said the post office will continue to send employees’ contributions to the retirement system, as well as employer and employee contributions to the workers’ savings plans, which are similar to a 401(k).”

I have read this like 12 or 20 times, and all I can get from this is… The post office, which by the way internally, we have not been known by that name.. in what……YEARS!!!, has informed OPM that the $115m bi-weekly payment is suspended………effective Friday….but Tony V says we will continue to send the contributions to the retirement systems/TSP.. (WHICH IS THE PAYMENT THAT GOES TO OPM BI-WEEKLY.) This is your basic and always effective (not) postal service, excuse me!! jargon. We used to say it has the appearance of talking out of both sides of your neck….why would everyone just be OK with this…are we stupid!! And I am talking JUST about the lunacy of the this statement. The dictionary meaning of suspended, is to hold-up, pause, delay..this payment, and with the same breath, contradict the statement by saying that the PO will continue to send these contributions that in the paragraph above, just said were being suspended!!! Can you say double speak. So here we go again having the postal service be ever so TRANSPARENT (Yes…..this is sarcasm!!). I know they are in financial trouble, everyone knows…they have been saying it for years…so who is it that doesn’t believe that the postal service is about, as we say…. tapped out!! One would think that would be a good enough business reason for OPM to approve another early out retirement for employees, considering they are “suspending THEIR retirement payments” why not just let them retire if they meet CSRS and FERS early out regulations. OK, I am off the platform!!

Q 1. Roseanne I know what you think of rumors so I thought I would come to the person who knows what is correct not rumor. I would like to know how to compute the high 5 calculation to see if it really makes the big difference in our retirement that everyone is talking about. I still have the work sheet for calculating the high 3. I am under CSRS. Thanks J

A 1. Hi J, There is a difference in that the 5 years will calculate 2 years of lower salary than the high 3. For example if you high 5 were as follows:

2010- 60,000.00
2009- 57,200.00
2008- 54,100.00
2007- 51,800.00
2006- 49,000.00**total 272,100.00 divided by 5 (yrs)= $54,420


2010- 60,000.00
2009- 57,200.00
2008- 54,100.00**total 171,300.00 divided by 3 (yrs) = $57,100

Again using this as a basis for your retirement figure as you can see has reduced the figure that will be used for the calculation. Based on FERS or CSRS this is a huge reduction when you see that the yearly salaries are the same. Bottom line high 5 will reduce the yearly/monthly annuity because it starts out at a lower figure. Hopefully this has helped you.

Q 2. Hi Roseanne, My father worked for the USPS from 1963 to 1977. Would he be able to collect any of the retirement that he paid in and if so, how would he go about it? Thanks so much for any response on this.

A 2. Hi, You can call on your father’s behalf. You will need his social security number. Based on 1963-1977 he would be in the CSRS Civil Service Retirement System. He is eligible to take out his contributions if he has not done so already. The phone number is 1-888-767-6738.

Q 3. Hi, I have just one question for you today. If I don’t plan on working after retiring from the Postal Service at age 55 and I don’t have the 40 quarters needed to draw social security. Do I need to buy back military time or I’m I wasting my money? I’m under civil service retirement plan starting the Post Office in 1982. I’ve been told by HR that there is no need to buy it back if I don’t work and won’t be able to draw Social Security.

A 3. Hi, As a CSRS employee you are able to have your unpaid military years credited to your federal years in service. If you don’t have 40 quarters at retirement, then you DON’T NEED TO PAY IT BACK. The problem comes in when you have some quarters like 32, and you take a part time job for several years and wind up contributing to equal the 40 quarters, then your CSRS annuity will be reduced.


Q 4. Hi Roseanne, My husband and I both work for the USPS. We love your articles and greatly appreciate you sharing your expertise with all of us. He is Civil Service and I am FERS. Should we take the Survivors benefit and:How will it affect our perspective retirements? If he dies, will his Civil Service Survivor benefit jeopardize my SS retirement benefits and if I die, will my survivor benefit (I’m guessing this will be the 1% per year of service) and my SS survivor benefit for him be jeopardized by his Civil Service Retirement. Thanks so much for all you do.

A 4. Hi, OK, first your ages have a lot to do with how you handle the spousal benefit. First and foremost, his spousal annuity to you, will NOT impact YOUR social security benefits. For example, I am CSRS, as is my spouse (we are both retired), he has over 40 quarters of social security and at age 62 he will receive a ss check (as well as his CSRS annuity). His SS check is just slashed because of his CSRS annuity. Now, should he pass away, as his spouse I would be entitled to his SS check, but because of MY CSRS annuity, I will not get ANY of his ss check. Let me know how old the both of you are and I will be able to give better information, as well as your intended retirement dates.

Till the next time we talk…..Roseanne

Postal Retirement August 2011

Good Day Postal Employees!

OK, so most people who read this column, know I am around…close to.. but not yet 60. Does anyone remember a summer ever being this hot!! This summer has been brutal all over the nation. So I say, no matter how you feel about anything that is going on in the postal service, we ALL need to take off our hats and commend our letter carriers. I cannot think of too many jobs out there that endure the elements like the carriers do….all year long.
Question # 1. I was hit by a forklift and badly hurt while in a safety zone at a plant. I have been on OWCP since the accident. If I retire (FERS), do I stay on OWCP? Will USPS pay for my health benefits to assure I have care for the rest of my life, if I retire? A forklift almost cut off my foot but it was saved and I can walk. Also had surgery for bad rotator cuff tear, which was repaired. Am approved to RTD with many restrictions. I was a Clerk Steno. If I accept a job within limitations, do I stay on OWCP? If I cannot go back to work or cannot perform the job and I retire, do I have to pay for my XYZ ? Should I accept a settlement? I cannot get answers to my questions from anyone at USPS. Any answers will be very appreciated.

Answer # 1. Boy do you have a lot going on! There are many things to consider in your case, your age, your actual health, not for the post office’s sake, but for your sake. Sometimes we have medical injuries that are from working and sometimes we have other ailments, such as migraines, foot issues, bad backs, just because we age. That makes our working life even more miserable as does the injury we sustained at work. I will try to take apart some of the issues you got, but remember, I am writing based on what YOU tell me. If you lead me down the wrong path, just like a computer it will be, garbage in….garbage out!!!

I will assume for just a minute that either the PO or someone has told you that you can retire “disability retirement” and get off the OWCP rolls….and yes that is true. You don’t say how long you have been on OWCP for the forklift injury. I will assume your clerk-steno job was abolished and somehow you transferred to mail handler either by choice or by force.

If I were you, I would apply for disability retirement right away. Just on what I see, you have a really good case. Being approved to return to duty with many restrictions, is in your benefit (for OPM’s approval sake) that the PO really cannot accommodate you. Do you have to pay for your health benefits? Only because I know that XYZ is a FEHB insurance company and no doubt your health care provider. Yes you do pay for your health benefits when you retire….we all do…and yes it is more than what you are paying now. But the Post Office still, in your retirement, pays about twice as much as you do…FOR YOU each month. As far as accepting a settlement, that would be improper on my part to even comment about something I know nothing about. As I say in my column, which is where I suspect you found me, every case, every retirement, is different, so I don’t comment on what I don’t really know. I realize that no one answers any questions, and for a good reason, they don’t know the answers. Call 1-877-477-3273, and get an “H” ticket number when you do, (ASK FOR IT, they typically are not going to just give to you !!). You will request your DISABILITY ANNUITY STATEMENT for July 2011, as well as your DISABILITY RETIREMENT BOOKLET. This will give you a starting point in the disability retirement process. Just for clarification, please let me know how/where you heard about me. Roseanne

Response # 1, Roseanne, thank you so much. You have been the most helpful person I have been able to find. I found you on your blog through a Google search.

Actually, I am in excellent health and have no physical problems. When I was injured (from behind in a safety zone), I was actively working out, physically fit, I don’t even wear glasses, (had Lasik surgery), weight same since age 16, so this accident just “ended” my life in terms of what I could formerly do. The accident was in 2005. An attorney told me there is no disability retirement after you are 62. I already had requested the disability packet but figured I couldn’t use it.

I will call them as you suggested. They may be offering me something in the clerk class (I definitely can’t do mail handling) but I can’t wear a closed shoe–or any shoe except a flip-flop sandal. I will call that number and get an H# so I can do this right. Thank you sooooooo much!!

Question # 2. Hello Roseanne, I will be retiring from the postal service in 2 years. I will have almost 34 years under csr. My question is, can I work for the USPS as an RCA part time without it affecting my pension. I still need to get my quarters in to collect some SS even though it will not be much.
Thank you, for your time.

Answer # 2. Yes you can work for the USPS after retirement. You won’t be an RCA,(Rural Carrier Associate) but a TRC (Temporary Rural Carrier). A TRC (as well as a PMR, (Post Master Replacement) are able (with notification to OPM by the Postal Service…((several forms that will need to be signed off and SENT to OPM)) to work after retirement with no negative effect to their retirement check…UNDER THESE CONDITIONS ONLY!!! YOU CAN ONLY WORK 180 DAYS PER CALENDAR YEAR…THEY DON’T HAVE TO BE CONSECUTIVE AND THERE IS NO REDUCTION OF YOUR PENSION/ANNUITY. WHEN YOU WORK THE 181st DAY, FOR EVERY DOLLAR YOU EARN, THAT DOLLAR IS REDUCED FROM YOUR ANNUITY CHECK. I hope this has helped. Roseanne

Question # 3. Hello Roseanne, I worked for the Postal Service for 20 years and I was under the old civil retirement system. I left the service and kept my retirement in place. can you direct to a resource where I can get an accurate estimate of my options and expected retirement amount. I am currently 55 years old and left when I was 45. Thank you for your time.

Answer # 3. It is very good that you did not touch your retirement in CSRS. I am pretty sure that you will still have to wait until age 62 to obtain a “deferred retirement” under CSRS rules. You can (if you want…and why would’ve waited this long) still pull out all of your money that is in the CSRS fund (mind you, just your contributions…the PO contributions stays in the fund). If you do, you don’t get the benefit of being a federal retiree. You need to call OPM at 1-888-767-6738 and discuss this with someone on the phone. You can also go on their website and navigate to see where you can correspond with them on this issue. The web site is Best wishes, Roseanne

Question # 4.Hi Roseanne, Maybe you could help me. My husband turns 65 in Dec of this year. He has been retired a few years now (after 37 years of service). He gets Social Security ( not much). I am fers, 52 years old with 25 3/4 years service to the postal service. We both carry our own insurance (self only) by the P.O. Now when he turns 65 does he sign up for A & B, or just A, or just B. We want to keep his Blue Cross Blue Shield. Does the BCBS become his secondary and how do we do it?

Sorry the question goes further to ask: If I retire on the next early out or at 56 with 30 years in, Should I keep my self only retirement or get family on his? If we were both on his, Would I still have insurance if something happen to him? Thanks

Answer # 4. I am so glad you wrote. At age 65 Medicare becomes the primary hospital insurance… for everyone. BUT THAT IS ALL THAT MEDICARE PART A pays…the hospital. It WILL NOT PAY the doctor who saw you in the hospital, and a host of other medical bills that leave us wondering just what did Medicare Part A pay ? Again it only pays the hospital bill….period. This is where the Medicare Part B, C & D become tantalizing…but don’t do it. You have federal health benefits, you don’t need Medicare b/c/d.
I say it this way so that you don’t fall for one of the biggest myths going about everyone jumping for joy when they get 65 so they can get Medicare and stop (they think) paying for expensive federal health care. You and your husband are PERFECTLY situated. You don’t need to do anything. Medicare will take over just because everyone at 65 has medicare as it’s mandatory primary hospital insurance. There is nothing for you to do. What happens in billing, is the hospital bill is paid by Medicare any other charges, are billed to your insurance company. So again, it’s nothing for you to do. You want to keep your FEHB, and keep single for the both of you. Roseanne

I am sure some readers will have their own take on Medicare or feel their health benefits are too expensive and should change to all Medicare when they turn 65. I don’t recommend it, but it’s your money and your health. I suggest not taking the cheap way out on your health benefits, particularly as you age, you really need to keep your FEGLI, and as far as Medicare b,c and d, fugetaboutit !!

Till the next time we talk…..Roseanne

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 coverage….here 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 time…you 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

Postal Retirement October 2011

Good Day Postal Employees!

I have had a very busy month with answering all your questions, and have chosen two that had multiple questions on the same subject. Many times as shown below, I will do research on my answers that I provide to the readers of postalmag. I try to give the most up to date information I have and don’t take for granted that things have not changed since I have left the post office. Below I have included information from the OPM web site regarding health benefit open season.

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has announced that this year�s open season for health benefits, dental and vision insurance, and flexible spending accounts will be held from November 14 through December 12, 2011. The annual open season gives federal employees and retirees the opportunity to review their health plan choices and make changes; it also allows eligible employees to enroll for coverage.

Question 1 – Hi Roseanne, I corresponded with you earlier in the year, as I was contemplating retiring sometime in 2011, due to me needing to relocate. After all information was gathered and analyzed, and due to the problems with OPM in processing of retirement data and Annuity Checks on a timely basis, I have been forced to postpone my retirement until 2012.

During 2011 I accumulated as much sick time and vacation time in anticipation of my retirement by 12-31-2011. I was informed by Shared Services that all sick leave would be calculated in with my final annuity amount and I would lose none. You corrected that issue and I was aware that they pay in whole months and additional days I could use or I would lose.

I was told by Shared Services all unused Annual Leave would be paid out to me in a lump some about (2) weeks after my retirement. Since I was planning to retire by 12-31-2011 the carry over of additional hours after max of 440 hours never arose. Once it became a possibility that I may have to postpone retirement and that I would have more than 440 hours of Annual leave on books at 12-31-2011, I contacted Shared Services and they stated that as long as I cashed out additional hours during Annual Leave Open Season Buy Back I would lose none. They stated this took place in November. Today I contacted Shared Services and again asked the same question and told them I have 505 on books and wanted to buy back at least 65 of these hours, and they stated I could do this but only between 11-15-11 and 12-15-11. They stated a form would be coming in the mail. I asked the questions twice and she stated she was looking at my record, I was eligible and she was 100% certain If I filed the correct form and on a timely basis I would get these accumulated hours and not lose them, she assured me I would. As this is a lot of money hanging in the air I really wanted to get your expert answer and knowledge. All this retirement misinformation and delays of information and monies has been so very stressful and frankly a bunch of crap. After 30+ years why is it so hard to get a truthful and factual answer out of the USPS? And why is it so hard to get all monies I have worked so hard for in a timely and efficient manner? I follow your column religiously and we are so lucky to have you out there giving us true factual information. I bet you thank your lucky stars you got out when you did. Sincerely Mr. S

Response 1. – Your earned annual leave will paid “precisely” two weeks after your last paycheck. This paycheck will be a paper check (not direct deposited). Your annual leave is paid with the last paycheck, should you have any work hours and with that last pay check is all EARNED annual leave. Depending on if you are craft or EAS, has different answers. Understand this, when you “cash out” as you say, or “selling back your annual leave” or whatever way you say it, yes you can do that….however, you are NOT cashing out the leave for this year, but selling the leave for the coming year…and if you retire, there is no leave for the coming year. That answer above, is why I had not written you back yet. Because I always doubt myself when I hear something so WRONG, that I need to check to see if they have changed the rules on selling your annual leave…I am still checking on that….so give me a little more time. I am so sure I am right, but I have a phone call into a contact in timekeeping to make sure my answer is correct. As far as the form, yes there is a form that you need to fill out..but again…I am waiting on an answer from a finance person. I don’t normally take this long to respond, and typically, if I find your question(s) need further information from you, I would ask for your phone number so I could discuss personally. But in this case, I know that many times people are 100% certain, and are 100% certainly wrong. I will assume you are craft person, since you’re over the 440 hours. And on top of my reason for thinking they are 100% wrong is the time frame. 11-15 thru 12-15…did they say when you GET the annual leave pay that you are selling? Because if it’s in January, and you retire Dec 31st, you are not an employee anymore. Again, I am just talking myself through this because I think the information is not quite accurate, again, unless something has changed…I will get back with you as soon as I am able to get an answer I am comfortable with….I ain’t just yet..and I am too old and too knowledgeable to KNOW that I don’t know everything all the time, and things change.

Revised Response 1. – There are several “conditions” to buying back your leave, 1. you must have PRECISELY (as a craft employee) 440, and not fraction over or a fraction under; 2. if you have used sick leave in current year, there is a limitation to how much sick leave you use during the year, which could make you ineligible to buy back (or sell) annual leave 3. Since you are retiring, you cannot buy back leave for the next year, because that is what in fact you are doing, you are buying leave from the NEW leave year. This can be verified with any of your timekeeping (TAC’s) office in your district. Bottom line the information you received from HRSSC relative to buying back your leave was incorrect. Finally if you were NOT to retire and still bought back leave, you are only allowed to buy 40 hours and that is paid to you in sometime in February.

Question 2. – I worked for the FBI from June 1974 thru June 1975. I then have worked at the po from Feb 1981 to present. Is it necessary for me to buy back my FBI time. I’m not planning on seeking employment after my retirement (which may be sooner than I thought (depending what happens with the PO). I’m also civil service. Would you have any idea about how much I would owe in buying back that time. When I resigned from the FBI, I was making $6989 a year. Wow, and I still had enough money for happy hour! I’ve been trying to work with HR since February on this. They told me it would take about 1 year to get this resolved. Just called them again today and they said they would try to get the paperwork sent out to me. Thank you for your time and I really appreciate your columns on postal mag.

Response 2. – Hi, I will assume that you took a refund of your CSRS money from OPM for the time frame of 6/74 thru 6/75. Additionally, it depends on when you worked for the FBI if you were a “career” employee or not. You need to look at your form 50’s from the FBI to see what they say, with respect to being a career employee or not. The Post office should have requested your OPF from the FBI, therefore your form 50’s should be in your eOPF NOW!. Go into liteblue and look at your eOPF, to see if it’s in there. If not, this may be why they (HRSSC) tells you it will take a year..which I think is ridiculous anyway. Do a little research on your own (in your eOPF). Roseanne

Question 2 a. – Roseanne, I emailed you yesterday regarding my 1 year FBI service. I took your advice and looked at my form 50’s and it appears that my FBI time was non career time. I looked at my pay stub and I did not pay into civil service. The FBI did not let you join civil service until you worked for them for 3 years. So, I hope this information will help to answer my questions from yesterday. I sure do appreciate the time and dedication you exhibit in trying to help out the pathetic, poor informed postal workers…like myself. I sure miss the good ole days when the post office had a personnel office and you could talk to somebody in person. Oh well….times change. Thank you so much Roseanne!

Question 2 b.- Roseanne… I’m somewhat confused…hard to believe from a postal worker! lol But, HR is giving me credit for that FBI year in my retirement annuity…even though I did not pay into cs. So at present, they are giving me credit for 31 years of service (according to my paperwork) even though I have worked for the post office for 30 years. So I don’t have to buy back my FBI year to get credit for the 31 years?

Response 2 a/b. – Tell me on your old form 50’s from the FBI, in the section that says retirement, is a code 1 there? When working for the govt back in the 70’s some of the time was creditable for retirement purposes. Buying it back may not be necessary, or possible. The best way to tell is to request an annuity estimate and an RTR report from HRSSC. When you get that then perhaps we can figure this out together. When working for the PO I was able to review things like that. I try not to assume too much without knowing all the information. Without all the information I would be uncomfortable giving you guidance, because I may not have all the details for a correct answer. Roseanne

Question 2 c. – Roseanne, I do have an annuity estimate as well as the RTR report. The RTR report was dated 7/7/10 and my annuity estimates have been in the last month. What should I be looking for? Thanks again for your attention….it is about ready to drive me to daily drinking!!ha

Response 2 c. – On the annuity estimate look at the RCD/ACD are they the same? (RCD “Retirement Computation Date”; ACD “Annuity Computation Date”) Is your EOD and your your RCD and ACD the same? The RTR report, if its the RTR Retirement Plan Correction Report (This is the name of the report, not that it is a correction…don’t cha just love it), should show FBI start date, end date, Reported retirement code; calculated retirement code.. on that one if the FBI shows CSRS, then the time IS creditable and can be used for retirement calculations. Understand one thing, that 1 year can be very costly, (with the interest) that it may not be a financial gain to buy it back. If you have the “National Retirement Counseling System, Prior Service Report, that should show how the FBI time is calculated. Sometimes federal years are calculated for RCD “service credible for retirement eligibility” (that should have been sent with the annuity estimate) and ACD “service creditable for annuity computation…they are not always the same, this is where you may find the answers to your questions. That FBI time is no doubt creditable for service for retirement eligibility (RCD) (years) but not for ACD annuity computation, money. That should give you a place to begin at. Roseanne

Question 2 d. – Roseanne… How do you keep all this straight!? On the annuity estimate, the RCD/ACD are the same…and what in the devil is EOD? On the RTR for FBI, the Derived Retirement Code is FICA as well as Retirement Plan. Is this good news or bad news? After all of this…I might just go out on Disability Retirement…mental stress! lol

Final Response : First if the RCD and ACD are the same as your seniority date for bidding purposes, (and if you did not change crafts) then I would say you don’t have to buy it back and I am really not sure if you can. EOD is enter on duty..sometimes if no military or no other federal service it will typically be your seniority date for bidding. If the FBI times shows FICA, then it was NOT covered under the CSRS retirement plan. Now the rubber meets the road, can you buy back this one year? Because it was in the early 70’s it may be. I would call 1-888-767-6738 (OPM) and just ask them. I am so in the middle on this answer, I am leaning towards no you cannot, but because I know rural carriers can buy back/FICA time performed during the 70’s I am not sure. Give OPM a call for a direct answer. Roseanne

Till we speak again…..Roseanne

Postal Retirement Q&A November 2011


I hear your pain out there!! It really has been a roller coaster for the Agency, yes I mean the Postal Service! That is how we are referred to on federal documents, a Federal Agency. That is how we are categorized. Think about that for a minute and recognize that we are the ONLY Agency that is NOT dependent for funding by citizens’ taxes. NO other Agency makes a profit, they don’t have to, but WE do…..


I have had many inquires last month about what happens IF……Due to the financial situations in the Postal Service, they may have to be creative in decreasing staffing. Of course early out options have taken place, and yet they are still not at the numbers needed to downsize the entire Organization. Below is information that spells out pretty clearly age & service requirements and how they affect the bottom line on your monthly annuity. These are some of the types of retirement plans that are not “Optional” meaning you meet all age and service requirements; “Disability” meaning you are disabled for the job were hired; “Early Out” meaning not have to meet the ALL the age and service requirements, but still meeting a threshold of age and service.

DISCONTINUED SERVICE – Age and Service Requirements – AKA “Involuntary Separation”…not due to disciplinary issues

Age 50 (with) 20 or more yrs of service
Age ANY (with) 25 or more yrs of service

If you 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 above age/service requirements.

UNDER CSRS employees are subject to the 2% reduction (if under age 55).

UNDER FERS employees are NOT subject to an age reduction if under THEIR MRA. However, FERS employees will NOT receive the special supplement until they reach THEIR MRA.

DEFERRED RETIREMENT – If you separate from the service before you are eligible for an immediate annuity AND you DON’T apply are receive a refund of your retirement contributions, you will be eligible for deferred retirement benefits as soon as you reach the age that corresponds with your age and service combinations below:

UNDER FERS: –MRA (Minimum Retirement Age) (with) 30 or more yrs of service
Age 60 (with) 20 or more yrs of service
Age 62 (with) 5 yrs or more service
MRA (with) 10 yrs of service (Reduced) 5% for each yr (under age 62)

UNDER CSRS: – You will be eligible for deferred retirement benefits at age 62


MRA + 10 RETIREMENT w/POSTPONED BENEFITS – You may postpone the receipt of the MRA+10 benefit to a later age to lessen the reduction. FEHB coverage and FEGLI coverage may be reinstated when the annuity commences.

Q. 1 -Greetings Roseanne. Just retired from PO, last month, and have received ‘ Overdrawn Annual and/or Sick Leave Related Debt’ invoice from Eagan, Minn. Will remit immediately. Does this mean NO final check from the PO? Was informed final payroll disbursement will be sent to my last pay location and they could sit on it for months. Boy, they don’t waste any time erasing their memory of your employment, do they. Any suggestions? I was under the impression I was paid any annual I didn’t take. Thank You in advance. D

A. 1 -Hi D, This typically means that (I said typically) that prior to your retirement you had some LWOP hours, and since you did not have any earnings, the post office paid YOUR portion of your health benefits and any other life insurance’s you had. SOMETIMES, they will take this out of your final check (last pay and all earned annual leave). Sometimes, they will make you pay the accounts receivable that was incurred while you had no actual hours. I hope this has helped. Roseanne

Response: Thank you for responding Roseanne, your info and advice are always a lift. Will be reading your articles as a helpful tool during retirement. Thanks Again, D.

Q 2. -Roseanne, If I choose not to elect a survivors benefit when I retire will my spouse still have FEHB after I’m gone? Thanks, B.

A 2. -Hi B, Absolutely NOT, which is the REAL reason for taking the spouse into retirement. Roseanne

Q 2a.-Thanks,What’s the minimum spousal benefit I would need to take in order to keep her on my FEHB? I am going to get a private life insurance policy. I want to maximize my monthly annuity to cover the premium. A private life insurance policy would be much cheaper than FEGLI in my situation. B

A 2a. – In order to answer that, it totally depends on your retirement system, either FERS or CSRS, because they have different answers.

Q 2b.- FERS

A 2b.-For FERS employee’s (under the law) you MUST provide her with either a 100% annuity. However, you have the option to give her 50% of the annuity (with the spousal consent..the form is included in the retirement paperwork and will have her in front of a notary acknowledging that you are leaving her less than what the law requires), or zero annuity, that also has to be notarized..(same form). The spousal amount (look on your annuity estimate) will show a certain amount. The 50% reduction, gives the spouse half of what is shown on the annuity estimate and the reduction on your monthly annuity is half of what they were taking out for the 100% annuity.

Response: Thank you so much, Roseanne

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, we DO have much to be thankful for…..till we speak again….Roseanne

Postal Retirement Q&A December 2011

Good Day Postal Employees

Lot’s of talk this month about an early out, with incentives such as 25 G’s or adding years to service time. There has not been any decision made…at least not as I am writing this column. I will write a special column this month should the early out be approved by OPM. I would like to take this time to thank all of my readers for their emails, as they are too assisting fellow postal employees with their questions.

Q 1. Hi Roseanne- My wife is considering retiring from the USPS. She has been a PTF for many years, and not always getting 40 hours per week. She has 34 years and is 53 years old, and is under the CSRS. During the past several years, she has been able to work full time, plus overtime. My question? Can you calculate overtime into the “high 3 years” calculation? I betting not, so when I chose to download one of the many retirement calculators, should I use a 40 hour work week as the basis? By the way, which, retirement planning calculator do you recommend? If you have a fav, please reply with the link. Thanks, J.

A 1.Hi J – Unfortunately not…. overtime, Sunday premium and night differential are NOT included in the calculations for retirement annuity, just what the form 50 shows as the salary, so use the SF Form 50 salary. For CSRS just use my calculations….they are OPM’s calculations actually not mine, but they are very accurate…see the CSRS calculations below

1.5 % of the high 3 average salary X 5 = $ (the 1st five years of fed service)
1.75% of the high 3 average salary x 5 = $ (the 2nd five years of fed service)
2.00 % of the high 3 average salary X 24 $ ( the remaining years of federal service).in your case 24 .

That is the yearly figure, divide by 12, that is the monthly figure…pretty simple. Just to show I am accurate go to and you will see this validated on the web site. When you asked about a favorite web site, is where all federal employees should go to review information regardless if you a retiree or even when employed. Roseanne
Q 1a. Thanks. Yes, the calcs are simple, but our challenge is finding the data for the calculations. How do find the data for the 1st and 2nd five year windows. Sorry for the confusion. J.

A 1a. Hi J, There are many ways to find the high 3 average salary. First to to postalease, liteblue and go to MYHR. You will need your EIN and PIN. You don’t need the last 5, but the last 3 years of salary. You can go to your eOPF, on the MYHR and review your form 50’s to see what your salary has been for the last 3 years, and then use those below calculations to see what your high 3 average salary is, then use the above calculations to compute your annuity. Roseanne

Q 2.Hi Roseanne, I’m plan on retiring in Jan 2014 (MRA w/30yrs FERS), but I might take a VERA early out if they offer it. I have a couple of questions.
1) Can you go a little more in depth about the special ssa supplement (other than what’s on the official video about it)?

2) Would I be able to withdraw from my tsp account immediately with no penalties at mra/30, or do I have to wait until 59 & 1/2 to be penalty free? Thanks, P

A 2. Hi P, The SSA supplement is PAID by OPM (not social security) and is a “bridge” of money so that you are not living on just the FERS retirement, which is difficult to do prior to age 62 since the FERS is only ONE part of your THREE tiered retirement. The way to figure out your Special Supplement payment, is to take 33.00 times the number of years worked, in your case approx. $990. That is paid until age 62, your first opportunity to get social security. I suggest that you take it at age 62 rather than waiting for the higher amount at 65, 66 etc. You will never recapture the amount of money lost for those 3 years (between age 62-65) if you wait until later than 62 to take the SS check.

TSP- yes you can immediately pull out the $$ in TSP. Whether it’s an annuity purchased through them (Metropolitan Life) or a monthly payment (paid by the TSP Board) or pull all of it out and roll it over. As long a you retire, there is NO penalty, that 59 1/2 is not applicable to your case. I was 57 when I retired (early out) and I pulled all of my money out of TSP ( I was a CSRS) and I was not penalized for being under 59 1/2, I did however pay a heavy tax because I did not roll it over to another IRA or Roth or 401k… I didn’t have much of 12 G’s in it. Hopefully this has been encouraging news to you! Roseanne

Q 2a. Hi Roseanne, It looks like they may offer another early out soon. It might be 25k + 2yrs service time added for FERS. That would put me at 30 yrs, but I’m 54, so I’m 2 yrs shy of my MRA. If I took the early out, how much would I be penalized? I know that I can’t get the ss supplement until MRA. Would you advise against taking it & wait out the 2yrs? Thanks! P

A 2a. Hi P, Based on the early out criteria, you should NOT be penalized for being under 62, as long as you are at your MRA. BUT, before everyone starts jumping the gun, let’s see what they are offering; will there be a penalty for under 62 if NOT at MRA. Once there is a decision made, then I will see what they really mean, and write something in my column, regardless if it’s in 2 days or 2 weeks. Roseanne

Follow Up: OK, thanks Roseanne! You basically answered my question. Not min ret age = penalty (Unless they deem otherwise). Knowing the P.O., They won’t offer cash & years. It will probably be one or the other. There are a lot of people just waiting for the cash! Thanks again! P

Q 3. I am under CSRS, and will retire with less than 40 quarters to draw social security. My question is if I don’t have 40 quarters until after I reach 62. Can I draw social security without affecting my CSRS or will they still take my military time away?

A 3.Under CSRS rules and regulations as they relate to retirement and social security…provided you don’t have 40 quarters of social security when you retire AND YOU DON’T GO BACK TO WORK AFTER RETIREMENT TO GET THOSE MISSING QUARTERS TO EQUAL 40, then your military years count FULLY without paying it back. BUT if you do go back to work, and eventually gain 40 quarters, then at age 62 you will have the 40 quarters and be eligible for the social security check, and then YES, your CSRS annuity will be reduced by the number of years (of military time) that was counted towards your federal years (that you did not pay back). Prior to retirement you still have the ability to buy back your military, but only do this if you know that you intend on going back to work to gain the 40 quarters.

BUT lets be clear, that amount that is showing on your social security statement, which I surmise is about 500-600 per month, is NOT THE AMOUNT YOU ARE GOING TO RECEIVE. Even if you pay your military back, your social security check is going to be reduced simply because you have a CSRS annuity. This is called WEP (Windfall Elimination Provision). Don’t make this decision lightly, as it will cost you at age 62…that is if you go back to work after retirement. Roseanne

I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a safe and prosperous New Year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!