Postal Retirement Q&A January 2014
Good Day Postal Employees…and Happy New Year!!
As always, I thank you all for your continued prayers for Hope. We are still at the same place we were last month, she is taking daily radiation treatments. We all are praying for a full recovery, and with all of the prayers out there, I am sure of it!!!
When I began writing this column, I was committed to giving you the best information and the most correct. I have said many times I don’t know everything…almost, but not everything! And when I am wrong, I am the first one to admit it…so I begin my January column by saying I gave a very incomplete & incorrect answer last month to question number 1, in the December 2013 column. My head knew what I was saying, but I most certainly did not type it that way.
This is an excerpt from last month’s column about transferring money into TSP.
PART OF Q 1. “also have heard that you can transfer your IRAs to the TSP Account. Would you have to pay taxes first on any Traditional IRA transfer to the TSP”.
PART OF A 1. “And to respond to your second question, that is a flat out NO!! You can NEVER EVER put money into the TSP account. That is monitored money, because no taxes have even been paid on that money”.
That answer was wrong in response. My intention was to communicate that just MONEY cannot be put into the TSP account because of the tax issues surrounding the money in TSP, and the monitoring of that money. But, as a couple of readers pointed out, transferring from another IRA or Roth is permitted. Please see the information below taken directly from the TSP website. So thank you Wayne for keeping me on track. I will sometimes sanitize an email, due to an obvious link to an area or specific post office that the question comes from, and may have dropped off a piece of information that would have made my answer correct, in “sanitizing” the email for that purpose. BUT not in this case…my intent was right, my words were not…please read below:
Whether you are a current Federal employee or member of the uniformed services, or you’ve already separated, you can move money from other eligible plans to your TSP account.
The TSP requires that:
You have an existing TSP account. You cannot open a TSP account by transferring money into it.
The money that you intend to move is considered an “eligible rollover distribution” for Federal income tax purposes. You can verify this by checking with the administrator of the plan or IRA from which you are moving the money. You can also consult a tax advisor.
The TSP will accept into the traditional balance of your TSP account:
both transfers and rollovers of tax-deferred money from traditional IRAs, SIMPLE IRAs, and eligible employer plans.
The TSP will accept into the Roth balance of your TSP account:
only transfers (i.e., direct rollovers) of qualified and non-qualified Roth distributions from Roth 401(k)s, Roth 403(b)s, and Roth 457(b)s. If you don’t already have a Roth balance in your existing TSP account, the transfer will create one.
The TSP will not accept Roth rollovers that have already been paid to you and it will not accept transfers or rollovers from Roth IRAs.
Q 1. Hi Roseanne, I have been a postal employee for 27 years, (I am a FERS employee), and I have over 4 years of active military (Army) that I did finally pay back. I really wish you would have told me when I first started at the post office about the advantage to paying back my military, and the benefit of paying it back within the first three years of employment. The initial deposit was reasonable, however the accumulated interest over 20+ years was outrageous. Of course as many do, I did pay it back over the course of several years through payroll deduction. But I feel like, as do many of my co-workers, we should not have to pay the interest if we were not informed about it when we were hired. It seems that it was deliberately missing from orientation, and you did not, nor did anyone in the personnel office ever sent out information, letting us employees know if they have military time, that it could “SHORTEN” the time we have to work until retirement. We think it was purposeful that we were not told, so we would HAVE to pay interest to the post office. Is there anyway to find out if the Post Office has some responsibility in not giving us this information so we could have paid it the first 3 years we were working. Thank you for all that you do for us at the post office. P’O’d
A 1. Hi P’O’d, Well you are not the first person to ask me about this subject, nor will you be the last either. However, let me address this line “I really wish you would have told me, when I first started at the post office about the advantages…” WOW!! I DIDN’T HIRE YOU!!! (I know better than anyone where I have worked, and based on your email of where you were hired and where you still work, well…I have never even been to your state)!!
I cannot say why you were not told, because it was a part of orientation when employees are first hired. I can say that the time allotted for New Hire Orientation has been dramatically reduced over the years. When I was hired, orientation was 6 FULL 8 hour days…what is it now…6 hours, on one day…maybe. So that plays a huge part in employees having a serious lack of understanding rights and benefits in their employment. The closer to the 1980’s that you were hired, versus being hired in the years beginning around 2000, shows a marked decrease in employee’s understanding of employment issues, which is really another way of saying less time in orientation means less knowledge about employee rights and benefits. As well as understanding the rights of the Postal Service as your EMPLOYER. The responsibility, it will ALWAYS fall on the employee to find out what they need to know about their employment. Every district in the country can show over the years, attempts to “inform” employees, in many different ways about benefits, and other employee related issues. This was the entire reasoning behind the “Career Awareness Conferences” that were really big during the 90’s. The one’s where you signed up, and there were classes on subjects like “How to fill out a 991”; “Upward Mobility”; “Retirement”; “TSP” etc. So if you are looking to apply or seek some way of being refunded the interest you paid on your military buy back, because as you say you were not informed, (and I do believe you); that is just NOT going to happen. Instead of looking at it that way, as a negative, look at it another way, as a positive…you didn’t even know that you could pay it back, and then when you did, regardless of how much it cost, it allows you to retire 4 years earlier then you would if you didn’t know, and didn’t pay it back.
PLAINLY SAID…you are not going to be refunded the interest. As you can see, I did “clean up” the email you sent to me. I could have NEVER reprinted that email as it was written. Typically, readers know I do “sanitize” their emails if I am going to use them in a column. And by sanitize I mean I take out things like “I work at the NDC in Whoville, USA”, or “I am a carrier at the ABC unit in, Junkville, USA”…because I want there to be a sense of confidentiality when writing me. BUT YOURS…I needed Pinesol. However, the subject matter of the email was important enough for others to read and know. Roseanne
Q 2. Roseanne, First off, thank you for the much needed assistance you provide. It is so very much appreciated. I just wanted to get clarification: my situation in April 2014, I will have 30 years (27 actual USPS and 3 military buy back). In Sept 2014 I will turn 56, which is my MRA. If I chose to retire after those two milestones, would I qualify for the FERS Supplement (paid until age 62) with amount based on 27 work years in FERS? Again, thank you so much Roseanne!!
A 2. Yes. You are paid your supplement provided you retire with 30 years and be your MRA. If you have 27 postal years and paid for 3 military years, then yes you have 30 years and are eligible. Do understand that your supplement would be based on the 27 years of postal service, and will paid until you are 61 and 11 months…and then your eligibility begins for Social Security and your eligibility ends for the Special Supplement. Roseanne
Q 3. Hi Roseanne, I have written to you before and you helped me understand some really tough issues about disability retirement, and I want to thank you for that. I don’t know where I would be if you had not guided me in the right path. Well, I was approved for disability retirement. I just recently received a letter from Social Security Administration that effective June 1, 2014, I will be enrolled in Medicare A & B. I did keep my health plan (BCBS) and that SS will be my primary and BCBS will be my secondary. In your experiences do you know any reason to enroll in Part B, this will cost me an additional $125.00 per month, come June 2014, since I have private insurance (BCBS). Will I need to contact BCBS and find out if I have to enroll in Part B? I read the book regarding the penalties if I do or I do not enroll in Part B. Or is this something new because of ACA. Look forward to your advice. Thank you and Merry Christmas to you and your family. TRS
A 3. Hi TRS, In so many cases, as I always say, there are no cookie cutter answers. In your case it just may be (if you are a FERS employee) and you have been approved for Disability Retirement AND approved for Social Security disability (SSDI); that a “requirement” of SSDI in conjunction with disability from the OPM, that YOU HAVE to be enrolled in Part B. I need to know this…you retired disability from the PO, but were you approved SS disability? If not, did you begin your SS at age 62. I need to know that before I can be confident enough in my answer. Thank you, and have wonderful Christmas at your house!!! Roseanne
Q 4. Hello Roseanne, I am sorry to bother you but I’ve seen where you have helped out so many with questions before. My dilemma is I retired with the APWU Clerk early out on 1/31/2013. I turned 56 years old on 11/02/2013, and as of this date 12/04/2013, I haven’t received any payment of my FERS special supplement. do you have any direction or information for me. Of course I tried to phone and email OPM with no success. Any advice you can give me would be greatly appreciated. Yours Truly, J
A 4. Hi J, Well the first thing is, it does takes longer for the Special Supplement to begin!! Even if you were 56 when you retired, the Special Supplement would have taken longer to begin than the regular FERS retirement check, so don’t stress over that. AND…Let me say this first…don’t shoot the messenger!! If you turned 56 on November 2, then you are not eligible for the supplement until December. That being said, December’s payment, just like your annuity is paid one month in arrears so your Spec. Supplement is not EVEN due until January. I am NOT saying that is when it is coming, because they do take longer…but you’re not due for a payment until January. I said don’t shoot the messenger. If you don’t have it by Feb or March, email me and we can have another discussion about this, but I think you will have it by then. Have a wonderful Christmas!! Roseanne
R 4. Roseanne, thank you so much for that quick answer. I appreciate the candor and the honesty…hard to find now a days!! J
Q 5. Hi Roseanne, I would like for you to do my retirement papers. Do you have an address that I can mail something to you? DMR
A. 5. Hi DMR, “Jefferson’s Chimes of Knowledge” PO Box 212, Whitsett, NC 27377-0212
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE !!!! Till we speak again… Roseanne
Postal Retirement Q&A February 2014
Good Day Postal Employees
I would like to thank each and every one of you out there who have contacted me or have simply just prayed or sent healing wishes to for my daughter, Hope. Churches all over the country, in a host of the so many different denominations have prayer chains, or her name on the church’s prayer scroll, we thank you. And a sincere and humble thanks for the many “silent plea’s” that are whispered in prayer for her to be rid of this cancer. Although not out of the woods, we have been able to say that…Hope is in remission right now. She has been able to, for the first time in 11 months, not be actively receiving chemotherapy; radiation treatments, or the combination of both. Words cannot express how grateful and amazed I am, at the outpouring of prayer and concern. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart, as does our entire family. There is an expression that my mother used for years and it took me years to understand the gravity of it, she would say. “There – but for the grace of God, go I”. It’s to gently remind you that nothing in life can be or should be taken for granted, and what happens to your fellow man, or family member or co-worker by God’s infinite grace that is not you..because it could be and that is what the statement meant.
Yesterday…February 1, 2014 the day began without many postmasters, that were employed the day before. Those retiring effective January 31, 2014 a SINCERE Congratulations to you all. Anyone that can “make it” through 20, 25 & 30+ POSTAL YEARS a tip of the hat is to you, and to all those employees that retired in 2013.
And what is wrong with making the damn stamp 50 cents really!!! We are already going up 3 cents, what the hell is another penny! I think the public is more pissed about the 49 cents than would be if you just make the stamp with an even figure (for a change). What so in two years up by another 2 cents. Truly stupid, at least from the public’s eye, and ah that is who buys our products PMG!! the public, who really LIKE even figures… damn!!!
Can we all not agree that there is a deep correlation between postal years and “canine” years, what !?? it’s like 1 to 6 or 7 !! You can work there 20 years and feel like it has been every bit of 40 years, or more. Actually we sometimes say “I have been here my whole lifetime”. We as postal employees must cram SO MUCH into a year with all the changes that take place in the post office,( or the FEW that are site/office specific)on a monthly or sometimes a weekly basis every singleyear! OH, you know the drill (local Mgmt.) will say to employees. “I don’t care what they say (union/district/area), this office will be doing it this way”, so that by the time December rolls around, it feels like it’s been 4 or 5 years of changes, new position titles, new supervisors, new rules, old rules not enforced & new employees that have such a remarkable difference in how they are paid, what type of leave (if any) they earn, or even if they “really are a career employee”; or a maybe “management employee”, issues that almost defy logic !! As I said we know the drill, we know what that they do!! So now that with this group of postmasters that have left, let’s see what “changes” are in store for our organization. Because YOU can’t keep reducing your staffing, withOUT a reduction of the work THAT IS CLEARLY STILL THERE or there would not BE THE OMG OVER THE TOP..OVERTIME, and Penalty time, I have seen on pay stubs all over the country. This is not isolated to one district or state, it’s nation wide. There HAS TO BE a restructure of EPIC proportions for this organization to survive. So I am saying this to all the organization. It cannot keep this pace, something has to change, and with this recent round of early out PM’s gone…as they say, let the games begin.
I have been plagued this month with so many emails requesting “insider information” which by the way I DO NOT HAVE wanting to know if I think there is going to be an early out. Many write with this scenario age 61 and have 32 years of service, and are looking for an early out. Because you Mr/Ms Age 61 with 32 years of service really are NOT LOOKING FOR an early out, what you REALLY ARE LOOKING FOR IS AN “incentive”. So be clear when you are asking me these questions there is a difference between JUST an early out, AND an INCENTIVE (another word for $$) in conjunction with an early out. I am saying AGAIN…I don’t see it…the incentive, I just don’t. However more early outs yes, those I see in the future.
Q 1. Hi Roseanne, Hope your New Year has started well, and we are all praying for your daughter. I just wanted to thank you for your advice and helping me to decide to “take the plunge”, and retire from the Postal Service, effective 1-3-14. It was indeed scary to think of retiring from the Postal Service after having been a “walking” letter carrier for nearly 37 years (the last 20 years on the same route). I won’t get into the details of how the job of carrying mail has sadly deteriorated is so very many ways, but I have been thinking all day about how with pressure from “above”, managers have added so much time to most of the routes that it is becoming nearly impossible to get the routes done in 8 hours. Now with the explosion of the on-line parcel ordering, many of the routes find themselves having to deliver well past 5:00 (and some days to 7:00 or later). The next day you have to “argue and fight”, with the carrier foreman to attempt to justify your actions of the previous day (as they wave the all mighty print-out in your face). I do believe that if they had not decided to cave to the idiocy of doing away with 3 or 4 routes at every station, then most carriers would be getting back way before 5:00, and a lot of the many millions that the USPS has paid out for grievance settlements, and double-time, could have been avoided. Used to be the carriers that wanted overtime could work it when they wanted to, instead of being forced to carry 2 and 3 hours every single day. I also believe that even though hiring and staffing a few more clerks at every station may result in a larger initial payroll, in the long run, it would actually save them money. Cutting and slashing personnel, and adding time to all of the routes has been a disaster as far as I’m concerned. I know things change constantly, but I think the PO is shooting themselves in the foot by doing what they are doing.
I’ll get nostalgic for a minute, in the “old days”, we had time to talk to our patrons, I went out of my way to check on people, buy some of the older people, or businesses stamps when they needed them, and even had time to take a lunch and the two 10 minute breaks that we are entitled to. We came in at 6:00 A.M., the mail and parcels were there ready to work. We got off at 2:30; or 3:00 if you came in at 6:30 A.M. For the very first time since I have been in the Postal Service, we did not have a Christmas breakfast at my station this year. Everyone (not just the carriers), are rushed, in bad moods, worn out and frustrated. We used to have bowling leagues, softball summer leagues, basketball leagues, occasional breakfast celebrations (and were given time to eat and socialize). Now, at least in our city, that is all gone; how can you plan to bowl, play softball, or basketball when you never know if you are getting off at 4:00, 5:00, 6:00 or later, and are so exhausted it is all you can do to teeter home, have dinner and go to bed. I used to love going to work. I absolutely loved working outside, talking to all of my customers, cutting up with all of the guys in the morning. It was a dream job for many, many years. Now, it seems to be a disastrous mess, not occasionally, but every single stinking day. The saddling of the carriers with the GPS enabled cell phones, was the proverbial “straw that broke the camel’s back”; for me anyway. Some of the guys viewed things differently, they were able to take it all and not let it bother them. I guess that was one of the reasons that I needed to leave, I just couldn’t stand seeing what the job had become. If you find no joy from your job at all, and all you have to look forward to is the paycheck and an ass chewing, it’s time to leave. I was also physically falling apart. For 30 years I had no injuries at all; then in the last 5 years or so I had rotator cuff surgery, back surgery, a torn meniscus, that lead to a knee replacement, carpal tunnel, and bouts with cancer.
It has been about two weeks, and by all of the stories are true, who knows when I will get my annual leave payout (440 hrs.), or my first retirement check (they screwed my pay all up on the last pay period of the year (26), and I got a letter saying that if any pay adjustments were due, it would delay the payout!). I have put my mom on alert that I may need to borrow some money to make our house payment; sad, but true. Anyway, I have already applied, and gotten a job with the local school system (I start next week). I could have been a substitute teacher, but instead I chose to be an “educational assistant”, making a whopping $9.00 an hour! If I don’t enjoy the work, I know that I really don’t have to do it (that’s a good feeling). I maxed out around August 1st, as far as what I would draw under CSRS (42 years of total service). Anyway Roseanne, thank you for letting me vent, and thank you for what you do. I know you hear the same stories from everyone all over the country. I know things will never be the same, but I feel really sorry for those that will follow because they will never know how it used to be.
A. 1 Hi- You letter is such a true heart felt assessment of life of a carrier at the PO in this day and age. I have many letters that I can use with very similar information, however yours is written with such true insight, that I would like to sanitize your letter with just enough to ensure, anonymity, and use this in my column for February. Please let me know if this is OK with you. Roseanne
R.1 Hi Roseanne!! You can absolutely use anything you want to use, anytime and always. I owe you my sanity. Thanks
Q 2. Can you tell me were I can find out who my beneficiary’s are I am planning on applying for my retirement next month and would like to know if there is a place to look at the retirement book so I can prepare questions for my phone call, Thank You PG
A 2. Hi PG, I think I may have answered this on my cell phone, but if not, you need to sign on to postal ease (lite blue). The same system that you typically use for bidding (in larger offices), and that you can review information relative to HR as it relates specifically to you. Once you log on to the liteblue / postal ease, then go to MyHR, after that go to eOPF, you will have to put in your EIN and PIN again. Once you get into your eOPF, then you can narrow your search by selecting certain criteria such as Beneficiary forms and go through the entire OPF if you have to. If there is a concern about who is a beneficiary and you want a certain person to BE the beneficiary instead of going through this entire process…you CAN simply call 1-877-477-3273 and request a “beneficiary packet” and you will receive all new blank beneficiary forms and you can change what you have, or perhaps fill beneficiary forms that you may NOT EVEN HAVE DONE before. I will let you decide how you feel about your on-the-phone retirement counseling session with HRSSC, with or without prepared questions. After you do that, just let me know how it went. Roseanne
Q 3. I work for the USPS, we were wondering how does LWOP effects your retirement status? Do you have to pay anything back or does this decrease your years of service? And are there any publications or websites to help us in retirement issues. Many people have fled the p.o. since the last early out phase and we want to know all of our options and guidelines that we must follow before we take the next offer. Things are getting pretty desperate in our district. They have hired a lot of PSE clerks to fulfill our positions and there is no where to run. Sincerely, JK
A 3. Hi JK, I have provided a 2 examples for you:
Example 1: LWOP (leave without pay) RTD (return to duty)
= 6 months LWOP in 1970
= full Credit in 1970
= 7 months LWOP 1 month excess LWOP
= 6 months creditable LWOP
+ 5 months service
= 11 months credit 1992
And so that is how it works. As for publications I would go to opm.gov, it is a WONDERFUL and easy site to navigate and brings many things to light that you would not get from the Post Office (and truly not their area of expertise) Your district, like so many others have massive numbers of these PSE’s and well, new management employees now, and with the flat out lack of true postal knowledge, quite frankly it makes the entire postal system look like rookies anymore. But check into the opm.gov site. Roseanne
Q 4. Thank you for all your information you put out every month. Its very much appreciated. I am a 56 yr old city carrier with 27 years of service under FERS. I have funded my thrift savings to the maximum contribution over my career. I also have no debt and a substantial amount of personal savings. My question is am I crazy to retire this year vs. full retirement at 30? I realize I would receive no special supplement and would take a penalty on my annuity. My husbands employer will pay us the difference of what I pay for health ins. now and what it will go up to if I take retirement.
I need your advice on all aspects of considering this huge life changing decision. Thank you so much for all your help, L
A 4. Hi L, I cannot think of any employer that would offer such a thing as pay the difference in what “I pay for health ins. now and what it will go up to if I take retirement” at least in the long term, I mean how would they KNOW how much they are say “signing up for” to pay, and too you MUST CONSIDER in this payment arrangement with this non-federal employer, the fact that your health insurance is not costing what YOU PAY per pay period, or months as an annuitant you MUST factor in how much the post office pays in behalf of your health benefits. Just for an example a Blue Cross Blue Shield employee who has 105 as their HB code, pays about $433 per month in retirement…BUT the PO pay $948 per month supplementing your health insurance by two thirds. So in essence the non-federal employer is NOT signing up to pay $433 per month for you its more like $1382 per month.
Not knowing who you husband’s employer is (and signing up for nearly $1400 per month, again I don’t see an employer agreeing to that. I think it’s crucial to stay another 3 years to get full retirement. The Special Supplement you are so willing to “throw away” is at 30 years close to $1000 per month, and that is paid until you turn 62. I personally would not retire, however, there is nothing from stopping you down the road taking the MRA+10 retirement. But, in my opinion it’s such a sucker move. I would wait or at least hope for an early out that would cover carriers or all employees. I think that retiring now, under the MRA+10 would be a true disvalue of your retirement. Just my opinion, and you did ask? Roseanne
Q 5. Hello, there. One simple question for you. I will be retiring and taking an immediate retirement after 34 years in May, 2014. Do I need to apply for FERS special retirement supplement through OPM separately or does it comes automatically along with FERS basic retirement annuity? Thanks D,
A 5. Hi D, Congratulations!!! Retirement is FREEDOM!! As far as your “Special Supplement”, there is nothing that YOU specifically need to do. Understand though, that the Special Supplement does takes longer to process (because everyone who retires under FERS is NOT entitled to a Special Supplement at the EXACT time they retire). But typically, if retiring (fully) about the time you begin to see your second or third check from OPM, you will find a LARGE deposit made into your account.and that is the back pay of the Special Supplement. After that, you will be receiving it monthly until age 61 and 11 months. BUT NO you don’t do anything to initiate the Special Supplement, nor does HRSSC.
Until we speak again…..Roseanne and to my followers in the NY State area, Binghamton, Long Island, Brooklyn (holla home town)..the “retirement lady” says HI!
PS any typo’s…well I still have this lingering…flu.
Postal Retirement Q&A March 2014
Good Day Postal Employees
As always a round of thank you’s to all who have and continue to pray for Hope’s recovery. We truly appreciate the care and concern. She is in remission and we pray for positive updates on this horrible disease.
Much does not shock me as I get older, but one letter this month had my jaw drop to the floor. I will copy and paste this letter, because IT IS EXTRA SANITIZED and you will understand my reaction when you read it.
Roseanne, I hope you can help me almost immediately. I am doing our 2012 taxes that have to be completed by the end of February and we are missing my husband’s “Paul Carrier”, income from his post office pension plan. I might be missing 2013 statement also. His social security number is 123-45-6789. He retired from the “Smithville” Post Office I believe in 1988. PLEASE HELP US IF YOU CAN AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. If you could email the information that would be great or fax it to my accountant at 888-123-4567. Thank you for your help in this matter.
* The social security number of employee; name of both husband and wife; former office of employment, approximate year of retirement and accountant’s actual phone number were sanitized
MY RESPONSE: Hi Mrs. P Carrier, I am absolutely floored by your request on so many levels. YES I can help…but NOT the way you think…I have no access to any information on anyone, relative to their personal finances, taxes, or any other information that is stored on postal computers, or OPM computers. If your husband is a retiree from the Post Office, then he (like me as well) receives his monthly annuity checks from OPM (Office of Personnel Management). You can call them at 1-888-767-6738 to request that they send you what is called a 1099 for his annuity payments for 2012 and 2013. In fact, that information is on-line. Your husband as a retire can use his CSA number and request a PIN and be able to review all information such as federal taxes, life insurance information, or even if you would decide to change banks, that too can be done on line. Understand this CORE FACT, I know HOW the system(s) work but that does NOT mean that I have any access to restricted employee information, working or retired. I know the phones at OPM are very busy BUT this is too important for you to not continue to call them until you get them. Additionally, you can go to opm.gov and sort of surf their site, it’s very informative and quite user friendly. Roseanne
HER RESPONSE: Thanks to you mission accomplished. Mrs. Postal Carrier
Let me start out by saying I help employees and retiree’s in many different areas, as my expertise is Human Resources total HR not just personnel, not just retirement, which is why I am able to have the insight to answer questions and guide employees (and retirees) in the right direction that are not always JUST retirement related questions. My understanding of the various systems used, CMS, data keeper, SAP naming only a few. (for those of you HR types reading this and jump out and say datakeeper is a system not used anymore check yourself, before you try to check me OK! I have a data keeper report for late 2013 do you!!!); understanding cut off dates in form 50 processing, and over 25 solid years of being HR. I say all that to say this if this:
…I have NO ACCESS TO ANY EMPLOYEE’S PERSONAL INFORMATION WITH USPS OR OPM.
What I respond to in my Q&A’s are what YOU the writer/employee write me. If you contact me with a question and YOU tell me you are CSRS, I MUST take you at your word for that. I can’t look it up anywhere to be able to say to that writer/employee, OH NO, YOU ARE NOT A CSRS employee you are a CSRS/Offset employee. (Two very different retirement systems, with different answers). Again this is no different than the old computer lingo we used in the past “garbage in-garbage out”. So responses are based on your email, and additional email dialog if there is something that needs more clarification before I answer. And typically, that is when I find out that “you” are not CSRS but perhaps a CSRS/offset, just by our email conversation, or you don’t REALLY have 30 years, you have 26 because 4 were RCA time, or 4 was military that was NOT paid back a zillion different things that could change the course of the answer. This is why being specific is SO important.
THEN THE VERY GLARING ISSUE in this subject email, sending me OR ANYONE FOR THAT MATTER, a social security number. DON’T DO THAT EVER. NOT JUST TO ME, TO ANYONE. And I think that it IS done because of the assumption that if you give me a social security number, I can “look-up” information using that social security number. I say IS done, because this is not the first time I have had someone send me an SS in an email. I no longer work for the Postal Service, I am retired and so any access I had to postal employee records was revoked when I retired; and I have never had any access to records at OPM. Even when I do an Air Mail Retirement for some of you that have requested my services your social security numbers are not on ANYTHING I type, or the copies I maintain for our session. When I send back your package, my copies immediately are sanitized with black ink on all SS numbers on the retirement papers. Identity theft is BIG BUSINESS now, PLEASE PROTECT YOURSELF don’t give out your SS to anyone, especially on email.
Q 1. Hi Roseanne, Thanks for all your good information. I am a traditional clerk, I am under the CSRS retirement system, I have 31 years of service, will be 55 next year and have 2500 hours of sick leave. My question is, was I foolish to be so conservative with my sick leave or will it be helpful when I retire? Also, will there be a considerable difference in my retirement if I stay an additional 4 years? Thank you, KS
A 1. Hi KS, It’s NEVER foolish to conserve sick leave, it’s really an “insurance policy” of sorts if you don’t abuse it, and also good fortune to maintain a healthy status, so you are able to conserve it, understanding that many employees are not. That being said, any years or months added to your overall years in service is an advantage in your case you have over a year in sick leave, which equates to 2% extra per year so it really does add up. If you stay 4 years, that is an additional 8% and of course at the higher 3 average salary, and that is saying you get any significant raises in the next four years. It REALLY was a wise decision to conserve your sick leave, and you will benefit from it in retirement. Roseanne
Q 2. Hi Roseanne, my question is I am a FERS employee letter carrier hired in 1984 and have bought 5 1/2 years of military time back which has already been accredited to my retirement years. I am planning on retiring in Dec 2018 giving me 40 years total including my military time, How does the social security supplement work? and how much will I receive? I am 55 and been working since 1976, Any information you can give me would be helpful. thanks, M
A 2. Hi M, As a FERS employee when you reach your MRA(56-57) AND have 30 (or more) years, you are entitled to the special supplement. It is a bridge of money in between your MRA retirement date and becoming age 62, when you are eligible for Social Security. The supplement is figured around $30-$35 per month, times the number of POSTAL years worked. I say that because the military time (yes even paid back); is not counted in the special supplement don’t shoot the messenger, it’s just NOT. Take care, Roseanne
Q 3. Hi Roseanne, I just was reading over your February column and I don’t want any incentive …. just Early Out would be all I need to go and never look back. Do you have any idea on how far in the future that Early Outs may be coming? If I decide to resign if nothing is offered in the near future … will I be eligible for reinstatement if I leave on good terms? If so is there any time limits on when a person can come back? I am 50 years old with 21 years of service. My parents have told me for years that I can quit anytime and I know I could with the way they have set everything up financially for me and I can have time to learn from them and know when they are gone that I can carry on their businesses. I still keep hanging on at the post office (craaazy me) for what??? Chronic Stress!! I love all my customers and they feel like family but it’s time for me to enjoy life and my Real family and that Early Out would give me just the extra push to leave my Retail Family World!! Thank you, S
A 3. Hi S, I really don’t have any insider info on early outs, I just know that everyone is complaining and something has to give…just not sure yet, what is going to give and when. If you resign, yes you are always eligible to be reinstated. But don’t by any means take any refund on FERS retirement contributions or even THINK about touching that TSP! But how about this as an idea, before you just chunk federal years and walk away.why not try to transfer to another federal agency. I think we are the very best of the federal worker force! When they complain about federal workers, generally they NEVER mean us postal employee’s really work their asses off. AND that being said, go to www.usajobs.gov, and try to preserve your federal employment, long enough to retire. However, if you do resign and then come back, you may be under a different retirement calculations rather than if you stayed federal. At least try that before you make such a big decision. Federal retirement is SO worth don’t just throw it away now! Roseanne
Q. 4 Roseanne, I am thinking of retiring either 2014 or 2015. I will reach 30 years of service on November 8 2014 and will be 61+. It is my understanding that if I retire before reaching age 62 in July 2015 my annuity will be reduced by .1%. Is this true? Also if a VERA were to come and I decided to retire before age 62 does that still hold true that I would receive the reduced annuity of .1%? Thank you in advance for your time. GA
A 4. Hi G, In reviewing this month’s emails it appears that I did not respond if I did it must have deleted because I don’t see it. So, a bit late but here is your answer. NO your annuity is NOT going to be reduced by .1%. You will have MORE (age years) than the required age of 55 if CSRS and required 56-57 if FERS with 30 years of employment. There is SO MUCH wrong with your email about retirement information. You have a correct percentage (.1%) but ALL THE WRONG INFORMATION ABOUT THE .1%. FIRST in FERS if there is a reduction it’s 5%, not .1% for each year under 62, and that is only under MRA+10 retirement.
The .1% is an additional component in adding your retirement. As an example if you were 57 with 30 years, your retirement would be calculated at 1% of your high 3 average salary, X 30 years added up divided by 12, that equals your monthly annuity. However, if you were 62 with 30 years as an example, your retirement would be calculated at 1.1% of the high 3 average salary, X 30 years added up divided by 12, and that would equal your monthly annuity. So it’s NOT a loss of .1% (anywhere), it’s an addition of .1% to the overall calculation and this is for FERS employee’s only. Roseanne
Q 5. To Roseanne, I retired with the early out incentive on 1/31/13 with 30+ years with the post office. With all the issues they are having keeping PSE’s (with a lot of them quitting etc.) would the PO ever consider rehiring on a part-time basis retired postal clerks. We would have experience and I think some of us are just looking for part-time work. Is there any position (other than contract carrier position) that retired postal clerks could do? Thank you, B
A 5. Hi B, Yes there are VERY VERY specific positions that a federal retiree can work in a federal position…BUT…I will tell you it’s a very slippery slope. Too many things can go wrong, and I have seen it first hand. Post offices will willingly try to hire an annuitant for a TRC position. In order to do this “according to regulations” the Post Office really has to jump through a few hoops before “re-hiring” a federal annuitant. Based on my emails, those in the positions in the districts at “Local Services (personnel) offer these positions, without going through the proper paperwork that is REQUIRED to rehire an annuitant. Many have no clue that is HAS TO BE APPROVED BY OPM. Many don’t know that when the Inspection Service comes in an does their yearly review of hiring and they see a TRC annuitant, and the proper paperwork has not been filed not so good ya feel me!! Sometimes ignorance is not an excuse if you are in a position that REQUIRES BY VIRTUE OF YOUR occupation code and salary you earn, that you didn’t know you can’t just hire an annuitant without going through some extensive paperwork.
That being said, I personally don’t recommend it, for so many reasons…I know so many things in my head as to why this is a HORRIBLE decision so let me be frank with you of ALL THE EMPLOYERS IN THE UNITED STATES, why, why, why ??? TRY to go back to the same employer that you just retired from???? It truly baffles me, because you take on the responsibility of ensuring your days in a calendar are not over the limitation the PO isn’t going to do that and what do they care if you work over the limit, and the OPM cuts your retirement check DOLLAR FOR DOLLAR EARNED this is NOT a good idea..AT ALL. I know what nearly everyone else does not and I have the ability to share it because no one else will tell you the real truth. Lets look at this another way. As a retired federal employee, you are a employers’ “dream employee”. You don’t want to work 40 hours a week, you don’t need health benefits, and by working ANYWHERE OTHER THAN A FEDERAL EMPLOYER, there is no possibility of your OPM annuity check being reduced. DONT DO IT!! YOU will be screwed. There are really isn’t anyone left at the local level (District Office..HRLocal Services) that truly understands how to accomplish this rehiring of an annuitant, legally, & legitimately. This is crucial to making sure you- the annuitant, don’t see a reduction in your annuity check, by working as a TRC/annuitant.
I get emails from HQ employees, TO HELP FIX THEIR screw ups ON THIS of course I would never get the credit for it, no one would admit that they run outside to use their cell phone to call me to give them an answer so they can run back in and complete or respond to an instruction
….but TRUST me on this…if you just gotta work – work anywhere, BUT NEVER a federal employer…not just the PO, any FEDERAL employer…you asked and that was far more than a 2 cent answer.
Till we speak again…Roseanne
Postal Retirement Q&A April 2014
Good Day Postal Employees
I am bursting with joy…I found out last night that a case (involving a deceased postal employee with Basic Life Insurance (& Option B 1X) coverage, that I have been dealing with for well over a year, appears finally have a resolve. Consistently through the years of writing this column, it has been a constant effort on my part to “force, scare, threaten all of you to go into your eOPF, and make sure the beneficiary forms for ALL of facets your MONEY are protected.” Should you pass away, and the beneficiary forms that are in your eOPF is what the USPS; FEGLI and OPM will use to disperse the money.
What if…really…what if…you filled out those forms, and for some reason those beneficiary forms did NOT make it into your OPF. Take that to the next step and those same forms that you filled out, were perhaps misfiled in “someone else’s OPF” or somehow not filed at all? AND THEN those same huge OPF’s with all of your hiring information, all the Form 50’s (aka Notification of Personnel Action), every single thing about YOU, right down to your original application for employment, are taken WHOLESALE meaning EVERY postal employee’s file, were taken and sent to a “scanning site”, to transmit ALL POSTAL EMPLOYEE’S FIILES to an individual electronic files an “eOPF”, (that YOU can see on line) and that is EXACTLY how it happened.
So now, there are NO huge paper folder’s (OPF’s) in District Offices, or in individual Post Offices, but ONLY the eOPF (Electronic Official Personnel Folders) that are on-line for YOU to review. What if those beneficiary forms never made it to your “paper” file? Then CLEARLY!!! they are NOT going to be in your electronic file, the eOPF. So you can call HRSSC and request a “Beneficiary Package, that will include all of the forms that are listed below, that should be up to date and reflect your choices TODAY not necessarily the choices you made the day you were hired.
FEGLI Life Insurance Beneficiary Form SF 2823 (filed in eOPF)
CSRS Retirement Beneficiary Form SF 2808 (filed in eOPF)
FERS Retirement Beneficiary Form SF 3102 (filed in eOPF)
Unpaid Compensation SF 1152 (filed in eOPF)
TSP Beneficiary Form TSP-3 (filed with TSP and NOT in your eOPF)
As a Manager, one of the most important issues I had was to continually ensure that OPF filing (of course this is when we had paper files the ORIGINAL OPF (Official Personnel File/Folder), you know ones you could “hold in your hand”, that beneficiary forms were to be filed daily – no excuses… that was just SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) in personnel, and rightfully so. In dealing with this case, it’s hard not to put yourself in the place of the deceased postal employee, and wonder “could this happen to my family”? Even more so, when…and let’s face it…postal employees many times have been married more than once (OH, oh no, …not like the JOB could have had anything to do with that!! hmm). So what if you remarried (as many postal employees do) and you fill out new beneficiary forms, what if the “HR” person at your district was not as “knowledgable or didn’t truly understand what the impact would be if a situation like this occurred. I have said this before, and I will say this again, a beneficiary form TRUMPS a Will and even if this Will was written after the beneficiary form, the “financial” entity can ONLY honor that beneficiary who is on that form. It’s a legal document.
You must know by now that this case came to that. What would it be like it could be like some cases turn out that an Ex husband/ Ex wife (who could have been an X for years), winds up getting the Unpaid Compensation money. This could happen if you passed away as an employee, the unpaid compensation, is your last pay check (final work hours) and all Earned Annual Leave What if that Ex got $15,390.47 and the widow/widower didn’t because that SF1152 Unpaid Compensation Beneficiary Form, was not filled out after a second marriage, or not filed in the employee’s OPF, because that is exactly what would (AND DID) happen. And then the second spouse (of many years), widow/widower of the postal employee was left to “fight it out” because a beneficiary form was not filed in the OPF, and so not scanned to the eOPF, not because the postal employee didn’t fill out the form, but because the form wasn’t filed in the OPF. Now add this to the mess, but YOU have a copy of that form in your hand, a signed copy of that form (that was signed and entered by the HR person). BUT since it wasn’t in the eOPF, it didn’t exist. BUT IT DID EXIST. The fact that it wasn’t filed properly, the fact that it was signed off by the HR person, made that a legal document 15 months of fighting for what their postal spouse wanted them to have.
I am hoping that once this postal spouse can finally pay the mortuary, the legal bills associated with the case, try to put their life back together and finally mourn the loss of their spouse without this hideous problem of life insurance money, that was always theirs to begin with, can heal after this terrible ordeal. I am hoping that in the next month or so I am able to publish a letter from this spouse so that you can know first hand what they went through, maybe THEIR WORDS will convince you, because I have tried!!
Maybe this too will add to the issue, as it relates to postal employees, a beneficiary form NEVER gets REPLACED. Once the beneficiary form (this legal document I tell you about) was/is filed in your OPF, it became a part of an official record. To change the beneficiary, you fill out another form. THAT FIRST (or second, third, or fourth) BENEFICIARY FORM DOES NOT GET REMOVED FROM YOUR FILE/OPF. The next beneficiary form (the newer one) is filed as well, but that first, or second, or thirty-third form stays in that file. The notion that you take out that one beneficiary form and replace it with another is incorrect, at least incorrect procedures. I have some “beneficiary forms” in my OPF (filled out in, let’s say “another life”) I sure would like to have “yanked” out of the file myself! But they couldn’t be because they are legal documents…as well as federal documents. And that should be a validation to you all out there, that I am well versed in what being a “Custodian of the Records” really means.
Comment/Response # 1.
Hello, Roseanne! I just finished your column and enjoyed it as usual.
I did want to add something to Q. 5 as reason #132 not to return to work for the USPS or any federal agency. The person who took the same VERA I did on 1/31/13, will have gotten $15,000 VSIP (the second part will be paid this May) which has to be repaid BEFORE being rehired in the federal government within 5 years of retirement. That seems yet another reason to NOT go back to the USPS to work (besides so many OTHER reasons!).
As you constantly say, retirement is so sweet! It does sadden me to read how many people reconsider returning to work. Thanks again for clarifying the madness for so many folks! N
Q 1. I will retire this year. I have received my retirement booklet. There are about seven forms that I was instructed to fill out and sign, one of the forms has to do with my TSP account and it gives me different options for monthly payment annuity accounts. I want to leave my TSP account in place after retirement but I do not want an annuity account that locks me into paying me a set amount each month. I want to be free to roll this account over into other investments if the time comes. But I did not receive a form to just leave my TSP account as is and I know by age 70 I will need to make yearly withdrawals. It just seems as if they are trying to make me sign up for a monthly pay out annuity account by not providing any other form but to sign up for a locked in monthly payment system which I do not want. Do you have any information on how I make sure they just leave my account as is or if not who I can talk with about this and a phone number. Thank you
A 1. There is NOTHING that you have to do to accomplish what you want, which is to leave the money in TSP in place until you decide what you want to do with it. You have until you are 70 years and 6 months to make that decision. Just so you are CLEAR, there is NO form to say “I want to leave my money in TSP”. The only forms are to take it out, in some form or fashion…stop stressing, you have done everything right and the way you wanted (at least from what you have stated in your email). NO WORRIES. Your money in TSP is fine and still there. I always feel edgy when an employee/retiree says I was instructed to fill out and sign…that is NOT retirement is all about “filling out and signing”. There is so much more to know that is never discussed. Roseanne
Q 2. Hi- I plan on retiring in 4 years, I am a FERS hired in 1984 and I bought back 5 1/2 years military which has been credited to my total years already, I’m wondering about the social security supplement we are to receive and how much it is and how it works, I was born in 1958 and am 55 years old, i’m thinking in dec 2018 on retiring giving me a total of 40 yrs with military. Any info you can give me would be appreciated, I am a letter carrier.
A 2. Hi M, Typically the Special Supplement is rated between $30-$35 per month, times the number of POSTAL years worked. OK so I capitalized Postal of course there is a reason you are not paid the supplement for the “paid back military years”. So I would calculate (in the middle of the 2 figures and use $33.00 per month, times the number of postal years and you should be very close to calculating your Special Supplement. Roseanne
Q 3. I plan on retiring on Nov. 1st, 2014. I am a letter carrier under CSRS. I carried over 440 hours of annual leave from last leave year. Can I continue to accumulate my annual leave and sell back more than the 440 hours of annual leave when I retire ?
A 3. No. Craft employees can only carry over 440 from the prior year. If you are suggesting this, because it’s not really clear you want to retire at the end of the year, and then sell anything OVER the 440 correct? The answer is still no, because, and many (not even EAS employee’s) don’t know this, but when you sell back annual leave, you are actually selling the leave that is from the coming year, and if you are retiring, there is no leave coming for the next year. Roseanne
Q 4. Hi Roseanne, First of all, I’m so glad to hear Hope is in remission. It’s a wicked disease and my prayers are with you all. I’m not sure if you can help me with this question or not. I retired from the USPS on 1/31/2013 at the age of 58. I had been there for nearly 28 years, all of them under FERS. I accepted the VERA that was offered to the clerks the previous fall, and get the SRS plus my pension. I understand that we have to follow the Social Security earnings limit when we work after retirement so we don’t lose part of the SRS. Last year that didn’t matter because that was the year I retired. I was able to collect unemployment for the first 26 weeks. In PA you are eligible for unemployment if you accept an early retirement offer due to an employer-initiated reduction in force. (The post office did appeal, but we all won.) I started a part-time job in October, but it was not a well-paid job. On our W-2’s last year, the first $10000 of the buyout was counted as part of our earnings.
My question is this: does the second part of our buyout ($5000) that we will receive in May count toward the Social Security earnings limit? I have called OPM twice on this and have gotten two different answers, one yes, one no. I have been working two part-time jobs and will have to quit one of them very soon if the $5000 counts toward the limit. I really don’t want to lose part of my SRS, but at the same time, paying all the insurances eats up most of my regular pension, so financially I still need to work until I’m old enough for Social Security. Thank you so much for your help!! SP
A 4. Hi SP, Congrats on retiring and on being able to receive the unemployment!! I would think that if they (IRS) considered the $10,000 “earnings” then most likely that would also be considered “earning’s”. This is the same dilemma every FERS employee has when considering the Spec Supp versus working. The problem stems from the fact that a FERS retirement is a 3 tiered plan, and that each “tier” does NOT weigh one-third. FERS is only 25% of the retirement income, SS is 35% of the monthly income and TSP was to be 45% of the monthly income. Unless TSP was funded FULLY, (meaning you have nearly double in TSP monthly income as the FERS annuity check. I would continue to call OPM for a definitive answer on the 5G’s…but prepare for it to be considered income. Roseanne
R 4. Roseanne, Thank you so much for the quick reply. I’ve been trying to call OPM every day and finally got thru yesterday morning. The woman I spoke with yesterday said it is counted as earned income as far as taxes go, but will not be considered earned income for the SS earnings limit test, as it was not actually earned. She said a questionnaire will be sent out at the end of April (after taxes are normally done) and there will be a place on that to show that the incentive money was not earned income. She was actually the first one from OPM to take time to answer my questions and back the answers up with research. I have already quit one of my jobs, just in case, but after I see the questionnaire and see it with my own eyes, I can always pick up another part-time job. Thank you again for your help!! I’ll let you know what happens! SP
Q 5. Roseanne: Yesterday, the XYZ District held a telecon on the upcoming RIF of Postmasters (9/30/14). A question was asked about going to craft and we were told that we would have to take the Clerk test again if we took it before 2005. Is this your understanding? Thanks.
A 5. What a crock of bullshit!! Of all the employees that have changed crafts’ or EAS employees that went from management to craft NEVER that I have EVER, EVER heard of…had to take a test or a re-test before or after 2005…So NO, not my understanding, AND NO ONE ELSE’S either!! And ask them WHERE in the contract(s); ELM, EL 311/312 or in just an official “anydamnthing” does it show language that stated anything that related 2005 as a “cut-off” year (or any year for that matter). MAKE THEM SHOW YOU IN WRITING, it’s not true. Roseanne
Till we speak again…Roseanne
Postal Retirement Q&A May 2014
Good Day Postal Employees:
I would like to begin thanking everyone for their prayers for Hope. She is still in remission, and we pray that she continues the fight this dreadful disease.
This has been one of those months where so many of you have written to me in the hopes that I will have some miracle answer to fix what is wrong with the PO, or give you some tools to figure out “your” specific problems. From the changing of RCD and ACD dates..meaning your RCD has been one date, and you send in your paperwork for retirement, and then you find out your RCD has been incorrect for years. Perhaps it’s a month off, or maybe it’s a year off. Generally this was due to improper credit of non-career time. Certainly finding out AFTER you have sent in your paperwork does NOTHING for the resentment you already have about not being given good information, or the fact that you really are NOT eligible to retire.
There are things that YOU CANNOT FIGHT, this is one of them!! Yes, I know they were wrong. I know retirement computation dates, and annuity computation dates have been very confusing for years. This is why they created the system of RTR (Retirement, Thrift, RIF). Prior to the RTR system, personnel employees would review regulations and dates and manually enter credible service time. (Credible Service is what is used to base years (of service) on, so that your retirement can be calculated (based on your high 3 average salary times the number of years of credible service)). As the Manager of Personnel…a mandate came out from HQ, that by a certain date EVERY POSTAL EMPLOYEE HAD TO HAVE AN RTR performed on their employment history. That date has long passed and it was well before I retired. If I were to give a guess I would say that around 2006 was the year that it was mandated that all had to be done. So if an RTR is being done on you, I would be reviewing my eOPF to see if one has been done before, and question why another one.
When an employee has had non-career time, there are very specific dates that allow it to be “credited” for retirement. Sometimes the non-career years can be credible for retirement money and sometimes the years are only credible for years and NOT money. And as confusing as this sounds, it was. Therefore the creation of RTR, because (initially) the vast numbers of employees that were found to be in the WRONG retirement system. This RTR system was designed to “correctly” calculate retirement dates, as well as defining what retirement system you should be in. Recently I have had a number of emails that you, yes you!! for years thought and was on paper (your PS Form 50) that you were a FERS employee. Only to find out, after an RTR was performed, that you were CSRS. VERY VERY ugly for the post office. AND the same ugly if you were “thought” to be CSRS and are really FERS. UGLY!! The amount of money that is spent correcting employees retirement plans is thru the roof. And so it is the same with years that were “added” or improperly credited as “credible service time” but in reality were not entitled because it was outside of the time frame that allowed it to be credible. This is why I implore you to look at your eOPF. You can be in control�but YOU have to do for YOU, because no one else will or can. Don’t be the one who writes and tells me that you just found out that you can’t retire because THEY had your “dates wrong”, and now your life is turned upside down. I am telling you to check your eOPF now and consistently. I know you say that no one is telling you anything. Well wrong, because I am telling you, and now you have no excuse. Be as interested in your eOPF as you are about your paycheck. Some of you will listen, and some of you will thank me, because you “caught” something now that would be an issue in the future.
Q 1. Roseanne, There is an argument amongst us, that with the PMG’s last report, retirees are going to be forced to take Medicare part B as their primary insurance. I had asked you about this before. I thought I had the option to defer part B, and keep my Blue cross as my primary. I am 62 now, and will file for social security, after I am officially retired. There are rumors circulating that our retirement has this clause in effect, that we must elect to have Medicare as our primary.
Have you received any information on this subject ? Thanks, M
A 1. Hi M, No, I have not, and don’t expect that we will. My husband and I are both are retirees ( postal )….hubby will be 65 and got his “approval & fee” letter for Medicare part B. (Approval letter yer killin me..nearly everyone can get Medicare Part B if you pay for it approval..pulease!!) So we sent it back that he was NOT interested in Medicare Part B, keeping in mind, he is not yet 65 yet and they are preparing to take the Medicare Part B deduction out of his check when he turns 65 in a few months. The only time a government agency does anything ahead of time, is when they plan on taking something from you. And 65 is the age when you decide about Medicare, not at age 62. And let’s say that did happen, that the postmaster general decided that postal employees had to go to a “specific” insurance company of the Post Office’s choosing or THE OTHER rumor a health plan THEY CREATE THEMSELVES SPECIFICALLY FOR POSTAL EMPLOYEES (can�t possibly see that happening). FEHB rules state that you are NOT required take Medicare part B. And why would you? Medicare Part B is health insurance…YOU HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE!! I truly don’t believe the PMG can make decisions that affect retirees, that are ALREADY retired. OPM is the governing body when you are retired, not your former federal employer. Once a federal employee becomes a retiree, they are a retiree, not a postal retiree, a federal retiree. I have several times given this website its the official booklet regarding FEHB and Medicare. It clearly states, that we are NOT required to take Medicare Part B, and cannot be forced to, and additionally, states that FEHB insurance is as good or BETTER than Medicare. Keep in mind, I am talking about Medicare Part B, the one you pay for! Medicare Part A is free, and is going to happen. You have been paying it as an employee, and so when turning 65 and retired, Medicare Part A becomes the PRIMARY HOSPITAL payer. The PO has to follow OPM rules it’s not the other way around!! Here is the link:
Q 2. Hi Roseanne, We have corresponded for the last 3 years, and I have taken your advice on every issue, and thank you for just BEING RIGHT!! Since the beginning of having a Shared Service center versus an on-site personnel office where you could get a personal face to face meeting with the person who was doing your retirement, there has been such a lack of information about retirement. You cannot get any real answers from anyone at the district level. When I retired, I did the phone session with Shared Service (and there were other people on the phone besides me!!), I did not get advice or even a relative “understanding” of how high the premiums would go to on the Option B insurance. I am paying an arm & a leg for life insurance. I guess it did not help that when I retired at age 69, 2 months later I turned 70 and the premiums nearly doubled. Had I been told that, I would have made some very different choices. What would you suggest that I do now? I guess after corresponding with you all those times, this was the time I really should have BEFORE I retired NOT AFTER. Again, thank you for your valued advice. GLD
A. 2 Hi GLD, My advice can and is very different for everyone. Not because I change my mind, but because my advice to you is about you and your family, and not a generalized answer. Everyone has their own specific reasons for life insurance. Health issues can be the barometer for the decision you make. If you have an illness or know that your life expectancy may be shortened by the illness, then my answer would not be the same to an employee who is retiring, say with no medical issues. It would requires a series of Q and A between us both so I can help you make a correct choice. AND AGAIN…This is why I do what I do, because of just this…you retired with limited information, and possibly made bad choices. Well those choices can be changed. You can reduce the multiples of your option B, (1-5); that is one solution, or you can cancel it altogether. To me, it’s just the pissin off of money that you spent on insurance that you can not afford the older you get. FYI: NO ONE CAN!! That money was better spent either with another life insurance policy or in your pocket. Roseanne
Q 3. I’m window clerk, and I am a FERS employee. Been in the Post Office since Nov 1985 and on my birthday Nov 15, 2015, I will turn 56 & have 30 years of service. I was thinking of March 1st as a possible last day, but what do you think the best day for me to be my last if I want to receive the full 440 hours of accumulated annual leave lump sum payment check? At the end of Dec. 2014 I will have 360 hours of Annual Leave & 440 hours of unused Sick Leave. Approximately, how much more $ per month will that unused sick leave add to my annuity? Also, what does it mean when TSP tells me that i’m eligible to receive a certain $ amount per month for life, do they mean i can receive that amount per month until i die or until the TSP amount runs out and what are my surviving family members entitled to? Can i specify to TSP how much $ per month i want to receive? When would i receive my last paycheck & lump sum annual leave check , my first Annuity check and how would i apply for the Social Security Supplement…how soon could i receive the first of that also? My average high 3 salary comes to $ 53,000. What would my gross monthly annuity be plus the Soc. Sec. Supp. and would the net amount be roughly half that? Are taxes taken out of the TSP guaranteed monthly amount? Thank you for your help, J.
A 3. Hi J, Well much of your answers depend on what actual date that you are going to retire. If you are retiring in 2015, because, 1), you will turn your MRA on 11-15-15, and on that SAME date you will also have 30 (or more) years of service, yes you are eligible to retire. Your sick leave is NOT paid, but rolled over into your “years of service”, totaling years and months. Any days that are left over (and are added to the actual years of service on the rolls), if they don’t equal 22 those 21 days of sick leave (or less than 21 days) are lost. You can receive your TSP in any manner you desire, once you are retired. After you receive your SF Form 50 showing retirement, then the choice is yours about what you do with your TSP funds. Hopefully you did not “dip” into your TSP, and that when you retire, you are eligible to do a variety of things with that money. When they say you can receive a particular amount of money until you die..that is what they mean. However understand that with an annuity (ANY ANNUITY FROM ALMOST ANY FINANCIAL VEHICLE) when an annuity is bought and there is no spouse, then the money dies with the employee. If married, then the spouse would receive an annuity that was pre-selected (by the employee). Should that spouse pass away whatever money left in the annuity is GONE!! BE CAUTIOUS with this money, this is a part of your FERS retirement plan.
There is NO WAY for me to predict how much $$$ on anything that you would receive and how could I just giving me your H-3 salary anymore, just won’t cut it, because of the NEW proration factor applied.
FERS is a 3 tiered retirement system, consisting of FERS, TSP & SS (Special Supp & post 62 Social Security). Each of those tiers do NOT weigh 33% each, but are more in line with 25% FERS, 35% SS, 45% TSP. Hopefully you funded your TSP fully, for the maximum benefit. Again, question on taxes. I am as specific as you are so about 10% on federal and depending on what state you live in would be the answer to a state tax question. Retirement generally is not a one answer fits all, it’s way more complex than that. Roseanne
Q 4. Hi Roseanne, I was hired April 1983. I paid the 4 years served in Army to my civil service retirement. That will make 35 accumulative years in May and I’ll be 55 years old in August. I’m at next to last step (M) of my full time level 10 E T job at the XYZ P&DA in MY STATE. A Remotely Managed Postmaster position has opened up and I would like your advise. It’s a 6.5 hour a day office with a max $18.xx hourly wage.
Is EAS (non bargaining) postal employees “managers” retirement different from bargaining unit employees? If so how?
If I apply for the RMPO postmaster, how bad will that effect my retirement?
What if I worked less than a year as a RMPO postmaster?
If I was awarded the office, my goal would be to reach full time Postmaster position as soon as possible. I also know there’s going to be a lot of area Postmasters that will get 1st preference to vacant full time offices because their offices are being cut to part time with post plan taking effect in late Sept early Oct.
I want to work for the United States Postal Service 5-10 more years and would prefer those years with a day time job with weekends off.
A 4. Hi G,
NO – NO and NO!! I know it looks attractive having a daytime job with weekends off..but you will pay for that in the end because, if you are being promoted to a position that is LESS than 40 hours a week, that will dramatically effect your High-3 average salary when it is calculated for retirement.
The are some differences with craft, EAS and PCES employees when it comes to retirement. BUT that is not an issue that is as RELATIVE as money, and your money will be affected. Because a pro-ration factor is NOW being applied, your high-3 (based on a less than 40 hr a week job) will REDUCE the yearly income, and thus reduce what is put into the retirement system (by both YOU and USPS matching funds (in FERS)), and that total overall reduction, reduces the annuity even though you may work longer.
Example: I did a PM retirement. That PM worked as a PM for years. Then 6 months prior to an early out offer, took a 6.5 hour RMPO job. Just six months in that less than 40 hour a week position, had already decreased the retirement calculations, at a 98% pro-ration factor (so in essence she lost 2% of the high-3). If she worked until her MRA (56) at the 6.5 hour job (working an additional 5 years) she would have made only 5.00 more per month in annuity…why…the pro-ration factor. I cannot tell you what to do, because I know daytime and weekends off are SO DAMN attractive…but whatever you do, you now know the consequences. Roseanne
Q 5. Roseanne, I’ve always appreciated your great advice and now I really need some. I’m a city carrier (FERS), will be 58/30 yrs. AND I WILL be retiring at the end of 2014. However, this last year has probably been the worst in my career. My health is failing and I have a disease, that although may not actually take my life, does impact me working and how I can live my life. I have used up nearly all of my sick leave, and I will be on LWOP soon. Here are my questions: 1. How much LWOP can I take this year without affecting receiving credit for this last year? AND 2, assuming I can make it until Dec., is there an advantage staying thru end of the month vs. my anniversary date 12/19?
Thanks for your help. JB
A 5. Hi JB As far as question #1, MORE than 6 months of LWOP in ONE calendar year begins to have an effect on leave and creditable service. Question # 2, the advantage is it’s “cleaner”. Actually you should retire on the last day of the month.. in your case 12.31. NOW that does not MEAN you actually have to work, you can take leave, until the 31st if you want. BUT if you really wanted to retire on the 19th, NO one can really stop you. Its just NOT a good financial decision. It leaves you with 2-3 weeks of no income. If retiring at the end of (any) month, the annuity is beginning on the first of the next month. So why leave on the 12th, when there would be the loss of 2-3 weeks of income. ON the other hand, if you are on a LWOP status then retiring on the 19th would be fine because you are not being paid, and in this case is a moot issue. If your medical issues become unbearable, you could try to apply for FERS Disability Retirement, not the best choice since you are so close to actual retirement for too many reasons to actually list just trust me on that. Roseanne
Till we speak again… Roseanne
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
HOPEFULLY A LESSON LEARNED TO ALL….ROSEANNE
Q 1. Roseanne, I found your email on postalmag.com. 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…..you 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
Postal Retirement Q&A July 2014
Good Day Postal Employees!!
Thanking you all for the prayers that have been offered up for my daughter Hope, she is still in remission of stage 3 breast cancer, and our entire family is grateful to all of you who have said prayers for her recovery….thank you!
Please take the time to recognize our VETERANS on this 4th of July…to them we OWE SO MUCH!!
June was a REALLY CRAZY month….busy, did a Rural Carrier State Convention on retirement…..So many questions….so little time, but one great group of employees. So I get a phone call this week and a postmaster is just bubbling that they have re vamped the POStPlan Org Change and RIF Timeline. AND they have offered (ONLY THOSE POSTMASTERS EFFECTED IN THIS POStPlan Re-Org) another $10,000 incentive, and a new “get outta dodge” date 09/30/2014. Well, if you have been reading my column for awhile, you know I have predicted more early outs, and I have more often than not, stated I didn’t think that $$ would be offered, but obviously “incentives” are still on the table….because they are NOT where they need to be “staffing wise” as of yet !! And the idea that when an employee retires, “SURELY THEY WILL BE REPLACED”, has now become a “crap shoot”. You really never know if that employee will be replaced, and that effects many times if an employee will change from part time to full time status or better known as a “regular”. We are coming down to the wire on RIF separations…..it will be ugly if you don’t find a landing spot…..because you WILL BE SEPARATED. RIF rules are very specific, and IF I WERE still working and on the verge of being given a RIF separation, I would not try to play HARD BALL, in obtaining the job of my choice…..again…..this is one…you won’t win…..YOU DON’T WANT TO BE THE ONE WITHOUT A CHAIR WHEN THE MUSIC STOPS!!! This month has been very busy with emails and your concerns about the organization and the treatment of employees. It does have a way of eating away at anyone’s good nature. And I have been told, written to, called, by so many that the levels of anger and rage are at epic proportions. And sometimes, in some places, things have had some horrible consequences due to the insane pressure being applied. I use this scenario, because I think it validates the lunacy of this organization sometimes. If you are a Postmaster, and you have 2 full-time clerks..(never mind if you have any part time clerks…just for this example only 2 FT clerks)…and you are given a budget that says 12 clerks hours per day. HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE!? HOW IS THAT LEGAL? WHAT does the PM have to make sure that someone is given annual or “heaven’s forbid” sick leave? How do you make that work….you can’t…A full-time employee is guaranteed 8 hours a day, you got 2, that’s 16 hours a day….I say that to say….it is NOT worth it to allow an employer make you so volatile that it appears you are not in control…. I know, I have been there….my district would call it Roseanne is going “ziggityboo”, because when you are in it…..you don’t sense the destruction of it, until you leave it. When you retire, you will return to normal, it takes a bit, but every single one of you reading this knows I am right. WE are NOT who we were, when we were first hired…..flat out!! Regardless of what our position was when we hired or what our position is when we retire….we have CHANGED!!! We are cynical, and untrusting…. But who am I to talk, spent hours upon hours shredding my COA files from the period of time I was in Management…(decades!!). CUZ, ya just never know when they are going to ask for some stupid #%^, that they should have already had. NO need to explain…..you all know!!
Q 1. A Postalmag Reader writes: Hi Roseanne, Hope this finds you well and your daughter still in remission. Just wanted to share the timeline OPM processed my January 31, 2014 retirement. March 1, 2014 First interim annuity payment. (About 80% of what annuity is). April 1, 2014 Second interim annuity payment. May 1, 2014 Third interim annuity payment. Make up payment for special supplement and balance of annuity payment minus health ins and taxes deposited. Received “blue book”. June 1, 2014 should be my regular monthly check. Overall I was pleasantly surprised with the timeline of processing my retirement. Thanks for all you do !! KB
A 1. Hi KB, I am very pleased that you took the time to write and share this information about the time frames, you experienced with OPM. I try to explain about the time frames in retirement, which hold true (for MOST). The horror stories are those whose “data” (once OPM receives the retirement package from HRSSC) are shown to be NOT correct, can explain many times why some retirements take so long. Congrat’s…you deserve it. If you can retire from this organization… it didn’t come easy. Take care, and have an awesome retirement!! Roseanne
Q 2. Roseanne, I have worked 36 plus years in addition to two years military time I bought and sick leave which will amount to 40 years of credited service this September. I am an RIF impacted Postmaster come Sept 30, 2014. 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 you, J,
A 2. Please, just retire….go back and re-read some of my columns about how changing to a “less than 40 hour a week position” changes the percentile of your annuity, called a pro-ration factor. With 36 years, and you are CSRS…just RETIRE…staying at a RMPO to do what ?!?….”sunset your career”…it’s just plain stupid…you are working effectively to reduce your high 3 average salary…and I don’t CARE HOW they try to sell it…it reduces your high 3 average salary. It is what an HR person would call a “sucker move”…and truly…I hate to be so blunt…but I cannot imagine how many different ways I have had to communicate this message without being just IN YOUR FACE….just do the math!! Take a calculator to the figures…Roseanne
Q 2. Hello Roseanne I recently saw information about you and the retirement advice you give out and post on postalmag.com. My situation is I am a 39 year old carrier. I have 17 years of career service and 3 years of TE service prior to that. I am currently working on my teaching degree. I figure I have about 2 years left until I graduate. That would put me close to 20 years career time. If I walked away from the postal service after 20 years but was only 42 or 43 years old, how does that work? Do I get a full retirement? Do I have to wait until my mid 60’s to start collecting. What if I finish my degree early, can I walk away from the post office before 20 full years and collect a partial retirement? After 3 surgeries on my knee and foot I want to get out while I can still walk normal. I was just wondering what my options are as I get closer to graduating. Any insight you can give would be great. Thanks you so much. AB
A 2. Hi AB, You can “resign” and take a “deferred” retirement.
This is what regulations say about Deferred Retirement: “If you separate from service before you are eligible for an immediate annuity and you do not take a refund of your retirement contributions, you will be eligible for a 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 10 (reduced)
So that is the criteria, the same as early out and discontinued service (as it relates to age(s) and years of service. Providing you are a full time employee and have been for some time, then you can simply use your high 3 average salary, and then times it by 1%. That number is used times the number of years of service, then divide by 12 for the monthly gross annuity. That is without spousal benefits (and of course no life or health insurance…which REALLY is the biggest benefit of retirement. Roseanne
R 2. Roseanne, So just to be clear, I can get a deferred retirement with 17 years if career service it do I have to have over 20 years career service? Thanks for taking time with me. AB
Hi AB, yes, this is taken directly from FERS retirement information. If you would like to see it yourself….you can log into opm.gov…go to retirement then to FERS Information, then Types of Retirement ….you will see the information…just so you have a peace of mind. BUT you have to read it….as soon as you attain the age that corresponds with the age/service below….that means (FOR YOU) since you will resign with 17 or so years (not 20), then when you turn 62…you can apply for the Deferred Retirement. Let’s say you were 49 with 21 years (still not eligible to retire), but in that scenario, the person could apply for their Deferred Retirement at age 60…because they had 20 years when they resigned. I hope this clears this up for you. Roseanne
Q 3. Is there a supplement from OPM that is available from age 57 to 59 which one can get while still employed?I talked to our union president and OPM and they say no,but a fellow employee says yes. CRT
A 3. Hi CRT No, there is NOT a supplement for someone that is still working, the union president is correct. Roseanne
Q. 4. Roseanne, I am 57 with 35 years of service. I recently received a job offer with THE railroad. I am going to take the job and retire from postal service. My question is once I am with THE railroad for five years, all my social security money is transferred to THE railroad retirement. Would my CSRS pension, still be reduced by offset at age 62 since I will no longer be able to receive Social Security. Thanks, T
A. 4 Hi T, Well congratulations on your new career. Geez….and when I began to answer this I thought it was going to be easy….NOT! First: You can retire CSRS and no matter what (EXCEPT A FEDERAL JOB) you can work anywhere without it affecting your annuity…..BUT IF YOU ARE an OFFSET CSRS employee- those rules are very different if you were regular CSRS. The change in these two retirement systems (CSRS vs CSRS/offset) takes place when you turn 62, and have eligibility to receive Social Security. Did you notice I said “ELIGIBILITY”…because regardless if you TAKE SS at age 62, your CSRS check is going to be REDUCED (if CSRS …too many variables if you are a CSRS/offset). You will always be eligible to collect SS, but you just thew a monkey wrench in the soup….when you take on another job. It has no bearing on where you work, just that you are working. That is my answer so far…..let me do some checking because the “railroad” has some interesting features in their retirement, that I am not very familiar with, but do know a little about, enough to know they are very similar to CSRS. Let me see if I can find anything else to help you on this issue. Roseanne
Q 5. Hi Roseanne, can you please tell me what happens if one retires on Sept. 30 2014 in the state of Virginia, then moves to the state of Florida and declares residency in this state. Do I inform the OPM that my residency for my retirement payments changes? Basically, in the state of Virginia I would owe yearly taxes and in the state of Florida I would not have to pay state taxes. I think I read somewhere that I would need to be a resident of Florida for one year before I could claim the Florida no tax rate. Thanks so much if you can help. KJ
A 5. Hi KJ….just as a quick answer….there is NO state tax in Florida, so I cannot imagine some claiming no state tax for a one year….when there is no state tax at all. But instead of relying on what you think you read “somewhere”, simply call the state of Florida tax department and ask them. As far as OPM, yes, you are required to keep them apprised of your address when you move. And further….OPM is not going to just “take out” Virginia state tax….YOU have to initiate that with OPM, as everyone does who is required to pay a state tax on their federal annuity/pension. So if you are moving, and you check and I am correct about FL having no state tax, then all is good. For anyone that wants information on if THEIR state applies a tax to federal pension, a great website is Kiplinger. Roseanne
Until we speak again…..Roseanne
Postal Retirement Q&A August 2014
Good Day Postal Employees!!
WE are still in remission!! Thank you all for your continued prayers….Hope thanks you all!!
…..opening line…..You are confused, angry, and have many problems that cannot be fixed unless you are willing to put in the work, effort and the time.
Let’s begin this month with the Medicare saga….well we did everything that I TELL YOU ALL TO DO… when turning 65 regarding Medicare Part B, and so NOT surprising …. they still are “Encouraging” hubby to take Medicare Part B….in fact, it is SO personal….. to your FEHB insurance , that guess what…..they even make a PERSONAL phone call to you, “inquiring” why you have chosen NOT to take Medicare Part B…hmmm, apparently they did not get the “FEDERAL MEMO” (please see this link to the booklet (produced by OPM mind you)) …COPY THIS LINK
And in this above link validates what I have been saying, that it is a CHOICE if you take Medicare Part B….which is HEALTH insurance!! (FYI you already have health insurance!!)….As a federal employee, when you retire you carry over health insurance and life insurance and of course receive a monthly retirement check. After all these years, isn’t that what we have ALL worked for ??? the fact of “forever” health insurance and life insurance…and if married, a monthly check for the spouse and spouse’s ability to be covered under your federal health benefits…..this is WHY we are ALL HERE all these years….the guarantee of federal benefits!
If you open above link and (READ IT!) you will see what I have been trying to relate to you. Go to page 3 and page 6. So in our Medicare part B saga, they sent hubby a card with Medicare Part A Hospital and Medicare Part B. The card’s instructions tell’s you, if you want Medicare Part A and Part B….do NOTHING…..cut this card out (as this is your Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B card)…they will deduct Part B from your Social Security check and you will have Part A and Part B.
If you don’t want Medicare Part B, sign this card on the back, mail it in, they will send you another card validating only Medicare Part A. DONE…CHECK
SO DONE…that he now has the (replacement) Medicare card that states boldly Medicare Part A ONLY. Seems like Roseanne’s plan is working….until the month you turning 65. Plan still working but NOW the push to get you to sign up for Medicare Part B is really AMP’d up. To the point that your insurance company calls (at least our’s did) and interrogates you as to why you didn’t take Medicare Part B, (EXCUSE ME….it’s a choice!!). Then EVEN THOUGH WE HAVE THE CARD THAT SHOWS THAT HE DID SEND them the information of his decision to NOT take Medicare Part B…. POINT: we have in our possession (sent by them) the NEW Medicare card that specifically says ONLY Medicare Part A. So while in a conversation with Social Security Office, they stated they don’t have that information…that they are 3 – 4 months behind on “paperwork” and they ARE still going to reduce his SS check by the amount of Medicare Part B! Needless to say, how could they NOT have received the paperwork, we already have the card that validates he only has Medicare Part A. Wow!! What is going on…and how this even became an issue to have a conversation with SS or anyone about the choice to NOT take Medicare Part B. This happens when your insurance company sees that you are 65 and now begins paying “differently” because of Medicare Part A (becoming your primary hospital insurance). And so when you go to the doctor (after age 65) and have opted OUT of Medicare Part B….your FEHB insurance is going to want a letter from Social Security stated that you opted out. So that is a hassle, BUT DO IT anyway. OK hassle is probably not the best word…..but when done, it’s a triumph.
Why am I telling you this…..because this is what you are going to run into and if you ROLL OVER, and NOT address it then you will wind up paying for Medicare Part B and FEHB, and why should you..!! OPM states, (see above link) that All FEHB plans are as good or better than medicare, I don’t think that even needs to be discussed…as I would rate that statement as DUH !!; additionally that you can NOT BE FORCED into taking Medicare Part B…..but they did not say how MUCH YOU WILL BE ENCOURAGED. I will keep you all informed. I am calling them this morning to continue to see how I can get them on board. UPDATE: Called Social Security back, and spoke to someone else, and explained in EXACTING DETAIL, quoted the above FEHB~Medicare booklet and guess what, this was just 2 days later, (after hubby “stroking out on the phone with a very unhelpful federal employee…with EXTREME attitude”) the 2 day later SS worker said yes indeed, he sees where he “opted out” and then he “offered” to send a letter so that you can send it to your insurance company”, which is precisely what the FEHB insurance is going to want. SO yes, this is a real pain in rear, but now you know….you have NO excuses…because all I ever hear….we were not told anything…I GET IT, everyone is clueless, I KNOW that…but…if you are reading this column you have resources and have had since 2010. I will keep you all informed to IF this letter came and how quickly.
Q 1. Hello Roseanne, I am considering retirement in the spring of 2015 and I am receiving conflicting information concerning the credit for sick leave. I know as of January 2014 all FERS employees will receive full credit for sick leave accumulated. My question is, how is the sick leave hours credited? I have been told that credit is given for every 8hrs accumulated and I have been told only credit will be given for every 40hrs accumulated. For instance if you have 10hrs only hrs divisible by 8 will be credited I will loose 2 hrs, or if I had 53 hrs I would only be credited for 40 hrs loosing 13hrs. I am close to having a years credit and would like to work to get a full year but need to know how its calculated. 2080 hrs for a yrs credit. CT
A 1. Hi CT, The reason you get all kinds of BS information is because mostly everyone is just guessing. The answer is different for everyone, which is why this makes it SO difficult to be able to give you the correct answer… because much of the answer depends on YOU and your TOTAL credible time. You cannot add the sick “standing alone”… the sick leave is added to the actual years, months, and days of credible service….THEN the sick leave is added. This can be truly validated by ordering an annuity estimate and it will show you precisely what I mean. Just as an FYI yes 2080 would equal 1 year exactly. Roseanne
Q 2.Hi! Roseanne, do you really answer questions….if so, could you please give me your expert advice? I’m a ex-Letter Carrier who was sent home No Work Available in August 2011. I started work as a casual in 1985; was selected on the hiring work sheet and became a PTF in 1986. I became a regular a few months later in 1987. I was injured on the job in Nov 1988 in a dog attack. The P.O. claimed my OWCP case was closed, sent home (NWA). Filed a Ca2a. case reopened, filed a grievance with NALC, went to arbitration no one showed either from P.O.nor NALC. I then filed for FERS disability retirement, which was approved by OPM. I also filed for SSDI, also approved totally disabled. I’ve been on FECA-OWCP since 8-11, and I am still currently being treated by a Doctor. I have complied with OWCP in all matters including second opinion exams,updates etc. so last week I got a letter from HR-PO. injury spec. demanding I furnish updated medical information about my situation so they can possibly accommodate me a work-offer. Please advise. Thank You! and thanks for all the people you help so much. MNY
A 2. Hi MNY, I will answer the first question first….yes I really do answer questions….Something tells me that your case is not as easy as you have portrayed here….why???….because typically, the post office doesn’t go back and try to “UNDO” a disability retirement…once yer’ gone…yer’ gone. NOW..that leads me to where I think you are in this whole “federal soup” pot!! First, you were approved for FERS disability….and because of your “on-the-job” injury (which MUST have played a huge part in your health issue(s)) Secondly, because of that approval from OPM granting you a disability retirement,(again no doubt based upon your on the job illness/injury), you were given the choice to go BACK on the OWCP rolls, and you took that option. The reality of this situation is the Post Office is really paying OWCP (who is paying you) and paying again for someone to do your job. In this case…..you are going to have to follow the instructions….and they may be able to offer you a position….if NOT, then you will return to the “retirement” rolls on OWCP. Sounds like this is going to be complicated…be careful and don’t duck your head in the sand….you need to contact your local union for advice. Roseanne
Q 3. Hi Roseanne, I retired Jan. 31, 2013. I had problems getting my first incentive check. I called to see if it was there and was told no. It turns out it was there and I received it two weeks later. Now it’s time for my second check and guess what, it’s missing also. It should have been there on the 23 of May. I called them several times and was told that I would be called back, but never received a call. I then called the accounting help desk who informed me that the check had been sent and should have been with the may 23rd payroll. I have since then contacted the postal inspectors office so that they can either find or stop payment and reissue. I don’t know if this has happened to anyone else or not but anyway this is FYI. Please keep an eye on it. Thank you.
A 3. Hi…I would just bet that check is sitting at your office where you worked last, just the same way the other one was. If you have gone through all that in calling ASC in Eagan, MN and having the check cancelled to reissue another then, even if the check is where I tell you it is, it will have been already cancelled. I would be very interested to know, when you get that check, where it was, and yes I have had this same question, and I give the same answer and it always seems to be correct. Roseanne
R 3. Hi Roseanne, I called back my post office and you won’t believe it….it was there the whole time. I found out when I went to pick up the check…both were there. I don’t know why I just didn’t write you before I went through all that….thanks (for a whole bunch of us out there)! BP
Q 4.Hello Roseanne, I hope you don’t mind my bothering you to ask you a usps question. I know that you answer a lot of them and we truly do appreciate your help!! I am in a non-career rural route carrier position. I have only been doing this for 6 months now. I hope to eventually move into a career position if that ever is possible. I am currently 48 years old and I also served 20 years in the United States Army. Is it possible for me to retire from the post office in a non-career position and if so, how many years would I have to do? Also, do they send you a monthly check like the Army does, or are you basically just getting paid any savings that you create? I would like to work for the usps until I am 66 but would like to know if there is a light at the end of the rainbow??? Thank you so much for your help !! :)…..JE
A 4.Hi JE, I can beat around the bush, but the answer to your question is no. There is no method for a non-career employee to retire….no one is putting money into any retirement account, not you, and not the post office. It’s very hard to say how long it wold take you to be high enough on “seniority” to converted to a Regular Rural Carrier…but 6 months….is a drop in the bucket….HOWEVER…you are in, and this is the best method towards career employment, so, stay, that is your rainbow. Roseanne
Q 5. Roseanne, where to I submit the bene forms SF 3102 SF 2823 SF 1152 to? my own local postmaster and they mail them or directly some where else and if so where? I know where to submit the TSP form. Thanks A
A 5. Hi A, All of those are beneficiary forms…..and where they “go” is directly related to your work status. If you are currently working and are not in “retirement mode paperwork”, you would send the completed forms to HRSSC at PO BOX 970500, Greensboro, NC 27497-0500, not the postmaster of your working facility. As far as TSP forms, if it is the beneficiary form, and for reference it is sent to: Thrift Savings Plan P.O. Box 385021, Birmingham, AL 35238
Q 6. Roseanne, I retired the end of My and have gotten my annual leave check and it pays me for 184.06 hours, but the stub under leave status states I have 312.06, AND leave with out pay is 40.00 hours. That check was for 13/14 PP/YR. The prior check 12/14 PP/YR, states I have NO leave without pay and 312.06 hours of annual leave. What’s up? Thanks, MR
A 6. Hi MR, Well first if you are a regular then your leave is advanced (PP2) for the entire year, even BEFORE you earn it. If you retire in June (6months); then you are only entitled to 104 hrs vs 208 (12months). That may be where your confusion is. Look on your annuity estimate that you first received when you applied for the blue booklet for retirement. Look to see what that form says about how much AL you would have when you retired. Let me know if those two things reconcile this issue for you. Roseanne
R 6. OK, I checked my report AAF241P1 dated 2/14/2014, it states I have an annual leave balance of 128 hours and a terminal leave payment of $3,419.00, my check was for $3,367.73 (net was $4900) gross. The carry over from the previous year was 160.06, then earned this year 80.00=240.06 hrs. Was paid for 184.06 hours. Looks like your (as always) right. Never noticed that before, it was never pointed it out anywhere…because I checked. Still don’t understand the 40 LWOP hours…does it matter anymore??…. fyi:(no it doesn’t..just a cross footing time keeping issue!)
Till we speak again!!! Roseanne
Postal Retirement Q&A September 2014
Good Day Postal Employees!!
Thank you for your prayers and encouragement, Hope is still in remission!!
This month I have tried to pick the best Q & A’s of the emails from the last 6-8 weeks. Just saying, picking the best, because many emails, (especially this month), that I answer are “person-specific”. And when that happens, its hard to decide which ones to print, so that I don’t confuse an already group of confused folks… what I say to one employee, sometimes (even if one thinks all things are the same) may just not be the same for someone else. Many employees out there STILL have no earthly clue that CSRS and CSRS/offset become 2 very different retirement systems when the annuitant turns 62, and many Rural Carriers fall into that CSRS/offset category. I reiterate this because when you write me and tell me you are CSRS and then it in fact are a CSRS/offset, most of what I told you, won’t be correct (after you turn 62) and that is not good. So be sure you KNOW what retirement system you are in, should you decide to send me a question. Additionally, I know after the column there is a Facebook add on, well….this is too important of a subject to discuss on Facebook or any other social media, and I don’t.
The theme is still the same with your complaints, and all I can do is commiserate with you. You can tell organizationally, things are not going according to the proverbial “ SOP”, because they are continuing to offer early outs with incentive, and early outs without incentives. Rumors spreading they are trying to get rid of CSRS employees because they are so expensive….well WE ARE…but if FERS employee’s played their (TSP) cards right they would be too! But you don’t! ( I can almost explain why, but I don’t have the years left to put it all down on paper)…but FERS can have a better retirement if they would just get off that lame ass thinking….and start to fully fund TSP. YOU CHEAP out on yourselves because you think retirement is so far away, or that the FERS retirement is going to financially carry you through retirement years….well get off that train of thinking, or change tracks because you will be very disappointed if you do not fund your TSP fully.
OH, I know…you got things going on…kids in school, YOU going to school, need another car…blah..blah…blah!! And to be totally honest, if I were not a CSRS employee, and was in the FERS system, I too would have been tempted to “borrow money from myself”, I wouldn’t of though…that’s a sucker move, like I tell my granddaughter. So understand you have…..THE ABILITY TO “ CONTROL” YOUR RETIREMENT. You have the TSP WITH MATCHING FUNDS, the more you put in the more they did, of course up to a point. In this column I get to actually see what “employee control over their retirement” does to the average postal employee, and its not good, like I say you cheap out on yourself. If I were to use a comparison of 3 employees all being of equal years….equal pay…one CSRS; ….one FERS (fully funded); …one FERS not maxing funding TSP)…I will bring you the results next month…
Much of the beginning conversations we cover, are as a result of the emails I get. I try to communicate information that you all want to know, but maybe sometimes don’t know how to ask (which is generally the case..or you don’t know the “lingo”). Many times I will say form 50 and and I will get a “duh” reaction, or I say ok, how about “Notification of Personnel Action”….if I get a “duh” there too….YOU are in trouble! Because EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU OUT THERE NEEDS TO KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS!!! The SF Form 50…IS named “Notification of Personnel Action”, they are one in the same. But you need to know WHAT that is. Its the form that is sent to you each time their is a change in money, like raises, Cola, Step’s. I even say, you know the one that has like a zillion boxes on it!! That is a form you should BE familiar with. It is a complex form, but it has EVERYTHING (pretty much) about you on that form.
NEXT UP – Health care, first quit bitchin’!! We have the best health care out there, we really do, I am amazed at the lack of understanding of this FEHB plan. Let me share a summary of a few emails, not many, but a few that have a misguided impression that when their health premiums go up in retirement, it’s due to ObamaCare. First, its the Affordable Care Act, second, when every single (non-PCES) employee retires from the postal service their health benefits have gone up to what every other CURRENT FEDERAL EMPLOYEE PAYS, which has been how it’s been…..since probably before any of us ever worked at the post office. It has NOTHING to do with any new health laws, retiree’s health care premiums have always been more than when they were an employee..Period.
EXAMPLE: Roseanne I was paying $71.43 every two weeks for my HB, and in retirement its going to cost me $190.27!!! OK DO THE MATH, that is $148.86 per month, results in an increase of $47.41 a month, or $11.85 a week, more… (yer killin’ me), get serious, 12 bucks a week more, and you are complaining!!??!!…….AND on top of that….and it’s never acknowledging the fact, you not in a $200 a month bracket insurance, your insurance costs over $600 per month, the postal service pays the other part…..you’d all better recognize….instead of critizing ….ya need to be taking NOTES!!” I may not be doing this forever now…
I know all the facets of personnel, and have worked in a variety of jobs at the postal service. So all of that goes into my answers….my understanding of rules/reg’s; union contracts, EEO, safety, which is why I know so much about retirement, but that is not all that I know, nor is it all that I write about…..but I just love retirement, its shows a completion of a career, a job well done and so keeping informed and knowing the in’s and out’s….the only way to spread information, is by taking Q & A’s and “sanitizing” them, and then publishing it the monthly magazine, or as I have done this month.
Let me say that the US Postal Service is a very complex organization, with all the trappings of a Fortune 500 Company, but under a strangle hold of being a federal organization that has to run within all federal rules/regs. Add to that, this agency has a strong (varied) union presence. And on top of that, be the ONLY FEDERAL AGENCY THAT RUNS ON IT’S OWN 2 FEET. I hope to God you understand that statement, and sad if I have to break it down even further to include the REASON- which is this federal organization stands ALONE. We are not funded by taxes as are all other federal agencies. And many times we as postal employees really forget that other federal organizations are not REQUIRED to make a profit……WE ARE. Its why we were never paid on a GS scale as other federal employees are. Our pay scale(s)… totally different. When you and other federal employees review each year their “grid” of choices for health benefits during open season, you see how the postal service has a much lower employee contribution than all other federal employees, its not even on the same sheet. All other federal employee’s health benefit contributions are on the same sheet as the postal annuitants. We are unique in so many aspects from other Fed Org’s that we are ALWAYS going to be the SQUARE peg trying to fit in a ROUND hole. That can only be done if we “shave off” some of the corners to be able to fit like all other Fed organizations…(which won’t happen) so we will remain different until a total reorganization happens…and even so we will remain a for “profit” agency. Just how “this federal organization is “structured” will always make postal employees different than any other federal employee, because of the “profit” issue. That is why we pay a lower health premiums, because no matter how “little” we profit we make, we are not an agency or employees that are paid because of federal taxes…..for all of our issues, bitches’ complaints, we are the most trusted Federal Agency out there, and that speaks VOLUMES on how the public views us. This is in response to some of the questions regarding why other agencies get “off” or are “closed”, and we don’t. We are there in Rain, Sleet, Snow, Hurricanes, Tornado’s….we postal employees we roll….we rock we are the FIRST communication organization, Oh we still complain….BUT the mail ALWAYS GETS DELIVERED! Postal employees are awesome!!
Q 1. Roseanne, I hope your daughter is doing well, and still in remission. And secondly I would like to thank you for all that you for us postal employees out there. You are the voice of reason…..you just make sense. I do have a question on taxes. I took the early out with an incentive and received that inceptive check last May for $10,000.00. Federal taxes withheld about $2,500. Net was approximately $7500. Do I have to pay more tax on this ($7,500) incentive when I file for my 2013 Federal Income Tax return. If so, it seems like a double tax on same money? Thanks again, ER
A 1. Hi ER, ALL money …..ALL money earned (via working( OR annuity or pension)(or Lump Incentive Sums)) ALL are calculated when you file your taxes for the calendar year. Each “portion” of money can (and is) calculated at different rates. Add the factor that some pensions like FERS/CSRS may not have a state tax applied, because of each state having it’s own tax issue (or not). Such as FERS/CSRS pensions will be federally taxed monthly, as does your TSP, but the TSP is taxed at a much higher rate than the FERS/CSRS (tax regulation(s)). And if you are retiring and have a “still working” spouse, even filing together, when filing joint income tax, there are differences in how the tax rate is applied to the TYPE of money it is.
In the case of the lump sum incentive seeming like a double tax…. in reality that $10G’s IS INCOME!! So too, will the $2500, be shown as “already paid” taxes on the 1099 that you should receive for that money. The 1099 should show a gross amount $10,000 with the reduced net $2500 (for taxes). The 1099 should NOT show $7500 as income. Its not double taxed. Roseanne
Q 2. Hi Roseanne, I am 57 with 27 years of service, a FERS employee that was an impacted Postmaster. I took a downgrade to a 6 hours office, just to save myself a job, and give me time to continue to bid on jobs. I am on a detail to a level 18 office, and have been since before I took the downgrade. Now this new retirement offer has come. I have given it some thought to take the offer, but I think if I work longer my retirement income will be more. If I go now, even with retirement and the supplement social security, I would have to get another job to make ends meet. Will this downgrade hurt me, even though I’m still making higher level pay. The 6 hours job is my position of record, but I am OIC at a level 18, and have not actually worked at the 6 hours office. I figure once the retirements take place, there may be some new jobs to bid on, and if I make it through January, then there might be less people applying for jobs, and I might have a better chance.
A 2. I think you should order another couple of annuity estimates. Using the early out estimate you have NOW and then request one for 3 years from now and COMPARE. The proration factor will be worse, BUT you will have 3 more years adding (& matching) TSP funds. But do the comparison. It’s the ONLY way you will see how the proration factor reduces your annuity the longer you stay at a (less than 40 hour) position. Remember its your TSP that is the “breadwinner” in a FERS retirement. Roseanne
Q 3. Hi Roseanne, I am many many years from retirement, and I overheard some coworkers talking about you – this website and your blog. I just want to know if I don’t stay at the post office, because things don’t look very good these days, and I have only been here about 11 years. I am thinking this place is a total mess, no one knows anything, and every day, your either humiliated or you feel threatened that you are not going to have a job. I’m no spring chicken, but no where near retirement. This place is like the inmates are running the asylum!!! OMG, what are my options. I did read a few of your columns from the recent past couple of months, so I know to tell you that I am FERS. My coworkers were saying that you know answers to questions that are not JUST retirement, so since no one else knows, I thought I would email you and just see if you would even answer me. My questions are, if I resign at the post office with say 11 years…do I get anything? Do I get health benefits, and how long do they last. My co workers said when they retire, they get to keep their health insurance. If I resign, will I get to do the same thing? LG
A 3. Hi LG, Your federal benefits such as health benefits, and life insurance are only funded when you are working or you “actually” retire, not when you resign. When you resign (or fired); you have the option of the COBRA, (a continuation of your current health benefit plan, but paying the ENTIRE amount. That is what you normally paid bi-weekly AND the USPS’s contribution. This is temporary, but does give you a bit of breathing room when trying to find another job with health benefits. I do realize it’s expensive, but that shows just how good this FEHB insurance is. So that cleans up that question. Let me address the phrase “blog”. I have heard that a lot. If I have one, I don’t know where it is!! I write this column for postalmag. The Rural Carrier union in North Carolina does publish the column in their union newsletter, which I had agreed to. So I really don’t know about a blog?
As a FERS employee, your “major” “$$$”component of your 3 tiered retirement plan is TSP which is “ portable”. So you can roll it over into another “401K” at another job. The second tier of your retirement is Social Security and until you reach that age there is nothing to do with that, since I assume you will find another job and continue to put into the SS fund. FERS Retirement money. That money, is shown at the bottom of your paycheck that many wonder what it is. After you resign, you can request that money, by contacting OPM (Office of Personnel Management), or going on line to opm.gov and print out the form. For a FERS employee, it would be SF 3106. Hopefully this has helped answer your questions.
Till we speak again…..Roseanne
Postal Retirement Q&A October 2014
Good Day Postal Employees!!
This month is Breast Cancer Awareness month and I would like to thank all who have prayed, shown concern and support during these past couple of years for my daughter, whose real name is actually Hope. This month is a major check up and we pray, I can come back and continue to say she is in remission. Again, Thank you All!
I have been overwhelmed this month with angry emails…I hear so many of you describing your “current status” as “sick of this $#!+” You write that the pressure to do the SAME JOB in increasingly LESS and now, even LESS time than what was “status quo” based by the rules, or regulations, or audits, insane inspections…just to name a few.
Regardless if it’s the amount of mail to be delivered in a shorter period of time, or mail sorted & distributed with LESS employees, , or having totally…as one reader described…having the MOST incompetent Supv/Mgr/PM/ in the entire district. Or one that has been moved (within the district)..or found out the NEW (Supv/Mgr/PM) was placed here because they have totally “fubar’d” in another job, district, office, plant, NDC, yea!
WHAT…REALLY!!! LIKE IS THIS NEW TO YOU???
Of course this happens….always has, always will. The screw-ups (especially EAS, the higher in level you go, they always manage to “make themselves indispensable to a “higher level” than themselves. And will do just about anything that the higher EAS employee told them to do. They wind up having so much “insider knowledge” that your every day normal, NON-SUCK-UP EAS employee does NOT. And still, being that same screwed-up EAS employee, the harder the agency has to protect them. So they move them around and around, until they retire or do something so outrageous that it makes the NEWS…ah..yes, ..then they react. Why…. because they know too much. Here is the theory I have used for years it’s TRUE. (every time it’s TRUE). When there is a “manager” that turns their head when their subordinate crosses a line, does the same incorrect thing, over and over, have EEO’s filed against them for the same reasons, just a multitude of BS that this general “screw-up” EAS employee has going on; AND WHEN THAT higher level EAS manager does NOT discipline that lower level EAS employee (suck-up)……its because that lower level EAS suck up employee has enough information to BURY that higher level EAS manager…do you hear me….EVERY TIME!! And I’ll just bet, some of you who read this column will be pissed because you know I am talking about YOU! And the other 99% that are SOLID employees, know I am right.
Q 1. Hi Roseanne, Really appreciate you taking the time to write your monthly feature. You have helped more people that you will ever know navigate retirement from the Postal Service. I took the early retirement offered to clerks in January 2013. I am 58 years old, and currently receive my FERS annuity payment as well as the FERS supplement. Due to recent health issues, I have applied for Social Security Disability – though I have not received an answer back. If approved, will I lose the FERS supplement? If awarded payment for months back when my health issues first appeared, will I be required to pay back the supplement for those months? I checked with OPM, but after waiting 32 minutes for a real person to answer – she did not seem real confident with her answer. Figure you would be a more reliable source of information. Thanks for your help. CRT
A 1. Hi CRT Yes you would lose the special supplement if approved for Social Security Disability (SSDI). WHY? Because the Special Supplement is the “bridge of $$” that carries you until you turn 62, when you are first able to collect Social Security. If you are approved for Social Security Disability then of course your “special supplement” will go stop…OR SHOULD. AND YES if awarded SSDI, those Special Supplement payments (if you were back paid SSDI for those same months that you were paid the Spec Sup), you would owe that/those Special Supplement(s) (money) payment(s) back to OPM, since OPM is the one who pays the Special Supplement. Roseanne
R 1 Thanks for your prompt response. When the lady at OPM told me I would not lose the supplement since SSDI was not “earned” income, that did not sound right to me. I expected that if approved, I would not qualify for both. Better to know up front than to be surprised after the fact.
Q 2. Hi Roseanne,.I just have a quick question, I was told by the person I requested my retirement paperwork – blue folder that in order for me to qualify for the retirement supplement I needed to have 20 year of postal service and be 60 years old is that correct or incorrect? As right now I have 32+ year combine postal and military, with only 19year 5 month credited postal work, I knew that the supplement was based on the year of credited postal work. I didn’t know it has to be 20 and be 60 years old. Your respond will be appreciated and thanks for all you do. Sincerely LP
A 2. Hi LP, As I say ALL the time, these types of answers are not “Cookie-Cutter” answers. There are far too many “sideline issues” that factor into that answer. Let me break it apart in this manner: First question, are your military years paid back? HUGE FACTOR before you can venture an answer. The issue is credible service (for RCD purposes) and credible service for ACD purposes. These dates many times are the same, mine was, my husband’s wasn’t. RCD (Retirement Computation Date) (the date that your retirement ELIGIBILITY is calculated FROM. ACD (Annuity Computation Date (the date that your ANNUITY..MONEY is calculated FROM). In most cases, (again VERY broad statement) you are paid for the postal years in the supplement, not the military, even though they are “paid back”. Every case is not the same though.
SIDEBAR: There has to be AUTHENTICITY in my answers. AND, always CLARIFICATION. Some questions that have answers (for THAT specific PERSON) may NOT be the same answer for the “masses”. In certain cases, it would only confuse many of you, this is one of those cases. This is a NO “ONE Size Fits All answer”.
Q 3. Hi Roseanne, I am a carrier with an RCD of 12/12/2017. My husband is a retired EAS employee (Postmaster). I have always carried health insurance for our family since we were married 28 years ago. I continued to carry it for my husband and myself when he retired. He was recently told that when I retire it would be cheaper if we both took the “self only” option. I was under the impression that since he has not carried FEHB personally for so long, that I would have to cover him into retirement. Please clear this up for me. Thanks for all that you do. CJ
A 3. Hi CJ, That is totally incorrect thinking and information “was under the impression that since he has not carried FEHB personally for so long, that I would have to cover him into retirement.
He has carried FEHB, (regardless if you were the one that was paying the premium out of your check. Your husband has FEHB “rights” under his OWN federal employment and his own federal retirement. He has MET the criteria of being “covered under FEHB for more than 5 years prior to retirement:” Depending on which year your husband retired, you can look on the copy of his retirement paperwork and see if it has as the last page of Health Benefits Information Sheet attached. That sheet shows that HE is COVERED UNDER YOU, WITH YOUR NAME AND EIN NUMBER. Again depending on when he retired if this form was in the Big Blue Retirement Booklet. In this case, during open season just change to single-single. Roseanne
Q 4. In your Sept. Q & A column, you said “Rumors spreading they are trying to get rid of CSRS employees………..” I am a level 18 CSRS postmaster and will be over several RMPOs beginning Oct. 1. I have submitted my retirement paperwork to be effective Oct. 3 of this year. My question is has there been any discussion of offering an incentive to retire for the CSRS employees. I would hate to go out next month and then they offer an incentive to retire after I have already left. Any thoughts? I would appreciate a quick response due to only having four weeks left of work. Thanks so much in advance.
A 4. I would retire. I did WITHOUT THE STINKNG INCENTIVE… (and KNEW that the same Early Out Offer for EAS was coming several months later with a $20,000 incentive….and I still left. Be grateful…my sanity was still intact when I left so that I can help postal employees through the maze of the “bad juju world” of BS postal information. The incentive is the PO’s assurance that you are going to retire, because you cannot RETRACT the paperwork by the COB on THE last day…because you signed the irrevocability statement. Under normal retirement conditions, you have until the close of business (COB) on the date that you have selected as your retirement date. But I wouldn’t recommend pushing the envelope that far. You’re CSRS, you got a great retirement….stop being greedy for God’s sake retire….Roseanne
Q 5. Hi Roseanne , thank you for everything you do helping out with these postal retirement questions. My question is… I’m 51 and have 21 years in the post office. I have 8 yrs in the military and almost paid my (military buy back) back. The post office gives us the end of year statement and according to that I can retire at 56 but I’m hearing that my military time doesn’t count unless I have 30 years active in the postal service. Is that true ? I was hoping by 56 I would have 34 years federal time towards my retirement all together. I have no idea what I’m looking at as far as a monthly check but I’m currently contributing 11% into the thrift savings and have roughly $200,000. I started late for all the reasons you yell at people for haha. I’m going to go the full amount within 2 yrs and hope that helps with padding that amount. I am a disabled veteran and get a VA check with hopes that it can supplement my postal check. Any information on any of this would greatly be appreciated. DM
A 5. Thank you very much for those words!! There is so MUCH misunderstanding about FERS, still. And Great Job!! (to your TSP total). First, if you are FERS, and I am assuming you are, your military DOES count towards your retirement computation (military time that is FULLY PAID BACK) + postal YEARS are added together. Then the sick leave is added to give you your OVERALL years and months of service. SO THEY COUNT (the military bought back time for your FERS annuity/pension). What does NOT count is your military time (those 8 years) in the computation of the special supplement, (provided your retire at MRA+30 years or age 60 with at least 20 years of service).
BUT IN YOUR CASE, what you are actually looking at is NOT AN OPTIONAL RETIREMENT ANNUITY ESTIMATE, what you are really looking at is an MRA+10 ANNUITY ESTIMATE, I realize that is very very misleading and has caused many employees to retire (thinking BECAUSE the estimate says OPTIONAL) that it really is for an “optional” retirement, when in fact it is the MRA+10 retirement. That “reduced” retirement has serious reductions, all over the place….1. YOU DON’T QUALIFY FOR THE SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT, and 2. Your annuity is reduced 5% for each year you are under 62….GET A CALCULATOR….DO THE MATH!! Looking at your TSP, and no doubt a Spec Supplement check of around $693. per month, until you turn 62, and then the supplement stops and your SS begins. As far as the TSP….you are looking good!….and remember I SEE a lot of “balances” in TSP, so GREAT job there!! In two years – you should be in VERY good shape, hell, you’re in good shape now going towards retirement. Don’t retire unless you either have an Early Out VERA (1.You are NOT penalized the 5% for each year you are under 62, and if you retire at your MRA you WILL get the special supplement. And if NOT YET at your MRA, you will receive when your reach your MRA. This on an EARLY OUT VERA, and if NOT at your MRA, you will when you reach your MRA. Roseanne
Q 6.Hi Roseanne! Just saw this on Facebook. I am a city letter carrier on FERS. I am more or less going to be forced into disability retirement due to a work comp approved claim, due to an on the job injury. I have already requested & received my annuity estimate. My question …… what is the process for disability retirement? Does it make the process any faster or slower since it is a work comp injury?
A 6. Well “forced“ screams OWCP and the PO, to me. Being on OWCP (or not), takes the same time for the OPM physicians to review your medical documentation, as any other employee. In your case, since you have been approved with the Dept. of Labor & with a work-related illness/injury, I am SURE your case and medical is WELL documented. Most of your work is done, you just have to ensure you have updated medical information and your medical condition is the same or worse since your last updated medical. Additionally you are no doubt on the PERIODIC rolls (receiving $$, but not working), then you (from what you stated in your email), then approval seems good. Roseanne
R 6 .Thank you so much for responding so quickly, and for the information. I have heard that OPM is usually the hold up. Yes I am on the periodic rolls so hopefully I will get approved.
Thank you again.
Q 7. Dear Roseanne – First, I want to thank you for sharing your wisdom and experience with those of us who are desperately trying to stay afloat in the perilous waters of the USPS. I have become much more knowledgeable from reading your articles and always look forward to the next article. I hope that you can shed some light on my situation. Been with the PO for 25+years. A little less than 20 years ago I suffered a compound fracture that needed immediate surgical repair. I now have severe complications, as a result of that surgery, and the pain is becoming unbearable. My doctor is the same one that performed the initial surgery. My physician’s recommended treatment is to now have this additional surgery and with a permanent reduction in mobility, I see no way that I will be able to perform the duties of my job. The problem is that I cannot convince my doctor of this. I would most appreciate any help or advice that you could give. I don’t know if you have the time or what your policy is on personal responses, but due to some of my personal info, I would appreciate it if you could e mail me your reply. If that isn’t possible I understand. Again, thank you so much for being there for all of us ! God bless you and yours !
A 7. Hi, All answers are sanitized…..YES you are eligible, and most definitely should file for disability retirement. Call HRSSC at 1-877-477-3273, and request the disability annuity estimate AND the disability blue retirement booklet. That FIRST “booklet’ has your job description and Qual standards that are included in the back. Bring those two sheets to your physician (and make copies for all of your doctors in fact), that can support this statement “You are unable to do the job (for which you were hired) and the Post Office cannot or will not give you an accommodation based upon your medical restrictions”…. Your job duties are defined on BOTH those two sheets (in the back of the FIRST…yes that means you will get a SECOND Blue Retirement Booklet. Your physician should be YOUR advocate, not your adversary!!!..just sayin’
But that is your starting point…this is a long process, but doable….WORD OF ADVISE: Don’t BS around too long with this….get right ON IT. Don’t take short cuts, when it comes to the medical information (THAT IS WHAT YOU ARE BEING APPROVED ON!!) DO WHAT you have to do & what is required to be approved. Disability Retirement is part of your “benefit” package.
The only thing that would change that statement above is if….you are over age 60. If you are (with having 20+yrs) then are “eligible” to retire NOW, and therefore NOT eligible for the Disability Retirement “computation(s)”, which are “incredibly DIFFERENT than regular or even early out retirement. Call them to get this process started. Roseanne
Till we speak again………. Roseanne
Postal Retirement Q&A November 2014
Good Day Postal Employees!!
This is the actual un-sanitized email….(which I am able to do since this employee did not identify any postal facility, zip code, etc. that would single them out). How many times do I say that OPM does a GREAT job considering they handle EVERY SINGLE FEDERAL EMPLOYEE’S (meaning not just Postal) retirement, disability retirement, and early out retirement. And the berating of this agency is so unwarranted!!! Retirement is NOT their only function!! OPM rocks!! In all my columns, I try to communicate that message. The VOLUME of work that this agency is responsible for is massive, and if the retirement is done correctly, the turn around time is IMPRESSIVE!!
First let me say that you are a Beacon of Light to us all tossing about in the dark ocean of postal and bureacratic red tape.
The date, as of this writing is Oct 24, 2014. You and maybe a few employees might find my experience interesting:
1. Aug 31, 2014, Retired from USPS, Retail Window Clerk
2. Sep 15, 2014, Picked up last paycheck, Annual Leave cashout included, at my home office (final check is NOT direct deposited).
3. Sep 20, 2014, received from OPM, by mail, temporary password I can use to access my account at “www.servicesonline.opm.gov”
4. Sep 22, 2014, received from USPS Accounting Service Center, by mail, advise that my retirement record have been sent to OPM.
5. Sep 23, 2014, received from OPM, by mail, my CSA number, which together with the temporary password allowed me access to my OPM account online.
6. Oct 1, 2014, my first Interim Pay was direct deposited ( about 60%).
7. Oct 9, 2014, (based on OPM online information) my case was assigned to a Specialist “for calculation of (my) annuity benefits”
8. Oct 17, 2014, (based on OPM online information) my case was “finalized and will receive (my) personalized benefits booklet (bluebook?)within 2-3 weeks”.
9. Oct 21, 2014, (based on OPM online information) my “Annuity Statement, for pay period ending 11/1/2014”, itemizing following amounts: (a) my regular annuity, (b) FERS supplement, (c) health plan premium, (d) life insurance premium.
10. Oct 22, 2014, OPM direct deposited my “Adjustment Payment” (addition to Interim Pay for the month of October).
11. Oct 23, 2014, received from OPM, by mail, what my monthly FERS Supplement will be.
12. Nov 1, 2014, right now I am waiting for this date when I will get my first regular annuity and suplement.
It seems like the entire process will take only 2 months from start to finish! Perhaps because I was a career employee for 30 yrs from hiring to retirement, with no service breaks or military and interagency “complications”. I was prepared for a somewhat long ordeal after reading what others went through. But what a surprise. Kudos to the OPM ! Best of luck to everyone,
Q 1. Hi Roseanne,
I have a question concerning retirement. I am 40 years old with 20 years seniority. I will be 50 when I have my 30 years. My MRA is not 50. How much will I be penalized in I retire at 50 with 30 years? Making it 10 more years with the PO is going to take a miracle for me. I just want to know what my options are. Thank you so much.
A. 1 Hi, I hate to bust your bubble, but when you turn 50 and have 30 years you still are not eligible to retire, therefore discussing a penalty is a moot issue, you can’t retire. Your “MRA is not 50” and no one else’s is either. Your MRA is either 56 or 57 (depending on what year you were born). That being said, 30 years +, has no bearing. If you understand what MRA means….it means…MINIMUM Retirement Age, meaning not before 56/57, and your years have no bearing until you reach the Minimum age, unless an early out VERA is offered. If an early out VERA was offered, it would give you the ability to retire with any age and 25+ years. In your case, today, and without an early out the soonest you can retire is at your MRA, and you will just have more than 30 years, which by the way is TYPICAL. Roseanne
Q 2. Good morning, I am an EAS 17 and hate it. With all of the changes in the PO is it possible to go back to the clerk or carrier craft? Thank you, LD.
A.2 Of course, and happens ALL the time. I bet everyone out there reading this column knows someone in their district who has went back to the craft. For you to even ask if you could (AND you are currently EAS) and could only find ME to answer that question screams COULDN’T SOMEONE AT YOUR DISTRICT LABOR RELATIONS answer this??? (It is such an incredibly simple question and answer) that you had to write ME…wow! NOW understand this…I didn’t say that they would honor the request, or even that they HAD to (although they usually do…it’s not good business to keep someone in the EAS ranks that does not want to be there and is willing to go back to the craft). I said it is done all the time. There are NO rules or regulations that stop you from requesting a downgrade, or a request to go back to the craft. AND there are no rules and regulations that stop this from being approved. If this is what you really want, then request this in writing to your DISTRICT Manager. Bypass all the other levels above you. BUT, if this is some kind of “power play” I can guarantee YOU, this will affect you (DO YOU HEAR ME!!!) the rest of your career. So be sure, this is what you want to do. I am sure your district is just “jonez-en” for an EAS spot to put some loser EAS employee in. Roseanne
Hi Roseanne I read your column every month and either this question has not been asked or I have overlooked it. I hope it has a simple answer and also one that I can like! LoL! I am a FERS employee. No military time. I will have 30 years service as of 11/15/15. I will be 57 on this date. My question is… Once I retire on 2/16, can I roll my tsp over into a private annuity without a penalty? I’ve heard for so many years the age of 59.5! I will have 500,000 (give or take) as my balance in tsp! I just don’t think I can live comfortably on the fers retirement and supplement alone. If I left out any pertinent info, please let me know. Thanks in advance R.
A3. Hi R, So to begin yes you can roll that money that is in TSP to another “financial vehicle” without a penalty being assessed on that money. And YES, of course, you can live MORE than comfortably with TSP included with your – FERS – Spec Supp/Social Security…OMG its 45% of your RETIREMENT INCOME…ITS SUPPOSED TO!!!!!!!. If you will have that type of money in TSP as stated, why would you want to do that….move that money to another financial vehicle when it is part of your retirement….not money to pay off a house, or money to send a grandchild to college ….its part of your retirement and you should use it as it was designed, and that is a portion of your retirement income. YER KILLIN’ ME!!! Roseanne
THREE MONTHS LATER .. Thank you for your response. I’ve been pondering your answer all this while to ask for further clarification on reasons to leave my money in TSP. I have asked several former & present coworkers about their plans for their TSP. EVERYONE will or has moved out of TSP with the same reason…they don’t trust the federal govt!! Is this a valid fear? I’d truly like to hear your point of view on this. Other questions I have are 1] At my death, what becomes of the remaining balance of my TSP account? I want assurance that my sole heir receives all monies I have worked 30 years for, less what I have needed for my own purposes. 2] After retirement, will I be allowed to choose the funds my money is invested in & can I still manage it electronically? 3] Unrelated to retirement, please state your opinion on the FLTCIP. I plan to buy this type coverage & am beginning to comparison shop.
Is there a website or publication that gives clear, definitive answers to questions about TSP AFTER RETIREMENT. I have found tons of advice about TSP BEFORE RETIREMENT.
The low-cost administration fees of the TSP is the one advantage I am aware of in keeping my money in TSP after retirement. I’m asking you to enlighten me on all other advantages.
Godspeed to you & Hope with her checkup this month.
Last Roseanne Response: Ya KNOW…. the amazing part of this dilemma is the total lack of understanding, over this ONE POINT….YOU CONTROL IT ALL….ALL of you do. But you are so confused using nothing more than mangled pieces of disinformation and converse with each other….who also, don’t know jack$#it. BUT THANK YOU…BECAUSE IF I AM MAKING YOU FOLKS TALK, OUT THERE, THEN MORE of you will take a an active participation in learning about your retirement. Now, the million $ question…did you really read the TSP booklet? I mean REALLY read the TSP 2 booklet. You see that is THE PROBLEM. WE want everyone else to do it for us. I keep telling you….this is not a one-size fits all!!!
You are all so concerned with worrying about not trusting the government (with your money as you say (as it relates to TSP)), but not concerned enough to read the booklet, that explains the why’s, and about this money. No – you’d all rather sit in a break room and piss and moan about what’s wrong, rather than OPENING up the book(s) and reading it. Why do I know so much….I WAS YOU TOO!!!! Meaning a postal employee…not meaning I didn’t understand my retirement. I understood my retirement the day I was hired. Why do I know so much..it was my job to FIND FLAWS in every and anything related to HR and most specifically personnel matters. And I get the “concern” about leaving your money in the government, I don’t agree, but I hear this all the time. WHEN do you realize we ARE the government…by the people, for the people….if you don’t like what is going on then vote this election. But just like opening up that TSPBK-2, you won’t do that either….you will just bitch and moan in the break rooms…………….Roseanne
So let me relate a retirement this week…this employee has around 450 G in TSP (for all of you out there, that amount of money is NOT TYPICAL in a postal employee’s TSP fund) (side note…employee also inherited 450G too). When we were discussing “combining” the two amounts. I came out and asked, what amount of money did the person at Annuities R US/ CharlesSchwab/ MetLife/ StanleyMorgan (whatever annuity company the employee selected for the “inheritance”) “earn” by YOU rolling this 450G over to their financial vehicle. The postal employee said I don’t know exactly, but my financial “advisor” told me he charged ONLY 5%. I asked “do you know the exact amount of money that the “broker” made?” The response was ”no, but I know I still have 95% of my money”. I was floored, really… because that was 22,000+ that the employee was OK with just blowing that money off, had no idea of the total. And maybe when you have that much of an inheritance, perhaps that 22G’s are a drop in the bucket, and that is fine too….but at least KNOW and understand what you are doing and why. I say that because many don’t realize every time you do that, roll money over with any financial vehicle, there is a fee, sometimes a very hefty percentage. YOU COULDN’T HAVE POSSIBLY THOUGHT THAT THEY DO THIS FOR FREE DO YOU!!!
So the next issue is the annuity versus a TSP monthly payment. An annuity is based on the IRS life expectancy table…(all are). They give you more than what you would get if you simply divided the TOTAL amount you have in TSP by the number of IRS expected “months” left to live. That calculation should be your “figured” TSP Monthly Payment. This WOULD allow that money to go you your beneficiary, should you pass away.
When you PURCHASE any annuity (from ANY annuity vehicle), you SELL it to that financial vehicle…so your $$ is not in the government anymore (as perceived) if you purchase an annuity with your TSP money. It does, however stay in the TSP fund if you do the monthly payment set up (versus an annuity). If my retirement plan was FERS, I would opt for the TSP monthly payment, (which by the way YOU also get to determine what you want your monthly payment to be)…AND when it runs out, it runs out… However, KEEP IN MIND….YOU need to make sure that you have (at LEAST) that TSP money broken into a minimum 120 payments (10 years) or you will suffer a penalty. YOU NEED to be strategic on this part of your retirement. So you wanted my opinion, there it is on that. Another tip almost everyone has a cell phone, and typically, it has a calculator on it USE IT…..SERIOUSLY.
And the follow up on the FLTCIP, I felt was very expensive and both my husband and I chose not to take this out. I did not feel the premiums were affordable, when I looked into it (several years ago). I felt (as I said at the time) that the premiums while working, are manageable, however decided later it would not be economical to carry into retirement. So naturally one would cancel the policy when they retired…and that is wasted money…nah. That is NOT to say that FLTCIP is not a good or a wise investment, it may work perfect for you, I said we choose not to….again, nothing is a one-size fits all…. Roseanne
Q 4. Hi Roseanne I am a janitor at the PO and I have been out of work since the beginning of 2012. I have had two surgeries and am still in serious pain. I am FERS and have been with the PO for 18 years and I will turn 62 in May, and plan to retire then. My question is should I wait till I am all better and off OWCP to retire or take a disability retirement. Thank you so much for being there for people with difficult questions.
A 4. In all seriousness, I would say just wait until you reach age 62. To get a disability retirement approval, takes patience and time. If you’re eligible to retire in May, I would just wait. There is going to be no real financial advantage, to filing for disability retirement because once you turn 62, the disability retirement is re-calculated again using your precise years and months of service. Additionally disability retirement has to be approved, by the time the approval comes in, it would be no doubt beyond your 62nd birthday….so just retire in May, there is no approval needed, because you are eligible. Roseanne
Busy month, Hope is still in remission and that we are thankful for. Those 2 FERS vs CSRS retirement figures will have to be put off for another month. But I will get that info to you, as some of you really wanted to see it side by side in black and white. BUT keeping in mind that the FERS folks have total control over their money versus CSRS having NO control.
Till we speak again………………Roseanne
Postal Retirement Q&A December 2014
Good Day Postal Employee’s and a very Merry Christmas, and Joyous Holiday Season to you all and your families.
During this season of good will and gratitude, I feel to the need to share my heartfelt thanks for the prayers and kind words of support, many of you have offered, and the sharing of “your family stories” with me over the past couple of years. As I have shared family struggles with our daughter Hope, and her Stage 3 Breast Cancer, I felt it was important for you all to know, that the uplifting messages, asking how she is doing and knowing simply, she is being prayed for, is the boost I need to get right back into that level of appreciation for what I have, and the progress she has made so far. And not focusing on the negative, because we all have negative issues in life, no one is immune to that. So once again thank you!!!
I actually begin this column in a very good place….holiday speaking… this year!!! Along with doing retirements across the country myself, I have been able to enjoy my favorite holiday, (and you will too when you retire). With as many many grandchildren and great grandchildren that I have, I feel pretty accomplished this year. I am about 90% completed with gift purchase; those ordered are delivered to my home. On-line shopping comes in handy, and can be a BOOST to our agency, if you make the conscious choice to purchase with a vendor that uses the Postal Service FIRST, versus going the Brown/EX , then the Non USPS package, gets a “hitch” on our USPS back, using OUR carriers to go “where no others will go….our letter carriers…you all rock!!! I will many times, as I am ordering….if I don’t see the USPS as a choice in mailing….I don’t order from them, and I actually send them an email and tell them WHY I didn’t order from them….”you did NOT offer the USPS as a choice in mailing, and because of that, I am ordering with another company that does use USPS exclusively. Maybe if we as postal employees (and retiree’s) used that we COULD MAKE A DIFFERENCE, we as a group of postal retirees ARE MASSIVE, AND COLLECTIVELY, WE CAN MAKE A CHANGE.
As the packages come in, they get wrapped, then make an immediate turn around after all the holiday paper and trimmings, gets placed into the “mailing box”, and off to the PO for mailing. It makes me remember how crazy life was when the monumental task of hiring hundreds…upon hundreds of casual for Christmas work.
Hell after almost 32 years of Christmas’, & of being totally insane EACH year, this year was a real treat!! Of course, how else could you do something like this every year, and I mean year after year after year…and not be insane. My YEARLY CHRISTMAS COMMENT WAS ALL THE TIME…”ya know Christmas didn’t sneak up on you….It’s always the same time EVERY YEAR!!!” BUT NO they wait…and wait…and discuss, re-discuss, have a meeting or two or eight, and now it’s October, and they just still don’t have what you in personnel need to hire these casuals. Then finally after constant emails….”give me the numbers, times you want them and where”…its closing in on Halloween now. Even so, with all the BS, finally give you a figure – YOU know damn well IS GOING to change. And then the next issue…OK I got the (final BS) total number of what you want hired, now “WHAT TIME DO YOU WANT THEM to report” AND “WHERE DO YOU WANT THEM to work”?
UH OH, SHUT the FRONT DOOR…, now its time for the rubber to meet the road. This is where, you know who has the “juice”. The “juice” is when you as an employee KNOW your job. Today, many of the EAS employees are, let me say as kindly as I can, “green”. However, some have been “green” for too many years, and they come under the category of LOSER. If you follow my column, you know I mention every so often about the LOSER EAS employees that we have….and we do. So if you are EAS, don’t get your drawers/panties in an bunch, if I ain’t talking about you….you CERTAINLY KNOW EAS employees that I AM talking about. So when you need to hire mass numbers of casuals, those numbers should reflect close to WHAT YOU DID LAST YEAR!!..AT LEAST that should be your beginning game plan. MY LINE FOR YEARS to District Management “Christmas comes “generally” the same time ever year (“DUH”), that the plan should be very close to the same PLAN (that you worked on for months LAST YEAR!!!.). Now just throw in the “hiring kettle” some ambiguous number like 475 (Christmas casuals). Yea I would say that a lot….Christmas comes the same time every year…they used to look at me very confused, like “why does she always say that”. (I guess because its a FACT!!)
SO now what is required…Hire 475 (you know that number is gonna change 6 or 7 times fer sure). NOW, find 475+ people that want to work for 3 or 4 weeks, (or maybe only 2 weeks); at begin tour times that are impossible for EVERY ONE OTHER than us POSTAL EMPLOYEES..…well you know… (and many don’t realize that they will get paid after Christmas)). These 475+ must be drug free and no criminal record in the last 10 years; AND work for our agency that has no tolerance for a personal life of their career employees, let alone the casuals. WHERE DO YOU FIND THAT? IN WHAT CITY DO YOU FIND THAT?? OH YEA BABY….that critieria….they lining up at the door…..NOT!!!! OH wait….did we not tell you yesterday…..Area wants us to “do a HUB” so were gonna need about 80-100 more…but just hang on, don’t do anything yet, because Area may put the HUB in another city/state…….and that is why I B CRAZY today!!
Q 1.Roseanne, Several questions:
1. I’m CSRS EAS and planning on retiring at the end of this December or early January. I know that the first 3 days of the month are good, but that puts me in the middle of week 1 of a pay period. Is there any reason I shouldn’t have my last day of work 12/26? This is the last day of the pay period.
2. Since I wouldn’t receive my terminal leave check until sometime in the mid to end of January period would this income be taxed for 2014 or 2015 tax year?
3. I currently have approximately 640 hours of AL. I know my max carryover is 560 hours but if I retire prior to the new leave year will my terminal check reflect my actual hours (640) or the just the max carryover of 560? JB
A 1. Hi JB, In all the retirements that I have done which employees want to retire at the end of the year, I have suggested that the employees date their retirement for 12/26/14. That dates just makes SENSE, its the end of a pay period. I know CSRS can go up to the 3rd of the month, but just because you can, doesn’t mean its a good financial move, and it really isn’t in this case. And question #2, you should be able to collect all of your Earned Annual Leave, (as you are EAS). Question 3. As far as TAXES it depends WHERE (what year) EAGAN lists this money on your W2, I have seen it both ways…the annual leave check paid (in January), has been listed for the former year (2014) and I have also seen annual leave paid out in January that did not show until the following year W-2 (for 2015). Roseanne
Q 2. Hi Roseanne, I have just been approved for disability retirement. I’m 60 so I won’t be getting the 60%. I know that I can choose to stay on workers comp rather than take the retirement. I’ve been on limited duty for the past year with PO paying 4 hours and WC paying four. What I need to know is this…if I choose WC will I get the FULL 8 hours or just the 4 hours I’ve been getting for a year? I hope you can help, I have decide by tomorrow (and human resources called me at 4:45 today…) whether to switch to a “normal” retirement. Thanks so much for any help you can give me! B
A 2. Unfortunately, I had no internet service for the past 4 days, so I apologize about not getting back with you. But how could you decide THIS without them telling you or showing you what your monthly annuity would begin at. How do you just “accept” that? I have no more information, that what you have given me, and its really not even enough for me to give an opinion. There needs to be more facts before anyone could possibly tell you what to do. Roseanne
Q 3. Hi Roseanne… Can you clarify following question? If a FERS Postal employee(Bargaining) retires with 600 hrs annual leave on books, will this be paid in lump-sum or is this limited to 440hrs at any time during year??? Thanks in advance… Anonymous
A 3. Hi Anonymous, The max payable is 440 for craft, in scenario provided. Roseanne
Q 4. Hello Roseanne, I am very glad to hear about your daughter! You have answered several questions for me in the past. I have one for you: My RCD and ACD dates are: 02/28/2006. I am a FERS employee. I did the the annuity estimate online and my questions are: 1. I would like to retire February 1, 2015, actually it would be February 6, 2015). 2. My computation says I would have: 8 years, 11 months and 21 days. 3. Would it be a major difference in anything if I waited until March 1, 2015 and would definitely have a full 9 years, and 22 days ? 4. I figured it would be a maybe 5.00 a month less in my monthly annuity if I retire on February, 6, 2015 rather then March 1st. And last question: When I call HR about submitting my retirement package, do I need to give them full 3 months notice and have them figure it as say: Feb. 6, 2015 would be my last day? Thank you so much, C.
A 4. Hi Cindy, it isn’t the best move to retire on the sixth of any month. By retiring on the Sixth of the ANY month, you give up one entire month of annuity payment. You need to retire the end of February in order to maximize this retirement plan, as a FERS employee. As a CSRS employee, they can retire on the 1st, 2nd or 3rd of the month and still be eligible for an annuity that same month….FERS does NOT work the same way. They DONT need 6 months!! That’s BS. You really can retire anytime you want. You can retire on the sixth if you want I’m just telling you it’s a better move to retire at the end of February. The 6 months that HRSSC needs is really for their scheduling employees on the “retirement counseling line”. With as many employees that the postal service has, and the “phone retirement session”, which is conducted with several employees on a “group” counseling line, requires HRSSC to have this span of 6 months for scheduling those employees who want to retire. But the 6 months is strictly for that reason and that reason only. Regulations say that you can put in your retirement paperwork on the day you want to retire. Regulations also state that you can withdraw your retirement paperwork up until the close of business (5pm) on the DAY you selected. NOW why anyone who is going to pull their retirement paperwork and wait until the final hour is just plain stupid. However, as always, there is a qualifier (because you know, this column gets read by ahem’ some employees “scouring” to find something wrong or incorrect about what I write), the qualifier is EXCEPT under early out conditions, when you sign the Statement of Irrevocability that is a done deal and you cannot pull the retirement paperwork. Roseanne
Q 5. Hello Roseanne, Thank you for reading this in advance. I’m not sure if this is the right place to ask my question but I figured if it wasn’t, then you could possibly lead me in the right direction…My wife and I after 35 years of marriage have decided we can no longer live together… We both agree this is the best option. I’m 62 years old, been a rural carrier (CSRS/offset) since 1977 (10 plus years as a sub, 27 plus as a regular) with NO immediate plans to retire…right now. Retiring is NOT an option, so here is my question: Since a divorce is inevitable, does she have to wait until I actually retire before she can get any portion of my monthly annuity or can the judge grant her a monetary reward from my retirement account ‘before’ I actually call it quits? any help would be greatly appreciated regarding this matter. Thank you, TR
A 5. Hi TR, IF divorce is inevitable, does she have to wait until I actually retire before she can get any portion of my monthly annuity or can the judge grant her a monetary reward from my retirement account ‘before’ I actually call it quits.
> In your question, there are so many variations of this answer….First, where you live has a lot to do with this, and the divorce laws in your particular state. Here in North Carolina for example, there MUST be a Separation Agreement, and after that agreement is signed, both parties have to live apart for 1 year, and then the divorce is granted. AND….what was agreed to in the Separation Agreement becomes the divorce agreement. Federal Law (as it relates to your federal position, and your federal job/benefits says that if you are married for more than 9 months, your are required to provide a spousal annuity, should you pre-decease your spouse. The spouse has the ability to sign “off” (via the Notorized Statement contained within the retirement paperwork) on forfeiting a spousal annuity; OR less than the 50% that is the law. When federal employee’s divorce, they get a really good attorney. If divorcing, the ex-postal spouse, (if granted by the judge in your divorce case, a portion of your spousal annuity) she will receive an annuity WHEN (same time) you retire….versus, when you would pass away. UNLESS YOU ARE GOING TO try to negotiate these types of issues with your spouse and your respective attorney’s. If that is the case as stated above, be prepared to receive HALF of what you think your annuity should be, if you divorce and the judge grants the ex-spouse half of your retirement. FYI: If you are in TSP….same thing applies. Roseanne
> Q 6.Very informative and very funny! Thanks Roseanne! You made my day here at the Bulk Mail Entry Unit. Only 5 months until
> I retire!!!!
> A 6. Thank YOU!! I do try to add some humor to this K -RAZY organization. Roseanne
> Q 7. Hi Roseanne, I am a retired and have Medicare part B, as does my spouse. Also I kept the lower option of health plan which costs me $299 a month, I think. I heard that you had addressed these insurance questions in one of your blogs. I cannot decide to cancel Medicare and just go with the federal plan or cancel the federal plan and add a Medicare advantage plan. I feel that I am over-insured now? Any advice or directions to one of your previous blogs. Thanks DR
> A 7. HI DR, I think this would be much better explained if I send you the link to the booklet that shows how Medicare and Federal Employees Health Benefit Programs….works…together. Be concerned with page 6, top line….here is the link:
Once you read that yourself… I think you will come to the same conclusion I do. HOWEVER, you are already on Medicare Part B, and I have NO idea of how old you are, how long you have been retired, your spouse’s age…all that has a huge effect on what you do. In your case…..since you already have Medicare Part B, and no idea of how long you have been on Medicare Part B….you may be what I always say…..there re no “cookie cutter” retirements, all have differences. What I say to one, may not be exactly what I say to another (similarly situated employee). If I were you, I would check on HOW MUCH each of your “medicare “Supplement” insurance” will cost for both you and your spouse. See if the cost of those two separate supplements cost more than $150.00 each. If they do, then probably keeping the FEHB is in your best interest, because with out it, you have NO PRESCRIPTION drug coverage, again, unless you pick up a Medicare supplement. Roseanne
MERRY MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL………..Till we speak again…….Roseanne