Roseanne is a retired USPS employee with an extensive background in USPS retirement, disability retirement, OWCP, EEO, Labor Relations and HR. She conducts individual and group counseling and is able to comprehensively discuss the pros and cons of employees who are on OWCP, disability retirement and regular retirement. Roseanne will be happy to answer your postal retirement questions. Contact Roseanne at Click here for prior Q&As and Click here for Q&As prior to July 2014.

Good Day Postal Employees!!

SADDLE UP…Here are some of the questions YOU have asked me this month!!

Q 1. Hi Roseanne, I will be retiring as a FERS employee on August 31, 2017 at age 59 with 24 years of service. I am unable to work to age 60 due to health reasons. I have called HR several times with the following questions and get a different answer each time. I read the information on the website, then call HR for clarification or to make sure I understand correctly what I have read. Each time I call I get a slightly different answer. Questions are:

1. Does the 5% reduction per year in my annuity (total 15%) continue for life or does it disappear when I turn age 62? I have been told yes once and no twice!

2. Does my annuity estimate include this reduction or do I need to subtract 15% from my estimated annuity? I have been told I must subtract 15% from the annuity estimate until age 62, then the reduction disappears and my annuity will increase; I have been told I must subtract the 15% from my estimate and then that is what my annuity will be for life; and also I have been told the annuity estimate already includes the 5% per year reduction and will remain that amount for life.

3. Do I get the supplement at age 60 and continue to receive it until age 62 or will I be ineligible? I have been told yes I get it and no I don’t. I have also been told it is already in my estimated annuity.

4. Can I file for disability retirement AFTER I have retire? I have been told yes, then told no, and then told it would depend on my disability.

This is what I understand the rules to be, please tell me if I am correct.

1. The 5% reduction per year in my annuity continues for life.
2. The annuity estimate already includes the 5% per reduction and that is the estimated amount for life.
3. I do not get the supplement.
4. I have up to 1 year after retirement to file for Disability retirement.

Any clarification would be greatly appreciated. Thank You. Confused Letter Carrier

A 1. Hi Confused Letter Carrier I will attempt to answer each question individually.

1. No, the 5% reduction remains in effect forever. So NO when you turn 62 it is NOT recalculated….it will always and forever…be reduced by the 5% for each year.

2. The annuity estimate will generally have the reduction already calculated, and touching back on the first question, yes the reduction lasts for life.

3. You do receive the supplement IF YOU ARE QUALIFIED!! BUT WITH THESE TWO TOP QUESTIONS, IT SCREAMS – NOT QUALIFIED. WHY, because you are filing for an MRA+10 retirement, and not full retirement. So no, you are not going to be eligible for the Special Supplement if you retire at age 59 with 24 years of service, again, because that is NOT full eligibility. So the question, how long it (the supplement) will last, is moot. Because it’s NOT applicable to you, if you retire when you say you are retiring at age 59 with 24 years of service.

4. NO you cannot file for disability retirement AFTER you have retired. Why would you? By the time the disability retirement got approved, you would be eligible for full retirement. Because of this, the approval process is NO WALK IN THE PARK, anywhere from 3-9 months. Keep in mind, a disability retirement, must be approved by a panel of physicians at OPM. So, if that’s the plan, I would say, you should stay until age 60. Better stated, OPM is NOT going to convert you over to disability AFTER you reach age 60, with more than 20 years, because – THEN you ARE eligible for full retirement. It’s a bad plan! It borders on “you can” (based on the retirement rules) but my experience tells me, won’t happen. Again why, “once you become eligible for immediate/optional retirement, then you are NOT eligible for disability retirement.

This however, is your call. I am just sharing with you the time frames and the “walk” of a “disability retirement”. Hopefully this has put to rest the issues you have. Roseanne

Response 1. Thank you so much for answering my questions the last time. I appreciate it very much. I have just a couple more questions. I will be 57 this August. I will have 24 years of service on August 3, 2017, (my service compensation date is also August 3). I have been using sick leave and annual leave since February of this year due to arthritis in my hands. I am physically unable to work until I am 60 and understand I will lose the social security supplement, and will be penalized 5% per year regarding my pension for a total of 15%. I am OK with all of that. I started the retirement process the end of February and wanted to retire earlier, but Human Resources could not get me a retirement counseling session until July 15, 2017. They then said I had to give them time to complete my paperwork. So I come to you, to answer my questions, and they are as follows:

I planned to retire on August 31, 2017, but will more than likely have to take LWOP for the last two weeks, as I will be out of annual and sick leave. Would I be better off retiring August 4th to ensure 24 years of service or would my pension be better if I go to August 31, even using LWOP? I have enough money put aside to go a few months without a paycheck. Also, will my insurances be covered if retire before August 31? Again, thank you for all your information and your time.

Last Answer: If FERS, it makes fiscal sense, regardless of the “hours situation” to retire at the end of the month. Your insurance’s (as does everyone’s) will carry over based upon YOUR selection on YOUR retirement paperwork. Roseanne

Q 2. Hi Roseanne- sorry to bother you but I’m thinking of retiring on 11/27/2017 & need your advice. Based on this article & the possibility of losing the SSN Supplement plus the increase to the HIGH 5 vs. the HIGH 3; do you think this will actually take place for employees Oct 2017 or January 2018? Thank you in advance for all your help/insight. Respectfully RT

A 2. Hi RT, Not a bother – but I am as concerned as you are. That is why I wrote the type of article last month. Yea, it’s a “in your face” sort of tone, but employees & retirees seem to be “tone deaf” as what is happening right before our eyes. I cannot imagine that federal employees, and I mean ALL federal employees, being OK with this. Advice: POWER IS FOUND IN NUMBERS.

THERE is no power in being “numb”, it’s time to get political!! Contact your Congressmen, Rep’s of House…I have. If we sit by, it will be taken from us. So contacting your state’s rep in House and Congress. If all of us do this…it can make the difference. Roseanne

Q 3. Hello Roseanne, I recently read one of your posts in May to a civil service employee who is turning 55 in March 2018. You told him that you’ve done this for a long time and when you’re 55 you should retire if not living on mass amounts of overtime. Here is my question:

I am civil service and started in September 1983. I will be 55 in September 2019 and will have 36 years of service. I am contemplating working the 41 years and 11 months to max out on my retirement as well as higher pay through raises. Would that not equate to an extra five to $600 a month? Thanks, G

A 3. Hi G, Well the figures you gave me can only be obtained by KNOWING what your high 3 average salary will be at retirement. Without exact figures, I could not say that you were accurate on the added 5 or 6 hundred dollars per month. The down and dirty on 41-11 is the calculation equates to 80% of your high 3 average salary. You can do this yourself. Take your high 3 and then do this…

Example high 3 salary: 60,000

60,000 X 1.5% = $900.00 X 5 (yrs.) = $4500.00
60,000 X 1.75% = $1050.00 X 5(yrs.)= $5250.00
60,000 X 2.0% = $1200 X 26 (yrs.) = $31,200.00
$40,950.00 (divided) by 12 (mo.)= $3413 No spousal $3072 (1877)

So then you can factor in what 5 years and 11 months would look like, if you decided to stay. Look at your current salary, and use that figure as your High 3, and the, apply the calculations above to find out a real close estimate of what you would receive in retirement. Roseanne

Q 4. Roseanne, I just passed 55 years old two weeks ago. I have been a regular rural mail carrier for 10 years and 5 months. Could I retire because health condition at this age? What is the benefit after retirement? How much can I get it after retirement? After 55 years old and 10 years employee, could I retire at any age? FY

A 4. Hi FY, First- eligibility is 18 months of career service, so you have that. But can you retire due to a health condition…yes you can, but you must be able to satisfy the doctors at OPM in order to be “approved” for disability retirement. As far as how much would you get, that would totally depend upon your high 3 average salary.

If you are trying to do this, you need to call HRSSC at 1-877-477-3273, option # 5, and request to begin the process of Disability Retirement. Roseanne

Q 5. Hi Roseanne, I am an EAS person going to retire 1/31/2018. The reason for me is strictly financial driven. I wanted to hang around to have my lump sum AL paid at my higher wage once that goes into effect the middle of January. Plus push that sum into a new year to save on taxes. I have 31+ years in so I’m in FERS. Then I will be able to tap the special retirement payments right away too. My boss stated that if I retire December 31st, I would get my pay raise in a lump sum payment instead of it being added to my salary to hit the max in my level and the balance as a lump sum. It doesn’t sound right to me, and was wondering if you could set me straight. Thank you for all the wonderful and informative monthly posts. I read every one of them! KL

A 5. Hi KL, Your boss is correct. After your form 50 is processed for retirement, Eagan, MN forwards your pay records to OPM, so the raise will be included in OPM’s overall calculation of the annuity. Keep in mind you are only calculating that “raised salary” from Oct-Dec. (End of FY till end of year)…in your case. Roseanne

Q 6. Hi Miss Roseanne, This is my additional info: I worked for the P.O. since 10/1983. Last Sept 2016 went out for R& L shoulder surgery and will be finished with therapy around Nov. I am thinking about retiring when I finish with my treatment. The HR told me that my annuity need to be done or calculated manually since I am out from 2016 to present. I am planning to retire 11/2017. Will it affect my HIGH 3 and annuity when they compute my retirement pension.

A 6. You wrote me for advice, so here is my advice- wait until you go back to work, so ensure all of that (OWCP/Postal hours) is sorted out. Trust me, if you try to retire, without going back to work, it WILL make it difficult. SO specifically, yes you can… you can do that. But I said – this makes it difficult and longer to process. I would go back to work, even to use sick leave, or LWOP in Lieu of Sick Leave, so you retire “on the rolls” so to speak. That is my advice. Roseanne

Response: Good Morning Miss Roseanne- This is on the job injury and OWCP. Why is it important to go back before retiring? Sorry I am slow in understanding. My worry also is about my high 3. Can you please elaborate some more. I always read your stuff in, I would liked to thank you for responding to my E-mail.

Final Response: It is so much “cleaner” to go back to work, even for one pay period. It makes the retirement process go much smoother, than if you retire from the OWCP Periodic rolls to retirement with OPM. Now you can do exactly how you want to do it – “retire while on OWCP”, but I think you asked me for my opinion, and that’s my opinion, go back to work for at minimum one ENTIRE pay period…two is even better. I have seen many delays in retiring from the way you are asking to retire. And you are NOT slow…not many people understand this. Roseanne

Till we speak again………Roseanne