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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Good Day Postal Employees! I PRAY YOU ALL ARE WELL!!
It’s been a little bit since I’ve written the column..maybe a month or so late.
I’ve had some health issues, that not only had me unable physically, but mentally I would have been no help to any of you. But I will continue to write this column because of YOU. There is some horribly wrong information out there, truly. So, I don’t list every email that I respond to, as some are too personal. And it takes a lot to sanitize the email, so that each writer’s identity is not disclosed. I hear such bizarro information from you all out there, that it is sometimes a challenge to even answer. Many of you who have written, know that I will say, OMG send me your phone number….I just can’t do this in an email…as you are so profoundly wrong, I don’t even know where to start, unless I am talking to you.
For example: “why do cats wear grey boots in movie theaters”…who could answer that…first because “where did that ridiculous nonsensical question come from. I’d have to start with what cats, what movie theater, did you see that yourself, who bought them the grey boots. Meaning some questions are so WRONG in structure, that there is NO answer to the question. But I will try to glean what they are asking and will try to steer them in the right direction. I want you to have the best retirement..this is why I write this column period!
We are in very trying times right now, and I am so grateful to our amazing postal employees. It is a time for kindness and understanding…regardless of where you sit on any particular “political” side. As a manager, I remember when 911 occurred, and the Anthrax scares, and driving a postal vehicle – yea…like a bat outta hell on 9/12 to DC. We were beside ourselves….and afraid. We, as an agency were being attacked. And postal employees always rise to the occasion. It’s who we are. We may bitch and moan about each other, but collectively we are such an amazing force. When there is a federal shutdown, or a mandatory stay in place….well you already know….
And those of us that have been “sidelined” if you want to call it that, by retirement, it does not change the pride or the understanding we have about how difficult your job is. At least that is what I hear from all of you when I am doing retirement sessions. We all come from managers, supervisors, that are unwilling, or unbending. Keep in mind they too, are taking instructions from above…who probably think the same thing about their superiors decisions, as we think about them. It is not a perfect world. But we must follow orders & complain later (meaning follow the instruction, then file a grievance). This is a service that YOU are providing to a nation that needs DELIVERY SO MUCH RIGHT NOW. AND PLEASE..Don’t ever forget that the USPS is the ONLY agency in the federal government that is NOT supported/funded by tax dollars…so if I have to say this again….USPS pays OUR OWN WAY!
Q 1. Hello Roseanne: I retired 9/30/14 under FERS under a vera for Postmasters. I was at that time and am still under the age of 62. In 2021, I turn 62 years young.
1. Do I automatically stop getting the special supplemental bridge to Social Security AND automatically start getting my regular Social Security ?
2. Or do I have to call to start getting my regular Social Security
3. If I am required to call?
4. If so, who do I contact – USPS or Social Security ?
5. What are the contacts phone numbers ?Thanks for any and all information and help that you can provide. EP
A 1. Hi EP, The special supplemental bridge will AUTOMATICALLY END when you are 61 and 11 months….precisely!! Trust me, you don’t have to call….it will stop! So that means that when you are around 61 and 5 or 6 months, you should go to the Social Security office (I suggest making an appointment first) so that you don’t have to wait.
However, in this COVID-19 era, you may want to call them and try to begin the process of signing up for your Social Security on line. I would think that most federal offices are limiting or closing their face to face contacts due to the Coronavirus. But the special supplement is going to STOP. The month you turn 62, you will NOT get the Special Supplement. If you go on line to ssa.gov, that should assist in you beginning the process. Roseanne
Q 2. Hello Roseanne, I suppose somewhere you have already answered this question. I want to get OUT. I’m 56 with 31 1/2 years. I’m presently taking courses for insurance sales in my home state. Since I still have bills may I take enough out of TSP to be close to my present salary. When I’m making enough, then can I lower or discontinue taking out TSP? Is there a set amount that I can make that messes with Social Security stipend. Thanks for all you do…Regards D
A 2. Hi D, First, with the new changes to TSP, if you selected “Monthly Payments” you are now able to make changes to the monthly amount when desire, versus once a year as it was in the past. So yes, you can change the amount you receive monthly. The difference now is that nothing can be done on a paper forms any longer, NOW everything needs to be done on line. Keep in mind if retired, you don’t have to wait until you are 59 and a half to access your money from the TSP fund. If you go on line to tsp.gov, and go to the calculators on that web site, you can input how much you have in TSP, your age, and your spouse’s age. (As information in the box where it says, how long do you expect to live, for your age its 84). Try running the calculators on the TSP website to get a good understanding of how great the TSP monthly payment option is. It is tsp.gov. Roseanne From the Social Security Website:
If you are under full retirement age for the entire year, we deduct $1 from your benefit payments for every $2 you earn above the annual limit. For 2020, that limit is $18,240.
Q 3. Hi Roseanne, I enjoy your article so very much! So much to glean from your wisdom. My question is this: I will turn 62 on 11/27/2021, year with 28 years of service.
I would like November 30th to be my last day in a pay status. But I am concerned about getting the 1.1 percent per year if OPM somehow doesn’t compute it correctly. Then I would only get 1 percent per year. Do I have anything to worry about? Another postal friend said I should retire a month later and not chance OPM making a mistake. Thanks H
A 3. Hi H, Thank you, but keep in mind, this is a “computer”…and the language in the computer will recognize the 1.1%. You can do this RIGHT now. To PROVE it to yourself that this is correct ….you are eligible RIGHT now with being age 60 with 20 or more years. If you retire in August, it will be calculated at 1%. But if you wait until DECEMBER, meaning you retire at the end- the very end of November (11/30 to be precise), then the calculation goes to 1.1%. So to prove this to you, call HRSSC and ask for an annuity estimate for October and then one for December. I will say no more…wait until you see the difference…
Let me know when you get them both, then if those two documents don’t convince what to do, then email me back (you won’t-it will be obvious). I just can’t tell you, you just have to see if for yourself). So DON’T put it off. You took the time to write me and ask for advise, and I took the time to respond, then DO what I am telling you to do. Otherwise, what was the point!! I want you to have the best retirement. So do what I am telling you. You will be thankful. Roseanne
UPDATE: As I am writing this column – this is the email I just received from the above writer: Hi Roseanne! I ran the October versus the December estimate and as always you’re right! I will be enjoying retirement soon enough! God willing! Thanks for your help! H
Q 4. Thank you for all you do. Miss Roseanne, I am 56 with 33 years of service, with over 2400 hours of sick (I have been blessed with great health). I am planning to retire on May 29th 2020. My hire date was July 20. 1985. Would it be beneficial for me to stay till the end of July 2020? Thank you CJ
A 4. Hi CJ, The only benefit by staying (in your case) is LITERALLY about 4 bucks a month less!!.. ( for life)…so if you retire the end of May versus the end of July…we’re talking about $12.-$13 more per month. Is that really worth it…no it isn’t!! Retire!! But this answer is only if you are 56 before May 2020. Roseanne
Q 5. Roseanne Jefferson, I hope this gets to you. Hello, my name is G, and I am a letter carrier planning to retire in mid 2022. First let me apologize for not having ALL the figures that I should probably have. But I hope that my simple questions I will ask at the end of the email, can be answered without the actual figures. I just turned 59 1/2 and I am eligible to roll over money from my TSP account. I have had a financial advisor for a few years now and have been happy with his projections thus far. I only have a Roth IRA for around 26K under his control. Now that I have reached an age where I am able to make transfers, he is suggesting that I move all of it (I think he would like it when I do retire), but suggests I now move the roughly 25% that is in the G and F funds to him. He has suggested 3 options for me.
One is annuity that would earn between 5 & 6 % and would have to be left alone for a number of years (5 yrs. I think, and hopefully not a big deal to leave alone). Another option were 1 of 2 different accounts. Of course rates of return are not guaranteed in these accounts but it seemed his figures for the last 3 years were not much above the TSP stock funds. He says that by having more flexibility they can exceed the TSP. However, these accounts carry a fee of 1.25% or 1.35% compared to the TSP 0.4%. I guess my question boils down to how much more would this new account have to earn to make up for the 30 times larger fees and would it ever be a good idea to transfer from the TSP.
Also is there anything wrong with annuities? Thank you for you input in this matter. DP. I don’t know how you respond to these questions or how long it takes so I will check my email and watch for articles…no name please.
A 5. Hi No Name, That whole entire email was like I was a personal financial advisor, (with not a dollar figure in sight)….and I am not. I am a retirement counselor. There are so many that call themselves retirement planning specialists….what they are planning is your TSP (AKA 401K)…nothing else. They know almost nothing about your actual FERS or CSRS retirement plan….nothing.
My best advise is for you REALLY look into what TSP offers after retirement. Rolling your money over before you retire, or after you retire….to me is short sighted, why? Why roll it over….why? TSP is a part of your retirement (about 40% of your overall monthly retirement monies). I have said this so many times before….TSP is not to “build the west wing at your house”…”it’s NOT to pay off your house”; “ it’s not to buy a boat”; “its not for the vacation overseas”…..IT’S NOT A SLUSH FUND DAMMIT!!! IT IS A PART OF YOUR 3 PART RETIREMENT (IF A FERS employee). You have to treat it that way to get the best FERS retirement possible.
You asked for my opinion, and that is my opinion. I’ll bet the more you have in TSP, the more you are being “groomed” by “financial advisors” of what they can do for YOUR money. My suggestion, look at TSP’s monthly payment option versus the purchase of an annuity to manage YOUR MONEY. This is without paying a “financial advisor”. Let me say this ….not rudely…..but “ I don’t care what you do with your money…..I care that you KNOW ALL THE THINGS THAT YOU CAN…and if you don’t look into all that TSP has to offer, and follow the advise of your financial advisor…(did you see their office…..who do YOU think pays for that office)…you may be doing a disservice to yourself unless you really look into the TSP website at tsp.gov. Roseanne
Q 6. Hi Roseanne, retired 11/29/2019 at 67, with 36 years rural carrier. I have until July to take Medicare Part B..but for the life of me can’t see the necessity..saw in one of your articles that you had made the decision not to take it..any regrets? All the retirees discussion groups seem to try to scare people into taking it, or insist that they HAVE to take it. I don’t see the reasoning, so am I missing something?? Thanks for your input..C
A 6. Hi C- Go to the blue pamphlet (5X7) booklet, that you received after the retirement was complete. Look inside that blue pamphlet and that information you are looking for is located at the top of page 7. If you have not ordered another booklet since the first one you received after retirement, or are clueless about this booklet I am referring to (it means you don’t open your mail…..just sayin’), order another one from OPM. That Medicare statement “that you are NOT required for Medicare is in the “newer” blue “This is your Retirement Benefits” pamphlet. It SHOULD HAVE BEEN suggested to you during the retirement session that you periodically order these pamphlets from OPM as things change throughout your retirement. I cannot tell you what to do, I can only lead you to the direction in which the information is located. What I have done, is a personal decision. If it was wrong I would let everyone know how I messed up, because I would not want anyone else to do that. So for the record…..I don’t have Medicare Part B, I do have Medicare Part A, which I had to sign up for, it was NOT automatic, and my FEHB health plan. Just as information, I am CSRS and I do NOT get a Social Security check…..what “would” they going to take that Medicare Part B payment from????? Roseanne
Q 7. Hi Roseanne, This is OT, I have a question what happens to that money that is deducted from your pay every pay pay period and moved to the bottom of your pay stub at the end of the year. OT
A 7. Hi OT, HOW I LOVE that question. Those are your retirement contributions that you paid into the retirement fund. That figure only changes one a year, on pay period two, when all PP figures that are added to the year to date, turn to just the first PP2. It is then that bottom figure (retirement contributions) changes as well. It says right at the bottom of every check, what it is ”retirement contributions”. And NO it’s not a lump sum for you when you retire. As an employee, when you order your annuity estimate, look at the top of the form to see the amount of your Retirement Contributions….it will be very close to the number that is at the bottom of that pay stub. THOSE are YOUR contributions. NO you don’t get that when you retire. I mean seriously…. if you looked at that CLOSELY, you would see that the monies in the fund (that YOU put in) don’t even last 9 months…(look at the monthly amount of your annuity)….you’d run out before a year was up. SO NO…..you don’t get that and an annuity/pension! So if you got that LUMP SUM when you retired…that would mean that you had NO MONEY invested in the retirement fund, and YOU still WANT to get a check for life….come on now!!! Roseanne
Before I end this column, I want to say please…all of my postal family, take care of yourself…be safe, be smart….stay alert.