Postal Retirement

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 roseanne.jefferson@icloud.com.

Good Day Postal Employees

IT HAS BEEN SOME KIND OF WTF….am I right!! I don’t care what position you hold in this amazing organization…and the Postal Service is amazing, you all have been affected by changes in top management, middle management, lower management…and those who, quite frankly that have NO MANAGEMENT SKILLS WHATSOEVER.

This is not the opinion of Roseanne, this is from the volume of emails I have gotten over the past couple of months, from every level that there is in the entire postal organization. Got to stand together…there is no other way. I have been in the craft, union rep, management (and several different management positions) and sticking together has got to be the key. In a time where it seems that “rules and regulations” matters NOT….it does. I think it does to the public, I do. You know, when I do personal retirements, nearly 90% of my clients have no idea that we are NOT FUNDED by taxes….we are not. We are a company that pays our employees, by the sales of our product(s) & services …mail!!…he delivery of mail – THE PUBLIC DOES NOT PAY OUR SALARY!! I have never heard so much anxiety, depression and pure anger about how OUR organization is being used as a pawn in a political cesspool. I always say I am not going to go into “sides”…but just as a postal employee, you gotta see what is going on!

Management in plants……carriers….come on now!! You all know what is going on. I know that mail is being delayed…and so DO YOU! So before I lose my cool….I’ll leave it there. Wait…just one more thing…and then be STUPID enough to delay mail that has a time stamp, that someone paid extra to be there on a certain day, and then be able to get their money back because it was NOT delivered on that day….I can’t….I just can’t…simply moronic!

Next subject, I have had a visit from CANCER. I refuse to give in. Part of the reason is, I feel you still need me out there. You need a voice of reason, and truth. When I worked at the PO, as we call it, my favorite statement was, “my integrity is not for sale…and it ain’t for “rent” either”. So I am going to be here as long as life allows…telling you all the truth, because I want you to have the best retirement, and the best information that you can have, so that all those years of working at the Postal Service were and are WORTH IT!!

Q 1. Good Morning Roseanne, I wanted to know how hard is it to file for disability retirement? I called HRSSC and by the time I got off the phone, I was more confused than I was when I called. I have talked to my supervisor and their manager, and they have given me no assistance other than to call HRSSC. Is there anyone else I can call? SD

A 1. Hi SD, If I were you, I would go back and review my last column (prior to this one) and read the many emails that I shared about this subject. Each case is different, but the application process is the same. I would like to say it this way, NO ONE is going to DO THIS FOR YOU. That should be clear right now. You need to do this. I know that is not what you wanted to hear. Everyone wants a magic form that they just “fill out”. This is a process and a long process at that. But if you ARE disabled, then you have no choice but to follow the instructions, which is typically what no one wants to do. If my last column isn’t enough for you, then go to opm.gov, go to retirements, then disability.
But you won’t. Because if you knew enough to write me, then you knew enough to read my column….and you read it. It does take time and work. And if you are unwilling to do it for yourself, who do you think is willing to do it for you? Roseanne

Q 2. Hi Roseanne, I am retired postal and have BC/BS and also have Medicare, and I was wondering if you could recommend a cheaper insurance from FEHB that is pretty good to go along with Medicare . There is so many to choose from when I worked at least I could talk to other workers to see what they have and it’s different in retirement when you don’t see many people that’s retired ,would appreciate any advice. Thanks HP

A 2. Hi HP, Look at the Blue Cross Blue Shield FOCUS. It’s a new plan that has been around about 2 years now, and quite a bit less than BCBS Standard and less than the BCBS Basic. Keep in mind all FEHB plans go through a very strict process in the first place to even be on the list for us to choose from. I have not looked into the Focus plan intensely, because I am very pleased with my insurance. However, I suggest that if you did sign up for Medicare Part B, that could be a better monthly premium with the Focus, because I am sure you are asking because you signed up for Medicare Part B. Roseanne

Q 3. Dear Roseanne, I am writing to make sure that I have interpreted Social Security rules correctly. I am divorced, and my ex-husband has been dead for 6 years. We were married for 32 years, and I have not remarried. I am 61 years old. I have been encouraged to file for my ex’s Social Security benefits, even while I am still working. It would help me tremendously, as I have only been a regular rural carrier for 7 years and am furiously throwing money into TSP and other savings vehicles. I know things will be tight when I reach MRA at 66 years, 10 months. I plan to keep delivering mail as long as I can physically do this job. From what I read, I don’t think it would do me any good to file for his SS benefits now. If I read it right, any benefit I received would be reduced $1 for every $2 I earn over the limit (around 18k). I make $60 G’s now. Is that right? Thank you for any help you can give me! Thanks, C

A 3. C, I would file for your ex-husbands SS benefits. You are confusing his benefits with “your retirement”. First you reach MRA at 56…..that is what MRA means….minimum retirement age. Of course you couldn’t retire..at 56 because you don’t have 30 years.
The rules:
MRA (56-57) (depending on what year you were born) + 30 years of credible service
Age 60 with 20 years of credible service
Age 62 with 5 years of credible service

So you can retire at age 62 with 5 years of credible service, and according to you- you have 7 years of credible service…..(being a regular is credible service). YOU are CHOOSING to work until 66. I would make an appointment with the Social Security office and talk to them. They have the 40 year work calendar and all of your working history. If any rules have changed about how collecting Social Security from a deceased ex-spouse, they will know. That is the only way you are going to ensure that you can collect HIS SS check without it affecting your “working” salary, which I don’t think there will be. Let me know how it turned out. Roseanne

Q 4. Hi Roseanne! Thank you for all of your time spent trying to ease the confusion and worry of what to expect in federal retirement, and how to get it

My wife and I are/were employed with the USPS under FERS. I am still employed, with a retirement date of 09/2020. I am 60, and will obtain my 20 full time years on 08/26/2020. I’m good to go – no questions about my retirement.

My wife retired 08/2019, with no problems and a fast finalization. When we filled her paperwork out, She was 62 with 39 years, and healthy. We discussed the survivorship options, and went with no survivor benefits. Fast forward to 04/23/2020, when she passed away from a rare and hard to diagnose disease.

Since her death, I have completed everything with TSP and FEHB, but I’m struggling with OPM. It’s my understanding that nothing can be done about losing her 39 year pension, even though she only drew it an actual 7 months. Through my research, I thought I ran across something that had to do with a 12 month window, regarding death benefits payable to survivor after retirement.

Of course, I can’t find this info again.I spoke with an OPM specialist this week, and she tried to explain the following, but I don’t understand what it means, only that retirement contributions is a reference to the figure on the bottom right corner of her paystub! “If no survivor annuity is payable upon the retiree’s death, any remaining portion, representing either the remaining annuity and/or retirement contributions not paid to the retiree, is payable…” I’m trying to make sure all of my bases are covered, and that I’m not missing anything that I may be eligible for. I thank you so much for your help. SK

A 4. Hi SK, I am sorry for the loss of your wife, I can only imagine the sorrow and pain after all of those years. And I wish I could give you better news then you got and I wish you could have known what a bad decision it was to go with NO spousal benefits. So when you say you retired with “no problems”…not really a true statement…you may have gotten your checks timely, but in fact, you left without understanding and exercising your spousal benefits.

That is precisely why I do what I do….write this column and do individual sessions, because of how much postal employees don’t know about their retirement benefits.

Because you signed away your rights to that spousal annuity….there is no recourse, you had your signature notarized and your spouse began receiving a FULL annuity, with no (spousal) reduction.

What they are referring to is about the bottom of the pay stub….that is what you (the employee) contributes to the retirement system. WE (as postal employees FERS) only fund our entire retirement for about 7 -8 months…..
That is reflected in the annuity estimate which pretty much lines up with the amount on the bottom of the pay stub.

If your spouse would have passed away 3 months after retirement, there would have been some of “her” contributions that would have been refunded to you and that would be if you were the beneficiary of her retirement funds. SF 3102 Designation of Beneficiary for FERS is the form for that “retirement” money. Being her spouse, even if this form were not filled out, the eventual beneficiary (you ) would get what was left. IF someone else were on the SF3102 (even if you were married) that beneficiary form would stand as who got what was left in that fund. I know that is not what you wanted to hear, but it is correct. Again, I am so sorry for you loss. Roseanne

Q 5. Good morning Roseanne: I am planning to retire 1/31/2021 and I am going to use some SL if I can by December. My biggest concern is my GEHA dental insurance – I am in the middle of an implant procedure and it won’t be done until summer next year. I was hoping that it would be sooner 🙏. Will I be able to continue as a civilian paying for GEHA dental? I doubt USPS will bear any savings for me. I hope you don’t mind me asking. GL

A 5. Hi GL, No worries…you can BRING your health and dental Insurance’s you have while employed, with you when you retire. Roseanne

Q 6. Hi Roseanne, On page 19 and 22 of the Postal retirement book they want every workman’s comp claim number and when I was out. Why? This does not effect my time. I had one in 1987, one in 1995 and one in the year 2000. They want me to attach a schedule (c) form to my retirement papers. Where do I get the form? How would I even get this information?I would be very grateful if you answered my question. BR

A 6. Hi BR, Just so we are on the same page…..why are you tripping about this? IT IS REQUIRED INFORMATION that OPM wants on THEIR FORM!! DO YOU WANT TO RETIRE? Then fill out the form the way they want it filled out. Playing hard ball because you don’t want to give up this information makes absolutely no sense, and it makes your retirement paperwork incorrect! Your statement “they want you to attach schedule c, really…its part of the actual retirement paperwork. All you are doing is putting down the OWCP claim number, date of injury and closing date if you received a “scheduled award”.
No it’s not going to affect your retirement in terms of money if you are being honest about the time frames of your OWCP claims..meaning you were not out on the Periodic rolls while on OWCP. But it will if you don’t put it down on the form, and then OPM has to find it when you could have filled it out correctly. So the affect is not money, it’s the time it will take for them to FIX your paperwork….because YOU did not do it right!

Call your HR office, find the name of the person that handles the OWCP claims in your district….they have all the claims for their district and they can give you the OWCP claim number. You need the IOD (Injured on Duty) which is the first date (or actually the date you were injured) in each claim. Almost all cases are open cases so there would not be an END date on that line, unless you were paid a “scheduled award” for that claim (and usually a sizable amount of money) and you should remember if you did receive it or not. This agency will step over you…..do it right the first time is my suggestion. Roseanne

Response: Ok, you’re right I will do what you say.

THIS IS ONE OF THOSE THAT NEEDED SEVERAL ANSWERS……
Q 7. Roseanne, My name is L and I have heard so many wonderful things about you and all of your knowledge of postal issues. I have a question and it is for another postal employee and we cannot find the answer. My question is, if I am still on the books and I pass away, does my spouse get my health insurance. I have heard numerous answers and I am unsure on what to believe. Thank you so much for your time. L

A 7. Hi L, Yes. The spouse of a deceased employee has rights to their spouses retirement (monthly pension) and with that “Benefit” they too can continue the spouses health insurance. That spouse needs to be on the FEHB, while the postal employee was alive and working. Roseanne

R 7. Thank you so much Roseanne, you can imagine the answers that this poor woman had been getting. The gentleman that is with the postal service was diagnosed with brain tumors and only had 3-6 months to live if that, he has approximately 2000 hrs of leave, so do you think the best decision would be to stay on the rolls and just use his time up and no need to go out early retirement or disability retirement? We don’t believe he will out live good hours. Sorry for more questions but it is so hard to get straight answers from anyone. Thank you again, I think this will put this woman’s mind at ease.

AR 7. Hi Lisa, this is a very hard thing to say to the person who’s spouse is going through the end part of their life. It is much easier for me to deal with you because the emotion that’s involved in giving this information is pretty terrible. So let me say this way it is always better for an employee to pass away while still employed. And with that much sick leave, this should not be an issue. And let me say thank you – it’s got to be difficult to be in that position and try to find information about the emotional toll it takes someone is overwhelming. That is why I do retirement sessions, individual retirement sessions. Not knowing how you know me, whether it’s from me writing a column or you know some one or many of ones that have used my services. Please make sure all of the beneficiary forms are correct. There are four of them TSP3 -Beneficiary form for the TSP funds.
SF 3102 Designation of beneficiary Form – FERS Retirement contributions
SF 2823 Beneficiary form for life insurance
SF 1152 designation of beneficiary for unpaid compensation.

Make sure all of those forms are in the employees file. The TSP-3, does not go in the employees file at the post office but is sent to the TSP program.
I hope this is given a little more information how to prepare for what will probably be a very difficult time. And as long as these forms are done, then this part of that process will be done. I wish you all peace during this very very difficult time. Roseanne

RR 7. Roseanne, I forgot one very important part of this whole scenario, the employee does have 32 years but he will only be 53 in September if he makes it until then. Does this pose an issue with his wife and child receiving the health benefits?

AA7. Absolutely not at all!! I feel so bad that people don’t know this ….it’s horrible. (Again this is why “Jefferson’s Chimes of Knowledge” was created).

I was diagnosed with breast cancer about 3 weeks ago, and am recovering. I am only saying this because, I typically don’t answer this quick, nor do I answer the follow up questions that quick either. But in this case, because I understand the “fear”…I wanted to be able to reassure her that her family’s health benefits will continue. I do think in the 11 years of me writing the column…I’ve no doubt addressed this issue quite a lot…and why…it’s because if you don’t know your benefits then you don’t use your benefits. And if you call and get these BS answers….well I’d be “on it”…going to opm.gov and reviewing the web site and get familiar with the retirement information before her husband passes away. OPM is the agency that will be sending her, the spousal annuity check and reduce that check for the health benefits. Again, you are doing something so good, for someone who is going through maybe the biggest toll of her life. I wish you all the best…Take care, Roseanne

Q 8. Good evening – Ms Roseanne Today, my husband wants me to sign TSP withdrawal Request Forms so he can get them notarized. Are these the accurate forms. And my question is what happens when I signed my name. Thank you, S

A 8. Hi S, I bet you are chomping at the bit…..and if I were you, I would be too. But there is a very good reason for it. Your last name kind of sounds like I might have done his retirement, and you were not present…maybe not…but when signing (or another way of looking at it…you are releasing your hold) on this money so that he can make different decisions than just purchasing an annuity. He may want to “roll it over” to another fund like another 401K; he may want to roll it into a ROTH; he may want to have equal monthly payments from TSP; or he could decide to take it all out. No matter what he does, he needs your signature notarized because as his wife, you have “rights” to that money simply because you are married to him. It was the same on his retirement form SF 3107-B. If you did NOT signs form in front of a notary, then that means he gave you the full spousal annuity on his FERS pension. So when I do a case, it’s easier to explain this in front of the spouse, husband or wife, depending on who is retiring. I recommend the monthly payments from TSP…and have for many years….it’s safe…but more than that…if you didn’t sign off, and he had to purchase an annuity, and lets say you both went on vacation, and died…if you had kids…no one gets that money….because you sold it. On the TSP monthly payments, same scenario….the beneficiaries would get it. So I hope this has helped clarify what this means. Roseanne

Until we speak again……and if ya could, say a little prayer for me that I am successful in beating this cancer…….Roseanne