Monthly Archives: November, 2008

Special retirement supplement

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Q: I am a Federal Employees Retirement System employee who will be 55 with 25 years of service. The U.S. Postal Service has offered a voluntary early retirement. If I retire, will I be able to collect the supplement at age 56 and who determines the amount? A: If you accept an offer of early retirement, you will be able to receive the special retirement supplement when you reach your minimum retirement age. Your SRS will be based on the Social Security benefit you earned while employed under FERS. The amount will be determined by the Office of Personnel Management…

Break in service

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Q: I have 11-plus years of 6(c) service in a primary law enforcement position from a prior appointment. After a two year break in service, I have been reinstated into a secondary law enforcement position with career tenure. Since I have more than three years in a covered position, am I entitled to maintain my 6(c) coverage, or will I stay under Federal Employees Retirement System due to the break in service? A: While that break in service shouldn’t affect your eligibility to remain covered under the special retirement provision for law enforcement officers, you need to confirm that with…

Early out penalties

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Q: Two questions about a 51-year-old Federal Employees Retirement System employee of the U.S. Postal Service who is offered an early retirement: 1) Is there any deduction/penalty for age years below 62? 2) Is that employee eligible for the annuity supplement immediately? If not, does that benefit ever kick in? A: If you retire under the Voluntary Early Retirement Authority, you won’t be subject to the age reduction penalty. And you’ll be eligible to receive the special retirement supplement when you reach your minimum retirement age. Since you were born between 1953 and 1964, your MRA will be 56. –…

Health care plans

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Q: My husband and I are both retired federal employees. He has always carried our Federal Employees Health Benefits coverage under Blue Cross Blue Shield, Standard Option, self and family. He is enrolled in Medicare Part B. I am 62, so have three years to go before I will be eligible for Medicare coverage. We are now considering changing to two self only plans during Open Season because we will save $500-plus on the premiums. Are there any cons to this proposed change that we should consider? How can I avoid problems with my enrollment, since I have been personally…

Sick leave bill

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Q: Reimbursement for Federal Employees Retirement System sick leave was being processed thru Congress, but it seems to have dropped out of sight after the House. Would you provide an update on this issue? A: Congressman Jim Moran did introduce a bill that would reimburse retiring employees for unused sick leave. However, in a surprise move that bill was converted into an amendment which would grant retirement credit for that leave. That amendment was attached to HR 1108, the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, and passed by the House on Aug. 1. On its arrival in the Senate,…

Annual leave hours

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Q: I was reinstated to my present federal agency. During the time I was gone, I worked for another federal agency. I was finally credited with the annual leave I was due because with the reinstatement, I passed 15 years of service while with the second agency. On my statement of earnings and leave, my max carryover was increased from 240 hours to 334 hours. Is there a time limit in which I have to use the extra carryover? Or will I retain this level of carryover until I retire or take enough annual leave in a year to eat…

Government pension offset

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Q: I worked for the Social Security Administration from 1966 through 1973, at which time I became disabled. I have not been employed since that time, and have been receiving a Civil Service Retirement System disability annuity. In April 2009, I will be 62, will my annuity be recomputed? My husband is 71 and receives a Social Security pension. Would my annuity be affected if in the future, if I were to collect a widow’s benefit through my husband’s benefit? A: No, your annuity won’t be computed at age 62. While your annuity won’t be affected if you become eligible…

Court leave

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Q: My friend who works for the Veterans Administration was recently subpoenaed to testify for the prosecution in a federal case. She had to take three days off from work and fly from the West Coast to the east. She’s being told that she has to use annual leave for this event, and there is no pay for this as in jury duty. Is this correct? A: Your friend is entitled to court leave if she was summoned as a witness in a judicial proceeding in which the federal, state, or local government is a party. Whether that fits her…

FEGLI premiums in retirement

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Q: I am a U.S. Postal Service employee and I will be retiring Dec. 31, under the early out option. The related annuity estimate I received as part of that offer lists the annuitant monthly premium for basic Federal Employee Group Life Insurance as $116.37. But the reference manual says I will pay “the same regular Basic premium that active employees pay,” which for postal employees is zero. There is also a chart included that says the premium would be $0.3358 for $1,000 coverage (for me, that’s about $5,4000, calculating out to about $17/month). So which of these premiums is…

Overtime pay in high-three calculation

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Q: I am a letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service with 28 years of service. Is money taken out of my overtime pay for retirement contribution? My retirement is based strictly on my high-three taken from straight time hours only, and does not take overtime hours into consideration. Trying to figure out the taxes and other withdrawals from my check is over my head, but it seems like I don’t pay any less in withdrawals in my overtime hours than I do when I only work straight time. If so, where does the money go? Am I contributing toward…

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