Monthly Archives: November, 2009

FERS sick leave credit

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Well, FERS employees, the long wait is over. Thanks to Public Law 111-84, you are entitled to get credit for your unused sick leave in your annuity calculation when you retire. Previously, this benefit was available only to employees under the Civil Service Retirement System, not those under the Federal Employees Retirement System. There’s one hitch:You’ll get credit for only half of your unused sick leave until 2014. Still, half a loaf is better than none. How will that benefit affect your annuity when you retire? I’ll give a few examples to illustrate that. But first I’ll explain how sick…

Retired annuitant act

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Q: Has the retired annuitant act — which proposes allowing federal employees to retire and work part-time as a retired federal employee without an offset of your pension — been passed into law? Where can I find more information on this subject? A: That provision was included in Public Law 111-84, which was signed by the president at the end of October.

How will medical procedure affect retirement, sick leave?

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Q: I am a federal employee covered under the Civil Service Retirement System and will be retiring on Jan. 3, 2011, with 42 years, 1 month of service and 2,700 hours of sick leave. I need knee surgery, which will require that I be off work for three months. Should I have the surgery before I retire and use my sick leave, or postpone the surgery until I retire and apply all the sick leave toward my annuity? A: You are asking for advice, which I don’t give. The decision is up to you. However, assuming that you are going…

Is Social Security subject to windfall provision?

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Q: I plan to retire at age 63. I was in the Civil Service Retirement System for 11 years and did not take out my CSRS retirement contribution. I took a 14-year break. I re-entered the federal government under the Federal Employees Retirement System offset and was told that I should be in FERS. I agreed to be in FERS, as I wanted to be able to retire with a retirement system in place. I transferred to the FERS system and now have been in it for 13 years. I plan to retire in the next few years. Will I…

Questions on Medicare and federal insurance

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Q: I am a 78-year-old federal employee and will retire at the end of this year. Medicare has been deducted from my paycheck for several years now. As I understand it, I am only eligible to benefit from Part A, which I also understand to be cost-free. As long as I am working, I cannot benefit from Part B. Why have I been charged for a plan that I cannot benefit from? I also carry federal Blue Cross/Blue Shield. After retirement, my BCBS premiums will remain the same, and I am wondering if it is advantageous to continue to pay…

Selling back annual leave

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Q: I am a letter carrier in the U.S. Postal Service. How much annual leave can I “sell” back at retirement? A: Because you are a bargaining unit employee, you can only receive a lump-sum payment for any unused annual leave that does not exceed the carryover limit for your bargaining unit. As a rule, that limit is 440 hours.

Retirement benefits under both systems

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Q: I plan to retire next year at age 62. I had 10 years of service under the Civil Service Retirement System. I took a 15-year break and returned under the Federal Employees Retirement System. I have 19 years under FERS. I will receive retirement benefits under both systems. I understand my Social Security benefits will be reduced due to the Windfall Elimination Provision. My question is, will the reduction be based on just the CSRS portion of my annuity or on the full annuity (FERS and CSRS)? A: The reduction will be applied to your entire annuity, not just…

Buyouts and Social Security supplements

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Q: My agency is considering offering buyouts. I am over 50 and have 26 years of government service. Typically, government buyouts are extended to those who have at least 25 years of service and are at least 50 years old. If I go to full retirement at 30 years of service, I would retire with a special federal Social Security supplement until I reach the age of 62, at which time the special supplement would end. If I accept a buyout, would I still get the special Social Security supplement with my federal retirement? A: If you accepted the buyout,…

Sick leave credits for CSRS, FERS

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Q: How will the new rules that allow for crediting sick leave to Federal Employees Retirement System employees for retirement calculation purposes affect those who transferred from the Civil Service Retirement System to FERS during a previous open season? A: For those CSRS employees who transferred to FERS, when they retire, any unused sick leave up to the amount they had when they transferred to FERS will be credited to the CSRS component of their annuities; half of any unused sick leave above that amount will be credited to the FERS component. Only those who retire after Dec. 31, 2011,…

Early outs and incentives

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Q: I retired back in February on an early out. Will we receive the incentive eventually that the union is fighting for all employees to receive? Plus, will we receive something for our unused sick leave? A: I have no idea what incentive your union is fighting for; however, if they get it, it’s unlikely that it would apply to those who have already retired. The same goes for the unused sick leave credit for Federal Employees Retirement System employees. That credit is only available to those who retire after the effective date, and only half credit at that, until…

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