Monthly Archives: January, 2010

New year, same COLA


For employees, 2010 is a mixed year for benefits. For retirees, it’s pretty much a bust. General Schedule employees received a 2 percent pay increase, with 1.5 percent going to all employees and the remainder being distributed through locality pay. If you want to compare how you made out against employees in other areas, go to the Salaries and Wages page on the Office of Personnel Management Web site. The maximum taxable earnings for Social Security withholding stay at the 2009 level — $106,800. So, if you are a Federal Employees Retirement System or Civil Service Retirement System Offset employee,…

Does death before retirement affect survivor annuity?


Q: I am a federal employee under the Civil Service Retirement System with 35 years of service, and I am 60 years old. I plan on working another two to five years. If I die before I retire, will my wife automatically receive a full CSRS survivorship annuity? I plan on selecting a full survivorship annuity when I do retire but was wondering what happens if I don’t make it. A: Yes, if you were to die before retiring, your widow would automatically receive a full survivor annuity. The only exception to this rule is if there is a court…

When is unused sick leave credited?


Q: I will be 63 years old at the end of this year. I anticipate retiring under the Civil Service Retirement System on Dec. 31, 2010, with a Service Computation Date of March 1977. If I have 800 hours of unused sick leave by then, at what point this year can I start terminal leave from work and have these 800 hours calculated into my annuity payments? A: Unused sick leave is credited on the day you retire and used in the calculation of an annuity. Note: I’m unaware of any provision in law that would provide terminal leave for…

CSRS and annuities


Q: I’m under the Civil Service Retirement System plan. I would like to know if the retirement contributions, taken out of our checks every payday, have anything to do with the amount of money we will receive when we retire, or is it based on our high-3 and the number of years we have in, including military time? A: CSRS and Federal Employees Retirement System annuities are defined benefit plans. As such, they are not based on the amount employees and agencies contribute to the retirement fund. Instead, they are based on formulas that include a multiplier (or multipliers), the…

What's up with FERS Redeposit?


Q: I’ve been trying to find details on the new Federal Employees Retirement System Redeposit, but have had no luck. Do you have any details? A: The Office of Personnel Management is still working up guidance and revising the application form. If you are retiring in the near future, OPM will tell you now how much you owe and let you make the redeposit before they finish processing your retirement application. If you aren’t retiring soon and are simply eager to get the paperwork moving, you can fill out a copy of the current Standard Form 3107, Application for Immediate…

Military service credit


Q: I have 20 years of military service as an Air Force reservist.  I plan to accept a federal GS-14 position and make a deposit into the Federal Employees Retirement System to get credit for my military service in my federal retirement calculation. Then I will retire from the reserves and receive reserve retirement pay.  Under FERS, will I be forced to waive my reserve retirement pay? A: Making a deposit to get credit for any active duty service in the military won’t have any effect on your reserve retired pay. You will not have to waive it. That requirement…

The effect of remarrying on annuities


Q: I have a friend who retired from the Civil Service Retirement System in 2002 and was divorced at the time. His ex-wife will not receive a survivor annuity per his divorce decree. He is going to get remarried this summer and will elect full survivor annuity for his new wife. He knows his monthly annuity will be reduced but he is curious to know if the reduction would be the same as if he had been married all these years, or will there be an additional amount deducted to make up for the years since he retired?  I hope…

Is buying back military time a good idea?


Q: I am a Federal Employees Retirement System employee who started as a civilian federal employee in 1989 after 5½ years of active-duty military service. I am 49 years old. I am trying to figure out if it would make sense to buy back my military time. Is there a retirement age gap between when it would be a good idea and when it would not be? I am currently a GS-11 and the buy-back amount would be a little under $6,000. I also retired from the Army Reserve back in 2000. A: I can’t tell you whether you should…

USPS buyout plans


Q: Do you think the Postal Service will offer another buyout anytime soon? I have 31 years, with military time. A: I haven’t heard anything that would suggest that the Postal Service plans to do that and, unfortunately, I can’t predict what it might do in the future.

CSRS, sick leave and taxes


Q: When I retire, I will have 2,203 hours of sick leave. I am under Civil Service Retirement System Offset. I believe 2,087 hours is the equivalent of one year of service when I retire. So when I retire at age 58, — at 30 years, 6 months of service — I will get an extra year added to my time, so I will have 31 years, 6 months of service that will apply for purposes of calculating my retirement annuity. Is this correct? My husband works a nine-hour schedule that gives him one day off every week. Does the…

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