Monthly Archives: October, 2010

Donated leave limits?

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Q: If someone has two catastrophic illnesses, years apart, and applies for leave donations for both events, is there a cumulative limit on the number of hours one may accept as donated leave in a career? A: There isn’t any limit on the amount of donated annual leave a recipient can receive.

Survivor benefits under FERS

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Q: Nobody can seem to give me a straight answer to this question: I’m 59 years old and under the Federal Employees Retirement System, with 18 years of service. I had heart bypass surgery four years ago, and I’m now having complications. Because I have to have 20 years of service to qualify for a pension, it appears that my wife will not get my pension if I die before I hit the 20-year mark, which is 20 months away. However, I have reached the minimum retirement age, so if something happens soon, can my wife get my pension, less…

Tracking down life insurance benefits

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Q: My brother retired from the U.S. Postal Service a few years ago. He passed away a few weeks ago, and his wife asked the San Antonio post office how she could apply for his insurance. She was told that he had no insurance. He specifically told me that he did: I retired from civil service and have insurance, and my brother said that he had the same sort of coverage. If he has a claim it would be a great aid to his widow. A: His widow should call the Office of Personnel Management’s Retirement Information Office at 888-767-6738…

Social Security and FERS benefits

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Q: I am a federal employee covered under the Federal Employees Retirement System. I am also paying Social Security taxes. Would I receive 100 percent of my retirement from both systems given that I retired at the stipulated age? Will my Social Security pension change my FERS pension? A: If you retire on an immediate annuity after reaching the right combination of age and service (62 years old with five years of service, 60 with 20, or at your minimum retirement age with 30), you’ll receive an unreduced FERS annuity and, if you retire before age 62, the special retirement…

Exceptions to the maximum entry age

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Q: Can we hire a current Veterans Affairs Department employee who is a well-qualified police officer (now serving under the regular Federal Employees Retirement System) as a firefighter if he is 58 years old? He also happens to be preference-eligible. Are we required to do a waiver for his age, which would mean he would retire at age 78? Is there an option for him to elect the regular retirement system and work as long as he wants?  What if he’s not interested in retiring and just wants to work for a while? A: Under 5 USC 3307, agencies are…

Counting sick leave toward retirement?

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Q: Can an employee under the Civil Service Retirement System retire prior to his 55th birthday if sick leave is calculated? For instance, I will turn 55 in June, so with six months of sick leave on the books, can I retire at 54 1/2 years old without penalty? A: Sick leave cannot be added to actual service to qualify you to retire. It can only be added after you have met the age and service requirements to retire.

Will insurance pay for private care, not VA?

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Q: I am a retired federal employee and currently have health care coverage under one of the Federal Employee Health Benefits plans. I recently found out that I have multiple myeloma. I am also a Vietnam veteran, and after learning of my diagnosis, I found out that any Vietnam veteran who served on the ground in Vietnam between 1962 and 1975 and later developed certain diseases, including multiple myeloma, is presumed to have been exposed to Agent Orange herbicide and would be entitled to free health care for those diseases through the Veterans Affairs Department health care system. However, much…

Considering disability retirement

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Q: I’m 56 years old, which is my minimum retirement age, with 12 years of credible service. If I applied for disability retirement, would I receive benefits based on my years of service or the “60 percent first year, 40 percent thereafter” rule? If I would only receive the “high-3″ times years of service calculation, what would be the advantage, if any, of disability retirement? A: Because you aren’t eligible for an immediate unreduced annuity, your benefit would be calculated under disability rules. You’d receive 60 percent of your high-3 minus 100 percent of any Social Security disability benefit to…

Social Security credits and the WEP

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Q: I am a federal employee and I am also receiving Social Security benefits. I understand that when I retire and start receiving my civil service annuity, my monthly Social Security benefits will be recalculated because of the windfall elimination provision. At the time I started receiving Social Security, my number of years of substantial earnings for WEP purposes was 23. Because I am a Federal Employees Retirement System transferee, my current salary is subject to FICA. Will the years subsequent to the initial receipt of Social Security will be added to my 23 years? In other words, if I…

'Use or lose': They mean it

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Q: If I retire Jan. 31, 2012, what happens to my use-or-lose leave, since the leave year ends Dec. 31, 2011? A: The answer should be obvious. If you retire after the end of the leave year, any annual leave you have that exceeds the annual limit is lost. That’s why it’s called “use or lose” leave.

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