Monthly Archives: August, 2011

Retirement application

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Q. In your July 25 column in Federal Times,“By the calendar, 2011 makes a good year to retire,” I don’t understand the very last paragraph, which says: “So, if you decide to retire, what can you do to assure that your retirement application will be processed smoothly and quickly? Make sure your application is complete and accurate.” My application? I have to fill out a retirement application? I never heard of that. I thought my Human Resources people had all that info and they have done my calculations even though I cannot retire yet. Please explain what is meant by…

Medicare Part B

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Q. I have searched the Internet extensively and cannot find any statistics on what percentage of federal employees/retirees actually sign up for Medicare Part B coverage. Can you shed any light on this for me? A. No, I can’t. If any of you who read this have that information, let me know and I’ll share it.

FERS disability retirement

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Q. Do I count my FERS disability annuity as part of my 80 percent earnings or is it supplemental to the 80 percent I am allowed to earn prior to my retirement? A. You are limited to earnings from wages or self employment that don’t exceed 80 percent of the pay for your grade and step on the day you went on disability retirement. Other sources of income, such as your disability annuity, aren’t counted.

National Guard

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Q. I am about to retire from federal service. From 1969 to 1976, I served in the Air National Guard and the Coast Guard Reserve. When I joined the guard, I spent six months in training. Does that time count toward my federal service time? A. It does count if you were called to active duty. If it is creditable, it should be reflected in your service computation date. If it isn’t, you’ll need to check with your personnel office, which can get in touch with the Air National Guard to determine if the time is creditable.

Deferred retirement

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Q. If I have 20 years of federal service but choose to leave at age 48  to work in the private sector, will I be eligible to receive my retirement at age 50 or will it be deferred until my minimum retirement age? A. You won’t be eligible for a deferred retirement until you reach your minimum retirement age. FYI: Deferred retirees aren’t eligible for the special retirement supplement nor are they able to re-enroll in the Federal Employees Health Benefits or Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance programs.

Medicare and FEHB

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Q. I am a federal retiree who begins Medicare Part A coverage on Aug. 1. I am not taking Part B coverage, but I will be maintaining my FEHB health plan as a supplement. My question concerns coverage. Does having Medicare as my primary insurance result in my FEHB benefits for in-network providers being reduced? Specifically, if I paid a $20 co-pay in July for an in-network FEHB provider, will I now being paying more out-of-pocket in August for that same provider if Medicare, which does not have a network, is the primary and FEHB is the supplement? A. Check…

Postal retirement

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Q. I have been reading a great deal about how federal employees benefits and retirements will probably change through legislation to cut spending. Such changes may include changes to COLA calculations, averaging the high-5 and not the high-3, etc. Since the Postal Service is paid for through postal products, not tax dollars, will it be affected differently than the rest of the government? A. Only time and future legislation will give us an answer to that question. However, you need to remember that no matter where your funding comes from, most of your benefits are the ones found in Title…

Social Security under CSRS Offset

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Q. I have about 15 years under CSRS Offset and I am 55 years old. Since part of my annuity is funded through Social Security contributions, what happens to my annuity (besides a reduction in my total time in service) if I retire at say 60 or 62 before I reach full Social Security retirement age (66 and four months)? Do I receive the full CSRS calculated annuity or is it reduced by some fraction to adjust for the Social Security portion? If so, how is that calculated? A. If you are already retired, at age 62 your CSRS annuity will…

Annual leave buyback

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Q. Is there a cap on the amount of annual leave that can be bought back by the government at retirement? A. To the best of my knowledge, only the U.S. Postal Service has a limit on the number of hours of unused annual leave for which it will make a lump-sum payment.

CSRS Offset and Social Security

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Q. I retired under CSRS Offset in January. I am obliged to begin receiving Social Security at age 62 even though I would not normally request Social Security until I reached full retirement age (in my case at 66 and seven months). What effect will disbursement of Social Security beginning at age 62 have on the amount of Social Security that I will receive if I do not retire until I reach full retirement age? I know that I am subject to the earnings test for whatever income I receive between age 62 and when I formally retire. I am,…

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