Monthly Archives: October, 2011

Immediate retirement

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Q: I am 55 and have 28 years of service under FERS. I was involuntarily downgraded in 2002 from a GS-7 position (step 7) to a GS-4 position (step 00) with safe pay, no step increases in the 10 years since this happened, and receiving only half the cost of living. This occurred because of a contracting study which was done and in which my directorate won the study over the bidding contractors followed by a handful of directorate employees choosing who would leave the directorate and be involuntarily placed into whatever was chosen for them. I received no assistance…

Offset trigger

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Q: I retired from civil service at 55. I have been working in the private sector. I just turned 62 and plan on continuing to work and not collect Social Security benefits until I retire altogether. When can I expect a reduction in my CSRS Offset annuity? A: Since you have just turned 62, the offset should occur in your next annuity payment. The offset will be made regardless of whether apply for a Social Security benefit and will be equal to the amount of benefit you earned while employed under CSRS Offset.

Buying back military time

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Q: I am thinking about buying back my 20 years of active-duty time to make a deposit. I am a 100-percent combat-disabled vet. I read in the FERS handbook under Creditable Military Service that under certain conditions someone receiving retired military pay may receive that pay and full civilian annuity, but only if a deposit is made to the civilian retirement system for that period of active-duty service. To be eligible, the employee who is receiving retired military pay must have been awarded it (a) on account of service-connected disability incurred in combat with an enemy of the United States…

Disability benefits

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Q: I’m a dual-status federal/military technician in the Air National Guard. I have eight years of active duty with the remainder in the ANG for a combined total of just more than 20 years of military service. I’m going before a medical board because of service-connected disabilities (VA rated at 70 percent). Soon after the board, I will be separated from the ANG and retire from my technician position on FERS disability. Assuming my military disability rating will come back at 30 percent or more, will I be eligible for immediate concurrent receipt of all military disability pay, VA disability…

Re-employment after buyout

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Q: I am 62 and I was a USDA-ARS employee who took a buyout in July and retired. I’m a qualified Wildland  Firefighter with a Red Card. If I were to join a crew, paid for by a state entity with pay coming from FEMA, headed to fight fire or work on flooding and hurricane duty for about two weeks, is that against OPM guidelines? I’m finding it hard to get an answer. They are asking for letters explaining payment of work. Hard to explain, since there are no contracts that I know of, only requests for crews who go…

How the first COLA in 2 years will be paid

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For the first time since 2009, many retirees and survivors will receive a cost-of-living adjustment to their annuities beginning in January. For those covered by the Civil Service Retirement System, the COLA will be 3.6 percent; for those covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System, 2.6 percent. The Office of Personnel Management uses the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W), as published monthly by the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, to determine COLAs. COLAs for both CSRS and FERS are based on the percentage increase in the CPI-W for the July-September quarter compared with…

Multiple survivor benefits

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Q. I am a federal retiree, and have recently married a woman whose ex-husband (also a federal retiree) assigned ex-spouse survivor benefits to her. (They divorced while he was stilll employed.) She is older than 55, so the age at remarriage is not an issue. I intend to provide at least some sort of survivor benefit for her, so that she will be able to continue health benefits after my death. If I die first, will she be able to select her ex-husband’s (higher) survivor annuity upon his death? (I assume she cannot receive both. ) If both her ex…

Retirement buyback

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Q. I left the government in 1984 (after eight years of service) and cashed out my retirement. I then came back in 1985, as a term employee with no retirement, until 1989 when I obtained a permanent position. Thinking I would only be with the government several more years I converted from CSRS Offset to FERS for the TSP matching. Ten years later, I made a deposit (based on OPM calculations) to buy into CSRS for the time I was a term employee and have those years count toward my years in service. I was advised at the time, not…

Cashing in annual leave

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Q. I have an employee who works for me (CSRS) who recently had a preretirement conference with HR. He is a postal worker who is able to carry over 440 hours of earned annual leave from year to year. He plans to retire at the end of this year which ends Dec. 31 or possibly Jan. 2, which would place him in the following leave year. His question is, if he carried over 440 hours of annual leave from 2010 into 2011, and earned another 208 hours of additional annual leave this year, and retired prior to the end of…

Early retirement / Social Security

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Q. I am 50 years old with 25 years of service (FERS). There is talk of an early retirement being offered later this year. If I were to take an early retirement would I receive the Social  Security supplement? A. You wouldn’t be eligible to receive the special retirement supplement until you reach your minimum retirement age. Since you were born between 1953 and 1964, your MRA is 56.

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