Monthly Archives: January, 2012

Penalties for early retirement


Q. I have a question about early outs. I am 53 and have 25 years of Federal Employees Retirement System service. If an offer is made in 2012, will I be penalized for the number of years I am under age 62? Reading the past posts, I am confused. Also, are health benefits based on the non-postal rate for federal employees? Is unused sick leave added to the annuity or years of service in the coming year? A. Retiring CSRS employees are penalized for being under regular retirement age; retiring FERS employees aren’t. The premium rates for retired Postal Service…

Figuring out primary, secondary coverage


Q. I plan to retire in a few years. I am currently 67 years old, participate in the Federal Employees Health Benefit Plan with Blue Cross Blue Shield and am enrolled in Medicare Part A, which is free and required at 65. I do not wish to participate in Medicare Part B because, from the way I see it, I would be paying for two primary insurers even when I retire. Am I entitled to continue with my FEHB as my primary coverage, and would I be entitled to the same choices as though I were still working for the…

Part B decision depends on costs, benefits


Q. I am 62, and will be retiring from the Postal Service within three months, rather unexpectedly. We will be continuing with my current Blue Cross Blue Shield plan for annuitants. My wife is 65, and declined Medicare Part B since I was still working. Will it be necessary for her to sign up for Part B, or will the continued Federal Employees Health Benefit plan suffice? A. She doesn’t have to sign up for Medicare Part B. However, before she makes up her mind, the two of you need to weigh the potential costs and benefits of that decision.…

Retirement at age 50?


Q. I’ve been with the Postal Service for 22 years and am 49 years old. I’ve started a new career. Can I retire next year at age 50? Will I be eligible for any retirement money? A. No, you cannot retire at age 50. In fact, the earliest you would be able to retire is when you reach your minimum retirement age, which is 56. Even then you would be retiring under the MRA+10 provision (minimum retirement age with at least 10 but fewer than 30 years of service). At retirement, your annuity would be reduced by 5 percent for…

How would VERA/VSIP affect retirement pay?


Q. I am a Civil Service Retirement System/Federal Employees Retirement System offset employee with 31 years of service, and I have been offered Voluntary Early Retirement Authority and Voluntary Separation Incentive Payments (VERA/VSIP). I would like to know how a VERA/VSIP would affect my retirement. I have been depositing the maximum in my TSP account, and I see that the government is not required to match it. Does government matching or not matching my deposit depend on the agency I work for? A. To estimate what your annuity would be, use the formulas for each retirement system: FERS: 0.01 x…

Creditable academy time


Q. My Civilian Personnel Activity Center office is questioning whether my service academy time is creditable toward my service computation date based on the fact that my type of separation (dismissal) and character of service (not applicable). My discharge is not honorable or dishonorable, but I didn’t think it mattered for service academy time because I wasn’t commissioned yet. Any documentation to show my CPAC office would be much appreciated. A. Section 1115 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2008 explicitly made academy time creditable for retirement purposes and should be included when setting that service computation date.  Although not…

Creditable military service and leave accrual


Q. I am retired from the Coast Guard with 22 years of service. I now work for the Bureau of Prisons in the Department of Justice as GL09. When hired, human resources told me I would get eight hours of leave per pay period, or 26 days per year. I received my first leave statement and it shows only four hours per pay period. HR said it made a mistake and four is all I can get unless I can show I have the Expeditionary Medal, in which case I may get six hours per pay period. What is the…

Health insurance


Q. My husband and I are both federal employees. He was a postal worker for 13 years and then transferred to a job at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. We are close to retirement, within four or five years. He is on my health care (family plan) and has been for 13 years, which is how long we have been married. Does he have to have his own insurance five years prior to retirement? I have carried a family plan for at least 19 years. A. An employee only needs to be enrolled in or covered by the Federal Employees…

Standby Premium and FLSA in high-3?


Q. I am a Federal Employees Retirement System non-law enforcement officer (1811) employee who receives Standby Premium and Fair Labor Standards Act pay. I can retire at age 56, when I will have 33 years of service. In calculating my high-3 average, will Standby Premium and/or FLSA pay be included in the average? A. An employee’s basic pay is used to calculate his high-3. To see what’s included and excluded from basic pay, go to

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