Monthly Archives: April, 2012

Retirement waiting period


Q. I am a federal employee under CSRS and can retire at any time. If it is now taking an average of 133 days to process retirement claims, do you have to leave while your claim is in progress? Also, will I receive checks or one check for the more than four-month waiting time? How does one survive for four months without any income? It used to be that if you retired by the 3rd of the month, you’d receive your first check the following month. A. Your retirement application can’t be sent to the Office of Personnel Management until you have…

Excess contributions


Q. I am a career federal employee with almost 41 years of service and plan to continue my federal employment well beyond 41 years. I understand that the maximum retirement benefit for CSRS employees (excluding sick leave credit) is 80 percent and to achieve that level requires 41 years,  11 months of credible service.  Since CSRS employees contribute 7 percent of their salary into their retirement fund, what happens to the 7 percent contribution after completing 41years, 11 months of service and reaching the maximum benefit of 80 percent? A. When you retire, any excess contributions will be returned to you, with…

Double dipping


Q. I am an active-duty E-9 with a retirement date of July 1. With terminal leave and permissive temporary duty, I will be leaving the service in April. Am I eligible to start work in April if selected for a GS position? Are there any restrictions to going to work for a government contractor while on terminal leave? A. Yes, you can go to work as a civilian government employee during your period of terminal leave. I don’t know if that’s true if you go to work for someone else. You’ll have to check with your personnel office.

First-year rules


Q. I’ve heard there is some sort of tax break (deduction/credit?) that may be claimed if you earned less in your first year of CSRS retirement than you earned while working. Is this true?  Local tax filers are unfamiliar with this, but then there are few federal retirees in my area. How do you claim this? Any specific tax form, etc., to use? I retired in June 2011. Would I claim it on 2011 tax year (half-year retired) or 2012 (first full year in retirement)? A. While there is no such tax break for either CSRS or FERS employees, there…

VERA and leave


Q. Our agency is offering VERA, closing at the end of the month.  My husband has 20 years of service and will be 50 years old two weeks later. Is there way for the agency to allow him to use leave or leave without pay to reach eligibility? Or would they have to extend the closing date for all employees? He’s also subject to involuntary relocation due to transfer of function if he isn’t able to do the VERA? A. VERAs have a fixed beginning date and, while they can be terminated earlier than the announced closing date, they can’t be…

CSRS Offset


Q. I am a retired federal employee covered under CSRS Offset. I am 65 and have been receiving Social Security payments since I was 62. I will be submitting a request for withdrawal of my Social Security and pay back all the Social Security that I received to date. I will be applying for new Social Security after the process is complete. My pension was reduced when I first received the Social Security payment. Once I receive the new higher Social Security payment in the future, would my pension be reduced more? A. At age 62, your annuity was permanently reduced by…

Deferring FEHB?


Q. If I’m eligible for CSRS retirement and eligible for the Federal Employees Health Benefits plan, can FEHB be optional into immediate retirement but activated later? I will retire with 33 years in CSRS and I will have primary insurance from a new job. I would like to save the money on FEHB until I leave this second job. Is it possible to defer the FEHB until five to 10 years after retiring? A. No.

Survivor annuity and Social Security


Q. I’m a CSRS employee. When I die after retirement, will my wife get full annuity payments if she is drawing Social Security, or is there a windfall elimination? A. The fact that she is receiving a Social Security benefit won’t have any effect on her entitlement to a CSRS survivor annuity.

FERS annuity


Q. I have 25 years in civil service. I have a Thrift Savings Plan account and, once I retire, do I get an annuity automatically or do I have to use the money in the TSP account to get that? Should I buy an annuity or just take a monthly payment from the TSP account? Not sure if I will have enough to retire. I heard that in FERS, the government gives an annuity and then you get TSP. But when I go to the website to estimate how much I have in the TSP, I do not see the…

Military service credit requires payment to retirement fund


In my April 2 column, I laid out some of the rules for getting credit for active-duty military service time in your federal civilian annuity. This time, I’ll explain how you can make a deposit to the Civil Service Retirement Fund — if you decide it’s to your advantage to claim any credit you are due. For most of you, the decision about making or not making a deposit to gain military service credit in your annuity will be a matter of dollars and cents. You’ll have to compare the amount you owe to the retirement fund against what you would…

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