Q. I have been a postal worker since April 1991, and I plan to retire in August 2013. At that time, I’ll be at my minimum retirement age — 56 years with 32 years of service. The service will be made up of 22 years of Postal Service time and 10 years military time, which I bought back in 1992. Upon retirement, I understand that I’ll receive a Basic Benefit Plan (1 percent per year for every year of service), special retirement supplement (until age 62) and Thrift Savings Plan. I was told by Postal Service human resources that my military time will be used as time in service to calculate the Basic Benefit Plan annuity but will not be used as time in service to calculate the special retirement supplement. If this is the case, I’ll only have 22 years of service at my MRA, which will make me ineligible to receive the special retirement supplement. I was referred to the FERS Handbook RI 90-1 to see the eligibility for retirement. From what I read in RI 90-1, the time in service requirements for the Basic Benefit Plan and the special retirement supplement are the same. If this is true, why would USPS HR not include my military time to calculate the special retirement supplement? Will my military time be used to calculate the special retirement supplement? If not, where can I find documentation to substantiate this?
A. Your HR office is correct. The special retirement supplement is paid by the Office of Personnel Management, not the Social Security Administration. Therefore, by law, it is based solely on your years as a civilian employee under FERS. It cannot include other Social Security-covered service, even active-duty service for which a deposit has been made. For more information about how the SRS in calculated, go to www.opm.gov/retire/pubs/handbook/C051.pdf.