Monthly Archives: September, 2012

Marriage and health insurance changes

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Q. I’m getting married, and my husband is already 65. Can I still put him under my health insurance, or does he have to stay with Medicare? A. Yes, you can change your coverage from self only to self and family. If you are an employee, you can do that within 60 days after your change in family status under code 1C in the Table of Permissible Changes. If you are a retiree, you can do it from 31 days before through 60 days after the change under code 2B.

Avoiding WEP

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Q. I am 69 years old. I started my Social Security benefits on my own SS earnings record at my full retirement age (66) and continued working. I am going to retire in October. I thought I could change to auxiliary spouse benefits when I decided to retire to avoid the windfall elimination provision and have been informed that I can’t make this change since I would be technically entitled on my own SSN. I was a Federal Erroneous Retirement Coverage Corrections Act case as far as my CSRS retirement was figured. According to my estimate, I will be offset…

Buyback and military retirement

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Q. I am a reservist eligible for an active-duty retirement (21 years active duty and four years reserve duty). I have not retired yet. If I obtain a federal civilian position prior to retiring from the Reserve, will I be eligible to buy back my 20+ years of active duty? Or does the fact that I am eligible for an active-duty retirement (i.e. will receive retired pay immediately after retiring from the Reserve) make me ineligible to buy back my military time? A. Yes, you could make a deposit to get credit for your active-duty service. However, to get credit…

Unused sick leave

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Q. I retired at age 62 from the Postal Service on Feb. 29, 2008, just months before enactment of the changes made to federal unused sick leave. I worked 19.5 years for the Postal Service and had 3.75 years of military service. Will I be eligible for the 1,498 hours of unused sick leave accumulated during my postal career toward my retirement pay? A. No.

CSRS Offset

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Q. I retired from the Veterans Affairs Department two years ago after 35 years of service. My service was interrupted for several years and, when I came back, it was under the CSRS Offset plan. I will turn 62 in October, but I do not want to start drawing my Social Security at that time. Will my retirement check be cut (the offset amount) even if I do not choose to start drawing my Social Security? A. The law is clear. When you become eligible for a Social Security benefit at age 62, your CSRS annuity will be reduced by…

Social Security and CSRS annuity

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Q. I am 62, and I plan to retire at the end of the year with 39 years of civilian government service. All this time, I have worked under CSRS. I have also worked part-time jobs totaling about 13 years. Given the number of year I’ve been in the government, I should receive about 77 percent of my high-3; will my CSRS retirement payment be reduced because I am eligible to receive Social Security? How does that work when you are eligible to receive benefits from both retirement plans? A. Being eligible for a Social Security benefit won’t affect your…

Federal service, service computation date and VERA

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Q. I am a civilian employee and have been continuously employed by the Department of Justice and then the Environmental Protection Agency since September 1994. I also had one year of federal service from 1986 to 1987, as a judicial law clerk for the Ninth Circuit. My pay stub says my service computation date is September 1993; however, my HR office says it is September 1994 and that the earlier year doesn’t count. First, which SCD is accurate? Or what further facts would you need to determine that? Second, when would I be eligible for a VERA, if my agency…

Maxing out retirement benefits

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Q. After how many years of federal service (all as a Department of Defense employee with military buyback) under FERS do you max out (percentage wise) for retirement? A. While there is an 80 percent limit on an earned annuity under CSRS, there isn’t one for FERS. That’s because even using the higher .011 multiplier, you’d have to have 73 years of creditable service to reach it.

Special retirement supplement and FERS

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Q. I am a 55-year-old postal worker with 33 years of service, including six years of paid-back military time (27 years without). If I take an early out or VERA under FERS with an MRA of 56, will I receive the special supplement when I turn 56? Is the requirement lowered for the special supplement to 20 years instead of 30 years of FERS time? I realize my special supplement will be based on 27 years. A. No, the minimum retirement age threshold for the special retirement supplement has remained the same since the passage of the act establishing FERS.…

Federal health benefits and re-enrolling family members

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Q. I’m a CSRS retiree under Blue Cross Family Plan 105. My wife is still working. She has just taken a new private-sector job with full health benefits. If I drop her from my FEHBP and go to self status, can I re-enroll her later under my Blue Cross coverage when she quits or retires? A. Yes, under Qualifying Life Event 2G if she loses her coverage under a nonfederal health plan.

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