Q. I am a FERS retiree since 2003. May I work as a temporary fire lookout for the same agency?

A. There is nothing that would prevent you from being rehired by your former agency if it wanted to do so. However, you need to find out what the effect of taking that job would be. As a rule, the salary of a re-employed annuitant would be reduced by the amount of his annuity. If that turns out to be the case with the temporary lookout position, you’d end up working for nothing.


About Author

Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to


  1. tseko david on

    I feel that my rights are violated by the employer because the employer was never given me a chance to talk about how I feel.

  2. I retired from the federal government in 2011. After 18 years of working as a registered nurse, I incurred an on the job injury which prevented me from working

    as an RN again due to not being able to meet the physical requirements of the job. I was required to undergo a day long physical challenge assessment which concluded I had a permanent partial disability

    and could work a sedentary job 4 hours/day. After several months, a job was located for me within the same facility which was a much lower grade of pay. I worked in that position for 15 years and

    and also a compensation check each month.

    When I was 57 1/2 years old, I decided to retire and was notified about 4 days before my actual date of leaving that I was eligible to receive workers’ comp

    benefits instead of retirement. The workers comp benefits were considerably higher.

    When my husband turned 69 years old 2 years ago, we decided to have him pick up Medicare (at a higher rate due to not signing up at age 65). We still

    had my federal BCBS insurance. We thought Medicare would now be his primary insurance. However BCBS informed us he is not eligible for Medicare

    (as a primary insurance) because as I was told “you are still employed.” I explained that I had not been employed since 2011 and had retired. They informed me I needed

    to have the agency I retired from correct this in the computer. I called the agency who stated they had nothing to do with this. I spent many hours on the

    phone contacting the Dept of Labor, OPM, Medicare, Social Security & Workers’ Comp. No one knew the answer to this question. I then called the workers’ comp nurse at the

    facility where I had worked and left many messages for her asking this question. After a few months she informed me she had been informed that I am considered

    ’employed’ because I am Workers’ Comp with the idea that I may be able to return to work. We are now paying very large amounts of money for my

    husbands’ health insurance which we wouldn’t be if Medicare was his primary insurance. (In fact the amount is even higher since BCBS raised their

    catastrophic limit from $6000 per year to $10,000 per year.) I will turn 65 in 2017 and am worried about this too. I have contacted that nurse at the

    facility where I was employed several times to see if she can give me a statement in writing that I will be considered “employed” as long as I receive

    workers comp but she never returns my calls. BCBS is now his primary insurance and Medicare is the secondary insurance. As a secondary insurance,

    it does not pay very much toward the bills and we have more to pay. We are contemplating having him drop Medicare. However, if what I have been

    told (that I am still considered employed) is not true, we may be unable to sign up for Medicare again for him and may have to pay at even a higher rate.

    I undergo medical treatment 1-2X/week continuously for this injury and it has continually become worse over the years.

    It seems a real disservice to someone who was a hard working, conscientious employee for so many years and received outstanding evaluations every year to be ‘penalized’ in this manner.

    I am asking if you can help me get to the bottom of this issue and if there is anything you can do to help me rectify this situation.

    Thank you.

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