Retirement and health benefits

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Q. I started with the U.S. Postal Service in May 1994 as an rural carrier associate. I became a regular employee in 2001. If I quit my job, would I lose my health benefits? What about any of my other benefits?

A. If you quit your job before being eligible for an immediate annuity, your health and life insurance coverage would continue for 31 days at no expense to you. You would be able to continue your health benefits at your own expense under the temporary continuation of coverage provision. You would have the option of converting your life insurance coverage to a private policy, also at your own expense. If you have fewer than 20 years of creditable service, you’d be able to apply for a deferred annuity at age 62. If you had at least 20 years of service you could apply at age 60. In neither case would you be eligible to enroll in the health benefits or life insurance programs. Note: Because you have at least 10 years of covered service, you could apply for a deferred annuity under the MRA+10 provision; however, your annuity would be reduced by 5 percent for every year you were younger than age 62.

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About Author

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

4 Comments

  1. I have been receiving a FERS disability annuity retirement since 2008, but in May 2017 turned age 62. The Age 62 Annuity that I received from OPM was less than I thought it should be. I asked OPM to show me their calculations. It took two years to get them to give me their calculations of my Age 62 annuity payment.
    I noticed that they did not apply one COLA to my high three salary, and asked why they did not use that one COLA. OPM said that the law doesn’t allow disability retirement annuitants to receive COLA’s until they have been retired for more than one year, so my first COLA did not get included in my high three salary adjustment. The OPM website, and their Disability handbook states that all COLA’s will be used to recompute the Annuity at age 62. Any ideas why they would have denied my COLA adjustment?

    • No,I don’t have any idea. I suggest you ask OPM to show you in writing why that first year wasn’t included.

  2. I worked as csrs employee for 15 years. During those years I did not participate in the medical insurance benefits. I left the federal service, and worked 15 years. I then returned to federal service, and immediately signed up for medical benefits. Questions: (1) How would I calculate my retirement pension?
    (2) is my understanding correct that I need to have participated in the medical benefits for 5 years in order to keep the benefits into retirement?
    (3) where might I find an expert to consult regarding retirement benefits when an individual has had many breaks in service?

    • 1) Your retirement annuity would be based on the CSRS formula:
      .015 X your high-3 X 5 years of service, plus
      .0175 X your high-3 X 5 years of service, plus
      .02 X your high-3 X all remaining years of service
      Your high-3 would be determined by adding the basic pay you received during the 78 consecutive months of service preceding your retirement.

      2) Yes, you would need to have been enrolled in the FEHB program for the 5 consecutive years preceding your retirement.

      3) Your best bet would be to contact NARFE (the National Association of Active and Retired Employees). There may be a chapter in you area. If so, they may be able to put you in touch with someone who can help you.

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