Author Reg Jones

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

Q. I’m a 58-year-old FERS retiree who worked as a GS-1811. Can I be rehired as a GS-391? A. Yes, if you meet the qualification requirements. However, as a rule the salary of your new position would be reduced by the amount of your annuity. On top of that, your special retirement supplement would be reduced or stopped because of the annual Social Security earnings limitation. In 2019, that limit is $17,640.

Q. I’ve just been offered a job in a federal agency. Because I’m an Army retiree, I’ve been told that I won’t get any credit for that time in determining my annual leave accrual rate. It doesn’t seem right that I won’t get any credit while others who served less time and didn’t retire do get credit for their time. Why is that? A. When it enacted the Dual Compensation Act in 1964, Congress adopted a compromise between the view that retired members should receive preference and full credit for their service and the view that there should be no…

Q. I’ve been talking with people who are already federal employees. Some of them are covered by FERS and others by CSRS. If I’m hired, will I automatically be enrolled in FERS or will I be able to choose which system I’ll be in? A. You won’t be offered a choice. All federal employees first hired on or after Jan. 1, 1987, and most employees first hired after Dec. 31, 1983, are automatically covered by FERS.

Q. I’m planning to retire from the U.S. Postal Service in October. I have no spouse who would be eligible for a survivor annuity. However, I do have a daughter. I would like for her to get my retirement pay. I worked hard for it and I don’t want it going back to the post office as unclaimed income. A. While you cannot name your daughter to receive a survivor annuity, you could elect to provide her with what is known as an insurable interest annuity, but only if you are in good health when you retire. If you make…

Q. I’ve reached my minimum retirement age and have 29 years under FERS. I have more than 2,400 hours of sick leave. Will the sick leave time be added to my actual service and make me eligible to retire? A. No, it won’t. Sick leave is only added after you have reached the right combination of years and service to retire on an immediate annuity.

Q. I am a reserve solder with 29 years of active duty and have six years until I am eligible for mandatory retirement. Upon completion of my current deployment, I will likely go back to a government civilian job. My understanding is that I can buy back all my years and do an additional 5-plus years of civilian service and retire with both checks intact. I can collect my military retirement when eligible and still work in a civilian capacity until I completely retire from the workforce. Is that correct? A. Only active duty service which meets the definitions found…

Q. Are temporary civil service position (Tenure-0 , Position Occupied-1) creditable service toward leave accrual? A. According to OPM, “A temporary employee with an appointment of less than 90 days is entitled to accrue annual leave only after being currently employed for a continuous period of 90 days under successive appointments without a break in service.”

Q. I’m going to retire and will receive a lump-sum payment for my unused annual leave. How is that payment calculated? Is it accumulated hours x current hourly wage? Is this considered unearned income? How is it taxed? A. Your lump sum annual leave payment would be based on the hourly rate of basic pay you would have received if you had remained on the job. If you retire before an annual pay adjustment becomes effective, any hours before that change will be computed at the old rate and those after the change at the new rate. Any step increase…

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