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. What are the chances of the windfall elimination provision being eliminated? A. Not very good. Here’s why: Before the law was changed in 1983, employees who worked in jobs not covered by Social Security had their benefits computed as if they were long-term, low-wage workers. As a result, they received the advantage of a higher percentage of Social Security benefits plus their other annuity. The modified formula used to compute the benefits of those who have fewer than 30 years of substantial earnings under Social Security eliminated this windfall.

Q. I was 56 years old with 33 years total government service and retired regular FERS then applied for Social Security Disability Insurance and was approved with back pay after the first 6 months of my retirement date. I only got $685 of my special retirement supplement because several of those years was active duty, which I repaid within the first 36 months of my career at the U.S. Postal Service. Now I am wondering what will happen to my annuity when I turn 62 and my SRS is eliminated. A. At age 62, your special retirement supplement will end;…

Q. I’m a FERS employee. I understand that when I retire I will have two survivor annuity options, either 50 percent or 25 percent of my full annuity. What does “full annuity” mean? Does it mean that my wife will get 50 percent of what my annuity would be before the 10 percent reduction to pay for it, or will she get 50 percent after the 10 percent is taken out to pay for the full survivor annuity? A. If you die, she would get 50 percent of what your annuity would have been if your annuity hadn’t been reduced…

Q. I’m a FERS employee who is thinking of retiring and wondering if there is anything that precludes me from retiring one day and coming back to work as a federal employee the next? A. If you met the age and service requirements to retire on an immediate annuity, your annuity would continue; however, the salary of your new position would be offset by the amount of that annuity. Further, any lump-sum payment for unused annual leave you received would have to be returned to your former agency. Note: If you received a buyout payment, that money would also have…

Q. I will have 20 years 6(c) time on Jan. 10, 2020. I will be 45 years old. I am buying back 9 years of active-duty military time. When I hit 20 years 6c, can I retire, although I know that I won’t be able to start collecting retirement pay until I’m 50? A. If you left government after you had 20 years of covered service, you wouldn’t be eligible for a deferred annuity until you reach your minimum retire age (MRA), which is 57. That annuity would be computed using the more generous formula for law enforcement officers. Any…

Q. I’m a FERS employee who is eligible to retire at age 56 with 32 years of service. However, I’m planning to work until age 62. What happens to the special retirement supplement? Do I lose it completely? A. The special retirement supplement is designed to bridge the gap between when you retire and age 62 when you are first eligible for a Social Security benefit. If you retire at 62 or later, you won’t be entitled to that benefit.

Q. I’m 58 years old and will be retiring at the end of the year. I’ll be keeping my FEHB coverage. Currently, my wife – who is 52 years old – is covered under my FEHB plan. When I reach age 65, I will be covered by Medicare as my primary health provider, while my FEHB plan will be my secondary health provider. Will my wife continue to be under my FEHB plan as her primary provider? A. Since she won’t be old enough to qualify for Medicare, she’ll continue to be covered by your FEHB plan.

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