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 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.

Q. I am a recently retired regular army officer. If I accept a GS position with the government, will I forfeit some of my retirement? A. The choice is up to you. If you take that job, you’ll have the option of making a deposit to the civilian retirement system to get credit for your active-duty service in determining your years of civilian service and have it used in your annuity computation. Then when you retired from your civilian job, you’d have to waive your military retired pay. Doing so would have no affect on any other benefits you are…

Q. I recently retired and received a Voluntary Separation Incentive Payment. If I get another government position, will I be required to pay back the buyout money I received? A. Yes. If you received a buyout and later accept a paying job with the federal government within 5 years of the date of the separation on which that buyout is based, including work under a personal services contract or other direct contract, you must repay the entire amount to the agency that paid it to you before your first day of re-employment.

Q. I retired from the Civil Service Retirement System in 2012, and was divorced at the time. My ex-wife won’t receive a survivor annuity based on my divorce decree. I am going to get remarried this summer and will elect full survivor annuity for my new wife. I know my monthly annuity will be reduced, but I want to know if the reduction would be the same as if I had been married all these years, or will there be an additional amount deducted to make up for the years since I retired? A. If you marry and elect to…

Q. I’m on CSRS disability retirement. I’ll soon be 60 years of age. Am I obligated to report any earnings I make after I turn 60? I’m under the impression that when I turn 60 some things change. A. Yes. From the point you go on disability retirement to age 60, you are subject to periodic medical re-evaluation to determine if you are still disabled. There is also an annual review of your earnings to determine if you are restored to earning capacity. However, after you reach age 60 those are no longer required.

Q. In 2005, I resigned from my position as a civil servant and didn’t ask for a refund of my retirement contributions. At the time I was 51 and had 24 years of service. Do I have any options in order to receive a retirement benefit based on my 24 years of service? A. Because you have at least 20 years of service but fewer than 30, you can apply for a deferred annuity at age 60. That annuity will be based on the average of your highest three consecutive years of basic pay and your total years and full…

Q. I’m a 60-year-old CSRS employee with 38 years of service. I plan on working another few years. If I die before I retire, will my wife automatically receive a full survivor annuity? I plan on selecting a full survivor annuity when I do retire, but wonder what would happen if I die before that. A. If you die before retiring, your widow would automatically receive a full survivor annuity. The only exception to this rule is if there is a court order for a former spouse that would result in part or all of that benefit going to him…

Q. I’m a FERS employee who is planning to retire in December of this year. When is the best day to do that? A. Because you are a FERS employee, you’ll have to retire no later than the last day of a month to be on the annuity roll in the following month. If you retire at the end of business on Dec. 21, you’ll have satisfied that requirement and be entitled to any annual and sick leave you earned during that pay period. If you retire after that date but before Jan. 1, you wouldn’t have worked for a…

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