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 am a U.S. Postal Service employee with almost 25 years of service. I worked nearly two years part time at a post office station doing clerical work, such as sorting and boxing mail and other related duties for two or more hours a day. Am I also eligible for those part-time years of service and, if so, who do I ask since our human resource office is under shared services now? A: Whether that time is creditable depends on the type of appointment you had. Since it may well be, you should make the effort to get in…

Q: I am a postal carrier being offered an early out. Will I be able to carry my health insurance if I have only been enrolled for three consecutive years? I have been a carrier for 31 years. I was enrolled in Federal Employees Health Benefit Plan for the first 19 years. I opted out and was covered by my husband’s plan for the next nine years. I then reinstated three years ago at age 50 to qualify for the five-year requirement for health insurance. A: Yes, you will. Because you were enrolled in the FEHB program before your agency’s…

Q: I’ve been on the rolls of Office of Workers Compensation Program for a few years. Before I was accepted on OWCP, I received disability retirements benefits from the Office of Personnel Management (for about four months) because my disability retirement was approved from the U.S. Postal Service before it was from OWCP. Being on OWCP is a neverending nightmare. I’ve had the inspector general harass me saying I could be indicted for making false statements on my 1032 that needs to be filled out each year. Three years ago two of the doctors I see stated I could or…

Q: I am wondering what the pay scale for a WG-10, Step 3 mechanic is in the Puget Sound Shipyard? A: Wage schedules are published by the Department of Defense. To find the one you are interested in, go to www.cpms.osd.mil/wage/wage.html.

Q: I am a CSRS Offset employee and will be eligible to retire in 2014, age 55 with 37 years of service. I have always heard that CSRS Offset is the cream of the crop for retirement systems, but I truly do not understand why it is better than just the Civil Service Retirement System. I understand that I will be collecting my CSRS pension from age 55-62 (when I am eligible to receive Social Security benefits), and at that time my CSRS will be offset by the Social Security benefits. My understanding is I will continue to receive the…

Q: I have been employed by the U.S. Postal Service for 30-31 years. I am thinking about retiring soon, but I am concerned because I worked in the private sector prior to the Postal Service and paid into Social Security. What happens to this money since I am under the old system and don’t pay into it? A: If you are eligible for a Social Security benefit and apply for one, that benefit will be affected by the windfall elimination provision. It reduces the Social Security benefit of anyone who receives an annuity from a retirement system where he didn’t…

Q: My husband is a Marine Reservist and is working on retiring from the military. He may take a federal government job. Will he be able to receive his military and government retirement? I wouldn’t want him to take the government job and lose the military retirement he has worked so hard for. A: Your husband would be able to continue receiving his military retired pay and any annuity he earned based on time spent in a civilian job. If he wished to do so, he could make a deposit for that period of active duty military service in determining…

Q: I retired in May at age 57 with about 24 years under 6(c) coverage in the Federal Employees Retirement System. Do I get a cost-of-living adjustment in January? A: As a special category retiree, you will be eligible a portion of the FERS COLA in January. The amount will depend on when you were actually on the annuity roll. If it was in May, you’ll receive 7/12 of the COLA; if in June, 1/2. — Reg Jones

Q: I am 46 and have 25½ years of service with the U.S. Postal Service. If I take the offer of an early retirement, do I have to wait until I am 55 years to start receiving my annuity, and will I get my annual leave hours included on my last pay check? A: Because you have at least 25 years of service, you can retire at any age if offered early retirement. You’d begin receiving your annuity immediately after you retire. However, you wouldn’t receive the special retirement supplement until you reached your minimum retirement age. The SRS approximates…

Q: I see that Social Security announced its cost-of-living adjustment for 2009, has this been determined for Civil Service Retirement System retirees? Also, has the Office of Personnel Management announced any change for the upcoming open season for retiree health benefits, such as separating current workers and retirees in health plans? A: The Social Security COLA and the CSRS COLA are the same. There are no plans to separate current workers from retirees, nor could there be without a change in the law. However, OPM has been exploring the possibility of offering different options for Medicare-eligible retirees. — Reg Jones