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:As I understand it, postmasters will be offered the voluntary early retirement. I am 56 and have 22-plus years. I have only had health coverage since May 24. I had been covered under my husband’s health insurance until his retirement and he did not continue it. Since this was considered a life changing event, I was allowed to take out insurance then. What are my chances of the requirement for five years’ coverage being waived for voluntary early retirement in this situation? A: You should be eligible for a waiver of the five-year requirement if you were enrolled in the…

Q: I have worked for the Veterans Affairs Department for 43½ years. I worked from Sept. 15, 1963, to Sept. 15, 1966, and drew out my retirement of $525. I returned to work in March 1967. They pro rated my time to March 15, 1967, which gives me the 43½ years of service. Do I need to pay back my retirement that I drew out? How much would it cost me? I have to work for two or three more years. I work nights, weekends and holidays with some overtime. I am sure I make more working than I would…

Q: I read your article in the Sept. 8 paper concerning the CSRS Offset [“CSRS Offset: The basics”]. I am an employee who transferred to the Federal Employees Retirement System from the Civil Service Retirement System. I have more than nine years of CSRS service. I have more than 20 years of FERS service and 25 years of fully qualifying Social Security payments. Do the same rules apply concerning CSRS Offset apply to me as to individuals who are fully in the CSRS? My understanding is that to escape the CSRS Offset, a regular CSRS employee would need 30 years…

Q: I have two questions. First, I am retired from the U.S. Postal Service, civil service and my Social Security payment on my husband’s Social Security account is reduced because of the windfall elimination provision. I heard from someone that the reduction in my Social Security benefits cannot be more than half of the amount of my pension. Is that true? My second question, is, is it true that the windfall elimination provision does not apply to survivor benefits? A: First, your spousal Social Security benefit wasn’t reduced because of the windfall elimination provision; it was reduced because of the…

Q: I am 59 years old, and I left the U.S. Postal Service in May with plans to collect my retirement under the postponed retirement policy when I turn 60. Now the Postal Service is offering early outs. Would I be able to apply for my unreduced retirement benefits now or do I still need to wait until I am 60 since I am out already? A: Since you are already retired, you aren’t eligible for voluntary early retirement. That option is only available to current employees covered by your agency’s Office of Personnel Management-approved authority. — Reg Jones

Q: I am a 55-year-old nurse who has been working full time with Veterans Affairs for 20 years. What is the minimum retirement age for me to retire with full health benefits? Also, if I were to continue working part time for the next five years, how would this affect my annuity and benefits? A: As for your first question, you’ve mixed two unrelated things together. To be eligible to retire under the Federal Employees Retirement System with an unreduced annuity, you would need to meet one of the following age and service combinations, which match your situation: at your…

Q: I’m planning to retire from the U.S. Postal Service in June, with 40 years of service under my belt. My questions are: First, over the years in my service, I had surgeries and a heart attack. A lot of the time that I used was leave without pay. The leave sharing program was not installed at the time I was out. Do I have to pay back or work off the hours that I used many years ago when I was sick? Second question is: I am a single parent and grandmother. I have no spouse or friend that…

Q: I am a federal retiree covered by the Civil Service Retirement System. I receive a pension and Social Security check. I was vested in Social Security before my government employment. I was, however, rather surprised by how much my SS annuity was reduced by my government employment, especially as I was already vested. My question is about my wife. She was a Maryland state employee who quit after I retired so we could move to North Carolina. She will receive a small state annuity. Since she paid into Social Security as a state employee, she will also receive a…

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