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 have 12 years of legislative work experience (working for Congress) and 10 years of administration work experience. I’m in Federal Employees Retirement System. My question is, for FERS retirement formula, is it high 3 X 1.7% X 12 and then high 3 X 1.0% X 10? Are my 12 years of legislative experience treated with a different rate multiplier than administrative years? A: Yes, your time as a Hill staffer will be computed using the 0.017 multiplier; all additional years of service will be multiplied by 0.01.

Q: I was a GS-12, and when my organization reorganized, I was assigned to a different YA-02 position and not my original position, which was converted to a YC-02 position. I was told this was not a downgrade since I lost no pay or benefits. Now that the National Security Personnel System is ending, I understand that they must return me to my original grade and pay. The YA-02 position they assigned me to was a GS-10 before being converted to NSPS. Will they have to put me in another position that is a GS-12 since the NSPS YA-02 position…

Q: I started my federal career Oct. 16, 1983, and had a break in service of three months in 1987, which caused me to have a new service comp date of Jan. 21, 1984. However, I remained a Civil Service Retirement System employee until voluntarily changing to Federal Employees Retirement System in May 1998. I resigned from federal service in June 2004. I left my retirement money in, but withdrew all my Thrift Savings Plan money, which I rolled into an IRA. In reading through all the literature available, it is my best reasoning that I will be entitled to…

Q: I was a government employee for just over three years (2000-2003) and had accumulated a considerable amount of sick leave during that period. After five years in the private sector, I am now back with the government. Did I forfeit all of the sick leave that I had on the books when I separated in 2003, or is that sick leave transferable to my current balance? A: Your previous unused sick leave balance should be recredited to you. — Reg Jones

Q: Your recent article on the Personal Advisor in the Nov. 2 issue of Federal Times described retirement benefits. You note that in 1983, “Those already covered by [Civil Service Retirement System] had the option of electing full coverage under both CSRS and Social Security …” However, your description doesn’t seem to recognize the Windfall Elimination Provision, such that those who elected to be covered by both get the severe reduction on their Social Security from the WEP. Is my understanding correct, or is something on WEP changed? I understand that I will get the WEP reduction on my Social…

Q: I am a retired Civil Service Retirement System annuitant who is currently employed in the private sector. Due to the economic downturn, I am going to have to work longer than I had planned and have been tentatively offered a job with the government. I know that previously, if I returned to work for the government, my salary would be reduced by the amount of my annuity, i.e., I would only draw a salary for the difference. I saw an article that indicated this might be changing with the new Defense Authorization Bill that the president was expected to…

Q: My son has recently been dropped from my health care because he reached the age of 22. I have heard that there might be an extension of health benefits for dependents. Has there been any decision on this? Also, are there any provisions of adding dependents after the open health benefits period, which is approaching. A: Extending the age at which dependents may be covered by the Federal Employees Health Benefits program would require a change in the law. Although such a change was proposed by the previous Office of Personnel Management director, Congress has so far has taken…

Q: I am a federal employee with almost 50 years of service. Are the excess contributions that I have made since reaching the 80 percent maximum at 41 years, 11 months, taxable when I retire? A: Any refund of excess contributions you made to the retirement fund won’t be taxable. You already paid taxes on them. On the other hand, any interest you receive will be taxable. — Reg Jones

Q: The new Defense Authorization Act gives full credit to Federal Employes Retirement System employees for their unused sick leave if they retire after Jan. 1, 2014. I know that the new law also allows FERS employees to get credit for half of the unused sick leave if an employee chooses to retire before Jan. 1, 2014. But what happens if you will reach your mandatory retirement age under the 6-C law enforcement coverage before 2014? Your assistance is appreciated. A: Without exception, any FERS employee who retires voluntarily or involuntarily before Jan. 1, 2014, will only get credit for…

Q: I was drafted in January 1966 spent 1967 in Vietnam. I have been a civil servant with the Defense Department since April 1985. I’m 63 and would like to retire in the next 3 years. To have the 18 months of my Vietnam service added to my retirement, I have to pay back with interest the money I made during those 18 months. Why does the government hate me so much for going to Vietnam, that they would want all their money paid back with interest? A: For Federal Employees Retirement System employees, there are no exceptions to the…

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