Basic benefit contribution of FERS

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Q. Is there any way for me to opt out of the Basic Benefit offered in FERS? I just started as a GS employee. I did not realize that the Basic Plan will require me to contribute 4.4 percent of my income to a retirement plan that pays 1 percent per year served. Please check my math. Does that mean I will have to draw retirement for a minimum of 4.4 years before I break even on these payments? That is without considering any growth rate on these funds.

Career change

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Q. I worked for the post office for 12 years (1988-2000). I resigned and now work in law enforcement. When I retire from my job at age 55, will I receive a retirement check from the post office as well for the years I worked there? A. If you didn’t ask for a refund of your retirement contributions when you left, you’d be entitled to a deferred FERS annuity at age 62.

CSRS retirement

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Q. I realize the answer to my question depends on the tax rate of the individual, but assuming their income is exclusively from their pension, how many years would a CSRS retiree need to work (excluding the effect of sick leave) in order to bring home approximately the same pay after retirement? In other words, what deductions will cease at retirement? Medicare? CSRS payments? The other variable is how much they are having deducted for the TSP every year. If it’s 10 percent, and that ceases at retirement, then I can see a person taking home 100 percent at about…

Sick leave and retirement

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There’s a lot of confusion about what happens to your unused sick leave when you retire. In short, the more sick leave you have, the bigger your annuity will be. But before I get into how much bigger and how that’s done, I want to share a little history with you. Once upon a time, Civil Service Retirement System employees didn’t get any credit for their unused sick leave when they retired. When the Congress discovered that employees nearing retirement were burning off that leave at bonfire levels, the law was changed so that they could. However, when Federal Employees…

Locality pay

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Q. Is your retirement based off of the General Schedule Base or the Base with locality pay? A. Your annuity will be based on your basic rate of pay, which includes locality pay.

Survivor benefit

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Q. I am a federal employee who will retire under CSRS. I also get Social Security. My wife will also will retire soon under CSRS. If I die, can she get my Social Security benefits? A. Her Social Security survivor benefit would be subject to the government pension offset provision of law, which will reduce it by $2 for every $3 she receives in her CSRS annuity. In most cases, the GPO wipes out that benefit.

LEO combined with regular service

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Q. When I meet my MRA, I plan to retire with 31 years of federal service. The first nine years I worked in law enforcement. How will this affect my retirement? Will I be eligible to draw 1.7 percent for the nine years and 1 percent for the rest of my federal service?

Workers’ compensation

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Q. I work for the postal service. Can I buy back the time I was on workers’ compensation? Does it count toward my retirement? A. Because you weren’t approved for disability retirement, the time you spent on workers’ compensation will be treated as Leave Without Pay and will be fully creditable for determining your length of service and used in the computation of your annuity. No deposit is required for you to get than credit.

CSRS Offset

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Q. I am a federal employee hired in June 1981 and I have been working for government continuously since then. I am enrolled in CSRS. I served in the Navy from September 1973 to September 1977. What affect will CSRS Offset have on my retirement? I have 34 quarters of Social Security contributions, 16 while in the Navy and 18 before I started my civil service career. I do not plan on ever collecting Social Security. I do not want to go back to work once I retire just to get a minimum benefit from Social Security. A. If you…

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