Q: Reimbursement for Federal Employees Retirement System sick leave was being processed thru Congress, but it seems to have dropped out of sight after the House. Would you provide an update on this issue? A: Congressman Jim Moran did introduce a bill that would reimburse retiring employees for unused sick leave. However, in a surprise move that bill was converted into an amendment which would grant retirement credit for that leave. That amendment was attached to HR 1108, the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, and passed by the House on Aug. 1. On its arrival in the Senate,…

Q: I was reinstated to my present federal agency. During the time I was gone, I worked for another federal agency. I was finally credited with the annual leave I was due because with the reinstatement, I passed 15 years of service while with the second agency. On my statement of earnings and leave, my max carryover was increased from 240 hours to 334 hours. Is there a time limit in which I have to use the extra carryover? Or will I retain this level of carryover until I retire or take enough annual leave in a year to eat…

Q: I worked for the Social Security Administration from 1966 through 1973, at which time I became disabled. I have not been employed since that time, and have been receiving a Civil Service Retirement System disability annuity. In April 2009, I will be 62, will my annuity be recomputed? My husband is 71 and receives a Social Security pension. Would my annuity be affected if in the future, if I were to collect a widow’s benefit through my husband’s benefit? A: No, your annuity won’t be computed at age 62. While your annuity won’t be affected if you become eligible…

Q: My friend who works for the Veterans Administration was recently subpoenaed to testify for the prosecution in a federal case. She had to take three days off from work and fly from the West Coast to the east. She’s being told that she has to use annual leave for this event, and there is no pay for this as in jury duty. Is this correct? A: Your friend is entitled to court leave if she was summoned as a witness in a judicial proceeding in which the federal, state, or local government is a party. Whether that fits her…

Q: I am a U.S. Postal Service employee and I will be retiring Dec. 31, under the early out option. The related annuity estimate I received as part of that offer lists the annuitant monthly premium for basic Federal Employee Group Life Insurance as $116.37. But the reference manual says I will pay “the same regular Basic premium that active employees pay,” which for postal employees is zero. There is also a chart included that says the premium would be $0.3358 for $1,000 coverage (for me, that’s about $5,4000, calculating out to about $17/month). So which of these premiums is…

Q: I am a letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service with 28 years of service. Is money taken out of my overtime pay for retirement contribution? My retirement is based strictly on my high-three taken from straight time hours only, and does not take overtime hours into consideration. Trying to figure out the taxes and other withdrawals from my check is over my head, but it seems like I don’t pay any less in withdrawals in my overtime hours than I do when I only work straight time. If so, where does the money go? Am I contributing toward…

Q: I have 23 (22 continuous) years federal service under the Federal Employees Retirement System. I am currently age 47. Should I be involuntarily separated, will I be penalized 5 percent a year for each year I am under 56 (my minimum retirement age as I was born in 1961)? Am I entitled to health benefits, as well as my annuity commencing on the day of involuntary separation? A: Based on your age and service, you wouldn’t be eligible to retire. So, unless you later returned to government service, your only option would be to apply for a deferred annuity…

Q: I will turn 70½ in 2009. I’m under the impression I have to start withdrawals from my Thrift Savings Plan in 2009, but I was recently told by a friend that TSP changed the required withdrawal date, and I do not have to start required distributions until age 72. I cannot find this information on the TSP Web site. Can you tell me if this is true? A: I know of no such change. If you are retired, your first required minimum distribution must be calculated for 2009, but you don’t have to take it until April 2010. You…

Q: I will be 55 in January and eligible to retire under the Civil Service Retirement System with 36 years of service. What would be the best day to retire if I stay until March or April at the latest? I’ve always heard about the third of the month. How will the date affect my annuity? A: As a CSRS employee, you can retire up to the third of any month and be on the annuity roll in that month. Each day you delay retiring after the last day of the preceding month will reduce that month’s annuity payment by…

Q: What’s the law concerning when a spouse can be added to a health insurance plan before or after retirement? I have had continuous federal health coverage for more than five years. I will be retiring in the next few years, and my wife just landed a federal job. I have been carrying her on my policy, but we may get two separate health plans because it is cheaper. However, she does not know if she will continue to work for the feds toward her retirement or go back into the private sector. Either way, can I add her to…

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