Q: I have 28½ years in as a federal employee under the Civil Service Retirement System. I have more than 2,400 hours of sick leave built up. I turned 61 years old in May. I have enough credits working in the private sector to qualify for Social Security when I turn 62 in 2009. Will the sick time apply toward my 30 years, and if I decide to draw Social Security at 62, how much will it affect my CSRS annuity or the deductions from my Social Security? If I decide to retire and decide to get a part time…

Q: With the end of the group policy long term care insurance this year, it is my understanding that the Office of Personnel Management will replace the group policy with another. I have had this insurance for a number of years at a fixed rate. When the new group policy takes effect, will I still pay the same amount with the same benefits or is this an opportunity for my premium rates to change? This concerns me, I really don’t need my rates to go up at this time, however, it would be beneficial if they went down or stayed…

Q: I am a Federal Employees Retirement System employee with the Prison Bureau (mandatory retirement at 57). My husband and I own ranch/farmland as an investment. After I retire, will the income from these operations be considered applicable for the Social Security earnings limit ($13,560 in 2008)? We have almost always shown a net loss on this operation in income tax reporting. A: The Social Security earnings limit only applies to earning from wages or self-employment. If you report the income on your federal taxes and Social Security taxes are deducted from any of it, that portion would be counted…

Q: I am a retired civil service employee. If I choose to seek employment with the Transportation Security Administration, what will the effect be on my current retirement annuity? What will the effect be if I become employed by TSA and later choose to retire again? A: What happened would depend on the position into which you were rehired. If it was a regular position, your salary would be reduced by the amount of your annuity. If you made a deposit to the retirement fund, you’d be able to receive a supplemental annuity if you were employed for at least…

Q: I work for the U.S. Postal Service, which has always had substantial overtime available. I have been told that overtime worked does not contribute to my retirement annuity. Why does it not contribute toward my retirement annuity as other civil service jobs do? It appears that the same amount is still taken out in taxes, so where does the money go? Do I theoretically get it back at the end of the year in my tax return? A: By law, federal annuities are calculated using basic pay, and retirement deductions are only taken out of that amount. They aren’t…

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…

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