Q. My wife and I are retired federal workers and currently enrolled in FEHB. I will be eligible for Tricare in January 2020. Do I to wait for next open season to be able to cancel/suspend FEHB coverage or can I cancel/suspend when I become Tricare Eligible? A. According to OPM, “If the documentation showing your eligibility for TRICARE is received within the period beginning 31 days before and ending 31 days after the date you designate as the day you want to use TRICARE or CHAMPVA instead of FEHB coverage, the suspension becomes effective at the end of the…

Q. I’m 59 (60 in September of this year) and have over 20 years of service. I also have a degenerative disc disease, need total knee replacement. My job has accommodated my work life to allow work from home because I cannot navigate the large building. I want to medically retire, but haven’t a clue where to start. A. Your agency personnel office is required to help you through the steps needed to apply for disability retirement. However, if you reach age 60 during the process, you will have met the age and service requirement for voluntary retirement. Then your…

Q. I resigned at 56 under FERS after 16 years. I plan on deferring annuity until full benefit at 62. Am I correct that if I take benefit between 57 and 61, I am not entitled to COLA? A. Yes. With the exception of law enforcement officers, firefighters and air traffic controllers, the annuities of FERS retirees are not increased by COLAs until age 62.

Q. At the end of my enlistment I will have 15 years active-duty service. Let’s say I switched to reserve component, landed a federal job under FERS, and made the deposit for my 15 years of active service. Would I still be eligible to retire from the reserves after five years (20 years total service)? Or will the deposit from active-duty time toward FERS render those years/points gone, in which case I’d still have to do 20 in the reserves? A. Making a deposit to get credit for your active-duty service would have no affect on your entitlement to reserve…

Q. I am currently under FERS with 20.5 years of service and am age 55. My MRA age is 56. Can I apply for the deferred retirement to age 62 before I resign? I realize I will not be eligible for the health and life insurance. A. No, you can’t. You can only resign from the government and later apply for a deferred retirement when you are eligible for that benefit, which would be age 60.

Q. What happens to bills for medical services previously sent to Blue Cross/Blue Shield that come in after I switch to Tricare for Life? A. Blue Cross/Blue Shield will continue to be the primary payer and Tricare for Life the secondary payer unless you suspend your BC/BS coverage. If you do, TFL will be the sole payer.

Q. What is the best date to retire? A. There is no best date to retire. However, here is some information may help you to make a decision: The last pay period in 2019 ends on Sat., Dec. 21. The last pay period in 2020 ends on Sat., Jan. 4. CSRS employees can retire up to the third day of any month and be on the annuity roll in that month. FERS employees must retire no later than the last day of a month to be on the annuity roll in the following month. Anyone retiring on a date other…

Q. If I marry before I retire, will my new wife be entitled to my pension if we divorce? if so, can a prenuptial agreement protect my interest, or does the government override? A. If you marry while an employee, you are required by law to provide a survivor annuity for your spouse. If you marry after you retire, whether or not you provide a survivor annuity is up to you.

Q. I’m in the MRA+10 category. If I leave government and apply for a postponed annuity, when can I enroll in FEHB? And, if so, would it be only after receiving an annuity or only during Open Season? A. When you apply for your postponed annuity, let OPM know that you want to re-enroll in the FEHB program. Then when you annuity begins. so will your FEHB coverage.

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