Postal Retirement

Postal Retirement Q&A October 2014 by Roseanne Jefferson

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Roseanne is a retired USPS employee with an extensive background in USPS retirement, disability retirement, OWCP, EEO, Labor Relations and HR. She conducts individual and group counseling and is able to comprehensively discuss the pros and cons of employees who are on OWCP, disability retirement and regular retirement. Roseanne will be happy to answer your postal retirement questions. Contact Roseanne at roseanne.jefferson@icloud.com. Click here for prior Q&As and Click here for Q&As prior to July 2014

Good Day Postal Employees!! This month is Breast Cancer Awareness month and I would like to thank all who have prayed, shown concern and support during these past couple of years for my daughter, whose real name is actually Hope. This month is a major check up and we pray, I can come back and continue to say she is in remission. Again, Thank you All!

I have been overwhelmed this month with angry emails…I hear so many of you describing your “current status” as “sick of this $#!+” You write that the pressure to do the SAME JOB in increasingly LESS and now, even LESS time than what was “status quo” based by the rules, or regulations, or audits, insane inspections…just to name a few.

Regardless if it’s the amount of mail to be delivered in a shorter period of time, or mail sorted & distributed with LESS employees, , or having totally…as one reader described…having the MOST incompetent Supv/Mgr/PM/ in the entire district. Or one that has been moved (within the district)..or found out the NEW (Supv/Mgr/PM) was placed here because they have totally “fubar’d” in another job, district, office, plant, NDC, yea!

WHAT…REALLY!!! LIKE IS THIS NEW TO YOU???

Of course this happens….always has, always will. The screw-ups (especially EAS, the higher in level you go, they always manage to “make themselves indispensable to a “higher level” than themselves. And will do just about anything that the higher EAS employee told them to do. They wind up having so much “insider knowledge” that your every day normal, NON-SUCK-UP EAS employee does NOT. And still, being that same screwed-up EAS employee, the harder the agency has to protect them. So they move them around and around, until they retire or do something so outrageous that it makes the NEWS…ah..yes, ..then they react. Why…. because they know too much. Here is the theory I have used for years it’s TRUE. (every time it’s TRUE). When there is a “manager” that turns their head when their subordinate crosses a line, does the same incorrect thing, over and over, have EEO’s filed against them for the same reasons, just a multitude of BS that this general “screw-up” EAS employee has going on; AND WHEN THAT higher level EAS manager does NOT discipline that lower level EAS employee (suck-up)……its because that lower level EAS suck up employee has enough information to BURY that higher level EAS manager…do you hear me….EVERY TIME!! And I’ll just bet, some of you who read this column will be pissed because you know I am talking about YOU! And the other 99% that are SOLID employees, know I am right.

Q 1. Hi Roseanne, Really appreciate you taking the time to write your monthly feature. You have helped more people that you will ever know navigate retirement from the Postal Service. I took the early retirement offered to clerks in January 2013. I am 58 years old, and currently receive my FERS annuity payment as well as the FERS supplement. Due to recent health issues, I have applied for Social Security Disability – though I have not received an answer back. If approved, will I lose the FERS supplement? If awarded payment for months back when my health issues first appeared, will I be required to pay back the supplement for those months? I checked with OPM, but after waiting 32 minutes for a real person to answer – she did not seem real confident with her answer. Figure you would be a more reliable source of information. Thanks for your help. CRT

A 1. Hi CRT Yes you would lose the special supplement if approved for Social Security Disability (SSDI). WHY? Because the Special Supplement is the “bridge of $$” that carries you until you turn 62, when you are first able to collect Social Security. If you are approved for Social Security Disability then of course your “special supplement” will go stop…OR SHOULD. AND YES if awarded SSDI, those Special Supplement payments (if you were back paid SSDI for those same months that you were paid the Spec Sup), you would owe that/those Special Supplement(s) (money) payment(s) back to OPM, since OPM is the one who pays the Special Supplement. Roseanne

R 1 Thanks for your prompt response. When the lady at OPM told me I would not lose the supplement since SSDI was not “earned” income, that did not sound right to me. I expected that if approved, I would not qualify for both. Better to know up front than to be surprised after the fact.

Q 2. Hi Roseanne,.I just have a quick question, I was told by the person I requested my retirement paperwork – blue folder that in order for me to qualify for the retirement supplement I needed to have 20 year of postal service and be 60 years old is that correct or incorrect? As right now I have 32+ year combine postal and military, with only 19year 5 month credited postal work, I knew that the supplement was based on the year of credited postal work. I didn’t know it has to be 20 and be 60 years old. Your respond will be appreciated and thanks for all you do. Sincerely LP

A 2. Hi LP, As I say ALL the time, these types of answers are not “Cookie-Cutter” answers. There are far too many “sideline issues” that factor into that answer. Let me break it apart in this manner: First question, are your military years paid back? HUGE FACTOR before you can venture an answer. The issue is credible service (for RCD purposes) and credible service for ACD purposes. These dates many times are the same, mine was, my husband’s wasn’t. RCD (Retirement Computation Date) (the date that your retirement ELIGIBILITY is calculated FROM. ACD (Annuity Computation Date (the date that your ANNUITY..MONEY is calculated FROM). In most cases, (again VERY broad statement) you are paid for the postal years in the supplement, not the military, even though they are “paid back”. Every case is not the same though.

SIDEBAR: There has to be AUTHENTICITY in my answers. AND, always CLARIFICATION. Some questions that have answers (for THAT specific PERSON) may NOT be the same answer for the “masses”. In certain cases, it would only confuse many of you, this is one of those cases. This is a NO “ONE Size Fits All answer”.

Q 3. Hi Roseanne, I am a carrier with an RCD of 12/12/2017. My husband is a retired EAS employee (Postmaster). I have always carried health insurance for our family since we were married 28 years ago. I continued to carry it for my husband and myself when he retired. He was recently told that when I retire it would be cheaper if we both took the “self only” option. I was under the impression that since he has not carried FEHB personally for so long, that I would have to cover him into retirement. Please clear this up for me. Thanks for all that you do. CJ

A 3. Hi CJ, That is totally incorrect thinking and information “was under the impression that since he has not carried FEHB personally for so long, that I would have to cover him into retirement.

He has carried FEHB, (regardless if you were the one that was paying the premium out of your check. Your husband has FEHB “rights” under his OWN federal employment and his own federal retirement. He has MET the criteria of being “covered under FEHB for more than 5 years prior to retirement:” Depending on which year your husband retired, you can look on the copy of his retirement paperwork and see if it has as the last page of Health Benefits Information Sheet attached. That sheet shows that HE is COVERED UNDER YOU, WITH YOUR NAME AND EIN NUMBER. Again depending on when he retired if this form was in the Big Blue Retirement Booklet. In this case, during open season just change to single-single. Roseanne

Q 4. In your Sept. Q & A column, you said “Rumors spreading they are trying to get rid of CSRS employees………..” I am a level 18 CSRS postmaster and will be over several RMPOs beginning Oct. 1. I have submitted my retirement paperwork to be effective Oct. 3 of this year. My question is has there been any discussion of offering an incentive to retire for the CSRS employees. I would hate to go out next month and then they offer an incentive to retire after I have already left. Any thoughts? I would appreciate a quick response due to only having four weeks left of work. Thanks so much in advance.

A 4. I would retire. I did WITHOUT THE STINKNG INCENTIVE… (and KNEW that the same Early Out Offer for EAS was coming several months later with a $20,000 incentive….and I still left. Be grateful…my sanity was still intact when I left so that I can help postal employees through the maze of the “bad juju world” of BS postal information. The incentive is the PO’s assurance that you are going to retire, because you cannot RETRACT the paperwork by the COB on THE last day…because you signed the irrevocability statement. Under normal retirement conditions, you have until the close of business (COB) on the date that you have selected as your retirement date. But I wouldn’t recommend pushing the envelope that far. You’re CSRS, you got a great retirement….stop being greedy for God’s sake retire….Roseanne

Q 5. Hi Roseanne , thank you for everything you do helping out with these postal retirement questions. My question is… I’m 51 and have 21 years in the post office. I have 8 yrs in the military and almost paid my (military buy back) back. The post office gives us the end of year statement and according to that I can retire at 56 but I’m hearing that my military time doesn’t count unless I have 30 years active in the postal service. Is that true ? I was hoping by 56 I would have 34 years federal time towards my retirement all together. I have no idea what I’m looking at as far as a monthly check but I’m currently contributing 11% into the thrift savings and have roughly $200,000. I started late for all the reasons you yell at people for haha. I’m going to go the full amount within 2 yrs and hope that helps with padding that amount. I am a disabled veteran and get a VA check with hopes that it can supplement my postal check. Any information on any of this would greatly be appreciated. DM

A 5. Thank you very much for those words!! There is so MUCH misunderstanding about FERS, still. And Great Job!! (to your TSP total). First, if you are FERS, and I am assuming you are, your military DOES count towards your retirement computation (military time that is FULLY PAID BACK) + postal YEARS are added together. Then the sick leave is added to give you your OVERALL years and months of service. SO THEY COUNT (the military bought back time for your FERS annuity/pension). What does NOT count is your military time (those 8 years) in the computation of the special supplement, (provided your retire at MRA+30 years or age 60 with at least 20 years of service).

BUT IN YOUR CASE, what you are actually looking at is NOT AN OPTIONAL RETIREMENT ANNUITY ESTIMATE, what you are really looking at is an MRA+10 ANNUITY ESTIMATE, I realize that is very very misleading and has caused many employees to retire (thinking BECAUSE the estimate says OPTIONAL) that it really is for an “optional” retirement, when in fact it is the MRA+10 retirement. That “reduced” retirement has serious reductions, all over the place….1. YOU DON’T QUALIFY FOR THE SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT, and 2. Your annuity is reduced 5% for each year you are under 62….GET A CALCULATOR….DO THE MATH!! Looking at your TSP, and no doubt a Spec Supplement check of around $693. per month, until you turn 62, and then the supplement stops and your SS begins. As far as the TSP….you are looking good!….and remember I SEE a lot of “balances” in TSP, so GREAT job there!! In two years – you should be in VERY good shape, hell, you’re in good shape now going towards retirement. Don’t retire unless you either have an Early Out VERA (1.You are NOT penalized the 5% for each year you are under 62, and if you retire at your MRA you WILL get the special supplement. And if NOT YET at your MRA, you will receive when your reach your MRA. This on an EARLY OUT VERA, and if NOT at your MRA, you will when you reach your MRA. Roseanne

Q 6.Hi Roseanne! Just saw this on Facebook. I am a city letter carrier on FERS. I am more or less going to be forced into disability retirement due to a work comp approved claim, due to an on the job injury. I have already requested & received my annuity estimate. My question …… what is the process for disability retirement? Does it make the process any faster or slower since it is a work comp injury?

A 6. Well “forced“ screams OWCP and the PO, to me. Being on OWCP (or not), takes the same time for the OPM physicians to review your medical documentation, as any other employee. In your case, since you have been approved with the Dept. of Labor & with a work-related illness/injury, I am SURE your case and medical is WELL documented. Most of your work is done, you just have to ensure you have updated medical information and your medical condition is the same or worse since your last updated medical. Additionally you are no doubt on the PERIODIC rolls (receiving $$, but not working), then you (from what you stated in your email), then approval seems good. Roseanne

R 6 .Thank you so much for responding so quickly, and for the information. I have heard that OPM is usually the hold up. Yes I am on the periodic rolls so hopefully I will get approved.

Thank you again.

Q 7. Dear Roseanne – First, I want to thank you for sharing your wisdom and experience with those of us who are desperately trying to stay afloat in the perilous waters of the USPS. I have become much more knowledgeable from reading your articles and always look forward to the next article. I hope that you can shed some light on my situation. Been with the PO for 25+years. A little less than 20 years ago I suffered a compound fracture that needed immediate surgical repair. I now have severe complications, as a result of that surgery, and the pain is becoming unbearable. My doctor is the same one that performed the initial surgery. My physician’s recommended treatment is to now have this additional surgery and with a permanent reduction in mobility, I see no way that I will be able to perform the duties of my job. The problem is that I cannot convince my doctor of this. I would most appreciate any help or advice that you could give. I don’t know if you have the time or what your policy is on personal responses, but due to some of my personal info, I would appreciate it if you could e mail me your reply. If that isn’t possible I understand. Again, thank you so much for being there for all of us ! God bless you and yours !

A 7. Hi, All answers are sanitized…..YES you are eligible, and most definitely should file for disability retirement. Call HRSSC at 1-877-477-3273, and request the disability annuity estimate AND the disability blue retirement booklet. That FIRST “booklet’ has your job description and Qual standards that are included in the back. Bring those two sheets to your physician (and make copies for all of your doctors in fact), that can support this statement “You are unable to do the job (for which you were hired) and the Post Office cannot or will not give you an accommodation based upon your medical restrictions”…. Your job duties are defined on BOTH those two sheets (in the back of the FIRST…yes that means you will get a SECOND Blue Retirement Booklet. Your physician should be YOUR advocate, not your adversary!!!..just sayin’

But that is your starting point…this is a long process, but doable….WORD OF ADVISE: Don’t BS around too long with this….get right ON IT. Don’t take short cuts, when it comes to the medical information (THAT IS WHAT YOU ARE BEING APPROVED ON!!) DO WHAT you have to do & what is required to be approved. Disability Retirement is part of your “benefit” package.

The only thing that would change that statement above is if….you are over age 60. If you are (with having 20+yrs) then are “eligible” to retire NOW, and therefore NOT eligible for the Disability Retirement “computation(s)”, which are “incredibly DIFFERENT than regular or even early out retirement. Call them to get this process started. Roseanne

Till we speak again………. Roseanne

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