Postal Retirement

Postal Retirement Q&A March 2015 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….

Its hard to truly express how grateful I am for the so many of you that have sent prayers and heart felt encouragement, during the past couple of years….today I am able to say, Hope has been in remission for one year, and we humbly thank you all. I am taking a few weeks off at the beginning of March to take my 2 daughters on a mother-daughter get away. I will be leaving the computer at home….just sayin’ so the column is going to be late.

Well let’s see if a “changing of the guard” will make any difference in how this agency operates. From ALL of my sources, changes are coming. The question is, are the changes…..same ^%) different day….or real impactful changes. I personally don’t understand why this continues to be a problem for the post office. Can you say RESTRUCTURE!! Meaning that, we as an organization have had MANY re-structures, and/or re-organizations, throughout the years. So why not do that now, and make meaningful changes to assist our organization during this tumultuous period……and by the way, begin at the top. Start at HQ and roll right down to trim the excess at the Area levels. Do realistic reviews of city and rural routes, incorporating reasonable delivery time frames, I mean just as a starting point!! If this agency has to change in order to survive, then lets do it before its too late. It’s no different than this question….how many of you still have pagers….??? Yea, that’s what I thought!

Q 1. Hi Roseanne, I started with the Postal Service on 1/30/1987. I started as a clerk and transferred over to the carrier craft probably seven months after I started, 9 months after that I became a regular. I then transferred back to my home state in 2003. So I am now a PTF again. I will be 60 on November 10 of this year(2015). My question to you is if I’m 60 and have 28 years of service with the postal service can I get full retirement , no reductions or do I have to stay until I have 30 years of service? Thank-you very much. LK

A 1. Hi LK, Yes you will receive full retirement, (because you meet the criteria of age 60 w/20 or more years of service. BUT since you are a PTF your “annuity estimate” has to be ordered BECAUSE it’s done manually (any position that is not full time…the annuity estimate has to be done manually), so order it NOW and take a look at it, so you KNOW what kind of money you are looking at in retirement. But without a doubt, you are eligible to retire NOW. Roseanne

Q 2. Hi Roseanne! I first want to thank you for taking the time to write this column as I look forward to reading each and every month. I have had many questions regarding FERS retirement that were answered by reading the retirement Q&A. So once again, thank you so much!! I have worked for the USPS for 26 yrs. I also have 4 years of military service that I have purchased time for. I am currently 52 years old turning 53 this coming July. I plan on working another 4-5 years. (depending on TSP performance!) My question is this: I recently read in Federal Times magazine that FERS employees will have the option of self plus one for health care. My wife and I have no children so it would be wonderful if I did not have to have the cost burden associated with the family plan. From what I read in the Federal Times this would provide a significant cost savings. I am hoping that by the time I retire this option of self plus one is a true option. Have you heard if Postal Employees will be included? Thank you for your time and consideration. P

A 2. Hi P Well, I have been predicting this for YEARS!! AND it makes sense. Why pay for the whole famdamily, when its just you and spouse. I will be reviewing this so I can see what time frame they are looking at. I will check to see if postal employees are affected by this change and get back with you. Roseanne

R 2. Good morning Roseanne and TGIF! I just finished reading your February column and I have to borrow a word from your text “WOW” I did not have the luxury of reading all of the e-mails shared between you and this Jack ### (oops did I really just say that?) but all I can say is how rude of him or her.
None of us should feel that you are responsible nor obligated to do all of the homework and COMPLETELY educate us on OUR retirement benefits. Like you, I know that the FERS retirement process can be confusing at times. With that being said, ignorance to a very crucial aspect of life is not always a good excuse. I try to educate myself the best I can. I seek advice and understanding form work colleagues and informed, wonderful people like you!

Please understand that you are providing a very valuable tool that most of us USPS FERS employee’s find very valuable and comforting at times. I can just imagine the types of emails you receive and the style of language used in them. After working 26 years for the USPS you can imagine I have heard and seen it all. I have to admit the last 8 years have been wonderful. I have worked in the BMEU for the past 8 years and love the job. The first 18 years were spent trying to find my way so to speak. I was hired as an LSM operator then had a litany of bids like FSM, Manuel flat secondary, bundle sorter machine operator, etc.. and yes of course 204B. Well enough rambling by me, once again thank you so much for all of your concern, support and knowledge. Have a wonderful day and an even better weekend! P

Q 3. Hello Ms. Jefferson. Thank you for the invaluable info you provide for employees thinking of retiring. I left the USPS in January of 2013 and got much of the information in an understandable manner from your column. I just wanted to ask if you would agree with me on an issue that regularly appears in your column. Credit for unused sick leave. So many seem to be overly concerned with the 30-day increment thing. Realistically, how much, $ wise, does another 30 days add, to, say a 30 year, annuity? Would the employee not be $ ahead just to USE a day or two and forget about where the chips may land? Seems to me another 30 days towards retirement would add pennies. Am I missing something? Thank you.

A 3. HI, If you are FERS employee, then the increase is between $4.10- $ 4.40 per month….and that’s a fact. And so yes….use the sick leave….and always remember it MUST be approved, its not a “given”. But if looking at it from a fiscal perspective, and it being a month…use the sick leave. But also remember, that our total years of service and your sick leave are added together, so those two figures could bring you to a month. Roseanne

Q 4. Roseanne, I hope you can answer some tax questions I have regarding my retired 81 year old mother. She is a retired postmaster who worked in a very small town in Blank City, ANYSTATE. My mother moved out of that state. She has owed taxes every year and I was wondering if she should even have to file taxes at all. She lives on approximately $1900.00 a month and lives in a retirement home costing $1675.00. She has medical problems which require monthly medications. My question is: If she has no other income is she required to continue filing taxes? Thank you, LT

A 4. Hi Lynn, I wish I could be more helpful. But here is a shot, if you mother is a retired postmaster, then she no doubt is getting an annuity from OPM (Office of Personnel Management), the same organization that all federal retiree’s are paid from. As a retiree, I know I get a 1099 every year for the my “annuity” income, and I suspect that would be the same with her. Perhaps her age or the year she retired could have a bearing on her not getting a 1099, although I think that is stretching it. If i were you, and it was my mother, I would check with a a CPA or financial expert, which I am not, to find out the precise information. Your mother has a CSA number (all retirees do), and that number or her social security number could help you find out from OPM why she is not getting these 1099 for income. You can go on line to opm.gov or you can call OPM at 1-888-767-6738. Roseanne

Q 5. Hi Roseanne, I am very confused about retirement. I ordered my annuity estimate and blue retirement booklet. When I called HRSSC and asked about about retirement information, I was told that all of this “information” that I was looking for would be answered during the phone session. All I had to do was confirm a date and time for the phone session. I confirmed the session with HRSSC and called in. I was not the only person on the phone during this retirement counseling session. As far as I could tell, there were about 10 maybe 12 other employees on this same phone call. The session was not very helpful for a FERS employee. They could not tell me about Social Security, or TSP. If this is a part of our retirement plan, then why isn’t that a part of the retirement session that is done on the phone by HRSSC? I don’t know any more than I did before I called. Totally Frustrated!!

A 5. Hi TF, For me, this is not new information, I hear this all the time. I would suggest that you review some of the video’s that are on line at liteblue or postalease, as it relates to the FERS portion of your retirement. I hear what you are saying about your 3 tiered retirement. But you do have to understand, that HRSSC would never know anything about your Social Security (or even how much it would be); they have no idea about how much you have in your TSP account, so really, they couldn’t tell you anything about those 2 parts of your retirement plan. I am not saying that this is the ideal type of retirement session. But the true reality of it is, even when there was a personnel office in each district, we still were not able to give information to the employee about anything that had to do with Social Security or TSP. This is too important to NOT look into this further, so you are comfortable with retiring. Roseanne

Q 6. Dear Roseanne, I just took the local VERA offered here in Anytown, State (been retired for 2 weeks now [as of Feb 1st] and am loving it!!!) but can’t seem to find the answer as to where and when my lump sum annual leave check will arrive. I have spoken to various people (local union prez, HRSSC, etc.) and everyone has a different answer. I understood that it would be mailed to my “office of record” (which would be the GMF here)–is this true and, if so, will they ( Postmasters secretary, my old supervisor, ?) mail it to me or do I have to go pick it up?

Further, when should it arrive? Does it get mailed out as of my last official paycheck (Feb 13th) or does it get processed by OPM and go out at a later date? I was counting on it ($12K) to get my wife and I through till OPM gets my retirement processed. Any info is greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time and attention and let me say you were, are and will continue to be a blessing to all us USPS employees. Thank you! Sincerely, BC p.s. Hope your daughter is continuing to get better, and our thoughts are with her.

A 6. Hi BC, Hi Brian, It Always amazes me that this is not discussed, such a “mystery” that just should NOT Be!!! Who wants to be stressed out over this part, which is pretty typical scenario for almost ALL postal employee’s if not ALL postal employees.

After you get your SF Form 50 “Retirement”, that means that you are no longer ATTACHED to the Postal Service…therefore, if you are not “attached”..then neither is your bank account…and so what happens is that your last pay check, and perhaps your annual leave check (seldom does it come on the same check as it did years past)…will go to pay location 999 in your finance number. Every Finance number has a pay location “999”, and that where ALL checks go, that cannot be sent electronically to a bank, (because that employee no longer works in the (postal) system)). And again, it cannot be sent to the bank because you are no longer “attached” to the postal service. Depending where you work…i.e., if you worked at Itty Bitty Town,USA, the typically the Postmaster would mail it to you. If you worked at a large plant, then it would be in the Plant Manager’s Office and so on. Of course, you can always go and pick it up at your last office of employment, as this is what most do when they retire. And thank you for asking about my daughter. I am planning a getaway for my daughters…it’s been a long couple of years!! Roseanne

R 6. Roseanne, Just wanted to thank you so very much for the real deal info. My wife didn’t believe that there were still people out there who would provide such a wonderful service for nothing, that is, strictly out of the goodness of their hearts but she is now convinced. You are a blessing to all us USPS employees—Thank you..Sincerely, BC

Till we speak again….Roseanne

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