Contributors

Postal Retirement Q&A August 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…..

Q 1. Hi Roseanne,
I have been reading your answers to fellow postal employees. I will be retiring at the end of this year, with the maximum 41years and 11months. I also have 1 and 1/2 months of sick leave time. What will happen to the excess sick leave? Will the excess sick leave give me more than the 80% annuity or will I just completely lose the excess sick leave? Thanks for your kind attention and quick response. TG

A 2. Hi TG, In your case, 1 month and 2 (weeks) of sick leave will bring you to an even 42 years, and would be paid for that. The 2 weeks or half a month as you call it, will be lost.

So yes, CSRS pays only 41 / 11 of credible service, but, WILL ADD the sick leave to the 41 / 11 bringing the total (whatever that sick leave calculation adds up to). Again in your case, having 41 11, and then 1 month (15 days?), then you would be paid for 42 years even and those (half month…15-20 days) will be lost. I hope this has cleared up this for you a bit. Roseanne

COLUMN READERS: This additional part is to show those who have more sick leave, and how that is calculated as well as the “over-payment” to the CSRS retirement fund.

Another example (CSRS only) would be if you had a total 42 yrs / 8 months of credible service..AND 1 year- 8 months and 6 days (sick leave)

In that case you would be paid for

41   11     Credible Service
1      8     6 da Sick Leave (6 days GONE)

42   19    (12-7)
43    7    THAT is what your Annuity is based on

Then to go even further with this process……

Actual Years

42  8
41  11
9 months of Overpayment.

The example above is to show the process of “serious” sick leave and “mega” CSRS years, and to show you are refunded the “over payment”.

Q 2. Dear Roseanne, I just found your forum and would like to ask your advice.
I retired Aug 30 2011 because my spouse needed a patient advocate as she was facing an amputation. I had just made my first eligibility. But was penalized 30% because I was only 57 years old with 27 years 11 months service. My spouse passed in Dec of 2012, & I then became very involved in caring for my father who passed away last October. After consulting a financial planner he suggests finding out if I could finish my carrier and get a full retirement. Is it possible to get reinstated to finish my career and get my 30 years. Sincerely K

A 2. Hi K, None of either is a good choice, really. But you can work ANY JOB (other than Federal) & will NOT affect your Federal annuity. BUT WHY….WHY????…..

It’s NOT just going back to the Post Office, it’s ANY FEDERAL JOB!! It’s way too messy to try to undo a retirement (since you’ve collected funds…etc), re-hiring you, at a SO totally different “retirement” circumstances as it relates to your retirement code….. It’s putting yourself in a nightmare situation to calculate your annuity correctly. At least this annuity, you know is correct. But LIKE I ALWAYS SAY— you can work a job anywhere except the Fed Govt and it won’t affect your Federal retirement money. NOTICE DID NOT SAY ANYTHING ABOUT IT NOT AFFECTING THE SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT OR SOCIAL SECURITY……just sayin’ Roseanne

Q 3. Hi Roseanne
I worked for the post office approximately 7 months in the early 1980’s. My belief is they took money for retirement. Obviously I did not stay long enough to accrue a pension but am I not entitled to receive whatever they subtracted from my paycheck toward that end and how would I go about obtaining these monies. Can you direct me please. Yes, times are that hard.Thank you, LJ

A 3. Hi LJ, If you were a career employee, then yes they took money out for your retirement. And if you were in the USPS in the early 1980’s then your retirement system was CSRS. You can contact OPM at either opm.gov or 1-888-767-6738.

They can direct you on how to obtain whatever funds you contributed to the CSRS system. Roseanne

Q 4.
Hi Roseanne, first let me say thank you for writing your blog. It is most helpful.
I just have a quick question. I will turn 60 in October and plan to retire at the end of that month with over 20 years of credible service. Friday Oct 30 is the end of the pay period. I assume that would be the best day to retire rather than the 31, which is the beginning of a new pay period. Is that correct?
Thanks for any info.

A 4. 100% correct. You’ve been reading the column….it shows. Good decision. Roseanne

Q 5. If an employee retires from USPS, does he have “retreat rights” ? Like, he can’t stand retirement..it’s only been 15 days?? since he retired…yes, someone is actually asking me this….thanks in advance. S

A 5. Hi S, OF COURSE NOT. Retreat rights are ONLY if you are still employed. You can’t even SIGN in to lite blue- postalease.. YOU ARE NOT ON THE ROLLS any longer, your not eligible for a raise either!!! Yer gone? Roseanne

R 5. A lot of second thoughts from a carrier, THANKS

Q 6. Hi Roseanne, I really enjoy reading your Q & A section, they are very informative. You have answered a question for me in the past, and now I will be retiring on April 30, 2016! My question is this: If I do not select the survivor annuity, (have a life insurance policy) will my wife still be able to stay on my health plan (BCBS)? Just thought I read somewhere she would not. Thank You for your time and knowledge on the retirement subject. M

A 6. Hi M, No she will not if be eligible for an annuity NOR be able to carry over your FEHB health benefits if you don’t choose your wife as a spousal annuitant, IF YOU PASS AWAY. She is able to be on your policy when you are retired, because you can carry the family plan, but should you pre-decease her and you don’t elect her for a spousal annuity, then NO she is not eligible for health benefits after you pass away. But if you did elect, then she is eligible for a monthly annuity and to able to carry health benefits as well, should you pre-decease your spouse. Roseanne

Q 7. Hi Roseanne! I read your response for a question posed to you by “M” about buy back of civilian military time in your July 1, 2015 column. I didn’t quite understand your answer where you talk about buying back other civilian service time. ( I have not come across this issue…as it relates to bought back time from another federal agency. As long as you are at YOUR MRA and you have 30 or more years, you are eligible for the Spec Supplement.) I am planning on retiring at MRA 56 and will have 29 years 7 months service in currently, plus I have bought back 2 years 11 months of time that I also worked in the USPS, giving me a total of 32 years 6 months service time. I have the deposit/redeposit paid in full, and my form 50 includes the time I bought back in the Retire Comp Date. Will I receive the SRS? Can you clear it up for me? Thank you so much for your answer – I look forward to your column every week as I near retirement. E

A 7. Hi E, my response was to let folks KNOW that OPM is not going to pay (in the Special Supplement) for those years in the military EVEN IF PAID BACK. Your scenario below …about you…. When do you want to retire, the number of years in PO & your age….and you paid the “other federal time from another federal employer”…all have bearing on a “correct” answer. Was the paid back time RCA time or because you resigned and took the retirement contributions out? Based on what you are saying you should receive the special supplement. Don’t confuse eligibility FOR the Special Supplement, with the number of years calculated for the Special Supplement. Roseanne

R 7. Thank you, Roseanne, for your quick reply! My situation was that I paid back because I resigned and took the retirement contributions out from the USPS many years ago for different reasons, and then came back to the USPS after several years (both times as a city carrier) and have continued there for what will be the 29 years 7 months. So it’s a relief to know that I won’t have to work another 5 months to get to 30 since my bought back time will make me eligible for the SRS with the 32 years 6 months service time. I was confused by the eligibility vs. years used for calculation…..I actually didn’t know that there was a calculation based on certain years…. But, again, Thank You so much for your response! You help a lot of people in so many ways with your expertise and it is very appreciated! Take care….E

Q 8. Roseanne, I have retired from the Postal Service after 42 years of service. I would like to work part-time as a rca . I have been retired for 2 years now. Question? Can I or not. Would it be wise to persue. Respectfully

A 8. Hi – You can work as an RCA but it would be a TRC (Temporary Rural Carrier) and under that type of employment, you can only work up to 6 months in a calendar year. After that, your annuity check will be reduced by 1.00 for every 2.00 earned after that 6 month time frame. I don’t mean 6 months…I mean precisely 180 days in one calendar year. And that is very doable as a temporary rural carrier working, on a Saturday and on someone’s vacation…being sent to another office to get “hours”!!!!!

But why…..tell me why, after 42 years….why…..when you could work anywhere else (just not a federal job) and there would be no reduction to your annuity. However, if you are collecting Social Security, there is a cap to what you can earn (earn in a job) while collecting SS. This year i 15,000.

Let me say this….after 42 years, or 30 or an early out…retirement is a TRANSITION, it truly is. It’s one of the many ACKNOWLEDGED life “triggers” that affect our emotional state of being. Changes…..marriage, death, childbirth, divorce, moving, retiring all are triggers. In the circles that I travel, federal employees, and mostly postal, have their life CENTERED around the the US Postal Service/Federal job…..for many (or all) it wasn’t a choice, it IS what was NOT EXPECTED -it is…REQUIRED!!!

I AM SURE OTHER POSTAL EMPLOYEE’S OUT THERE AGREE WITH THAT STATEMENT!

It many times defines who we are! Almost all that I come in contact with, are proud to work for the government, the Post Office (Postal Service) (PO) they care about their job, they care about their co-workers. Of course we do we spend more time with them typically than our own family!!! We may talk serious trash about the PO, with each other and to each other- but generally will unleash verbal fury on any non-postal person goes after us. You see I said us…….

….it is who we are, and I guess who we will always be. But the thing that changes in retirement for postal employee’s is that “looking over your shoulder” response to everything. That changes in time, about 6-8 months. Which is why I am so perplexed at the number of emails that I receive about retiring and then turn around, and wanting information on how to be rehired back. I am floored actually…..I have one reader who has written me for several years…..bitchin’ and moanin’ about the PO….and after a couple years finally retires…..yea…I know you know what’s coming…yep…DID, actually wrote me and asked about becoming a TRC/Annuitant (Temp Rural Carrier)….I was so done….not because of wanting to go back, (because I know (truly truly know) what an HR nightmare that is for any agency); but after all the years of complaining about what was so damn wrong with the post office, wanted back in……whether it’s the money, the connection their “postal family”, feeling a sense of who you are is gone, I am not sure, but this month, it seemed like every other email was about being rehired by the PO.

Till we speak again………..Roseanne

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  • gene renye

    Thrift Savings Plan…..when I retired I thought I had to roll over my TSP to a bank when in fact,I did not. I wish I would have been advised of this !

  • JMJ

    Just want to comment. My husband was a federal employee (not postal) for 43 years, 9 months, and 28 days. He retired last month and if it wasn’t for Roseanne, he would probably would not be retired because of all the paper work and no one to advise. Roseanne helped him with the paper work – and believe me, there was a lot of it – and was able to advise him so that he gets every penny that is due him. Thanks Roseanne! There’s no on like you! I am so glad that we found you!

  • Donna Coffey

    Hi Rosanne,
    I am MRA and would like to retire March 1, 2016. I bought back 13.5 years military service time and I have worked for the USPS for 24 years (first year as a temporary employee and realize that year doesn’t count toward my retirement). Since the 13.5 years is part of my 36 years federal service will I qualify for the special supplement?