Postal Retirement

Postal Retirement Q&A August 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 monthly Q&As

Good Day Postal Employees!!! WE are still in remission!! Thank you all for your continued prayers….Hope thanks you all!!

…..opening line…..You are confused, angry, and have many problems that cannot be fixed unless you are willing to put in the work, effort and the time.

Let’s begin this month with the Medicare saga….well we did everything that I TELL YOU ALL TO DO… when turning 65 regarding Medicare Part B, and so NOT surprising …. they still are “Encouraging” hubby to take Medicare Part B….in fact, it is SO personal….. to your FEHB insurance , that guess what…..they even make a PERSONAL phone call to you, “inquiring” why you have chosen NOT to take Medicare Part B…hmmm, apparently they did not get the “FEDERAL MEMO” (please see this link to the booklet (produced by OPM mind you)) …COPY THIS LINK

www.opm.gov/healthcare-insurance/healthcare/medicare/75-12-final.pdf

And in this above link validates what I have been saying, that it is a CHOICE if you take Medicare Part B….which is HEALTH insurance!! (FYI you already have health insurance!!)….As a federal employee, when you retire you carry over health insurance and life insurance and of course receive a monthly retirement check. After all these years, isn’t that what we have ALL worked for ??? the fact of “forever” health insurance and life insurance…and if married, a monthly check for the spouse and spouse’s ability to be covered under your federal health benefits…..this is WHY we are ALL HERE all these years….the guarantee of federal benefits!

If you open above link and (READ IT!) you will see what I have been trying to relate to you. Go to page 3 and page 6. So in our Medicare part B saga, they sent hubby a card with Medicare Part A Hospital and Medicare Part B. The card’s instructions tell’s you, if you want Medicare Part A and Part B….do NOTHING…..cut this card out (as this is your Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B card)…they will deduct Part B from your Social Security check and you will have Part A and Part B.

If you don’t want Medicare Part B, sign this card on the back, mail it in, they will send you another card validating only Medicare Part A. DONE…CHECK

SO DONE…that he now has the (replacement) Medicare card that states boldly Medicare Part A ONLY. Seems like Roseanne’s plan is working….until the month you turning 65. Plan still working but NOW the push to get you to sign up for Medicare Part B is really AMP’d up. To the point that your insurance company calls (at least our’s did) and interrogates you as to why you didn’t take Medicare Part B, (EXCUSE ME….it’s a choice!!). Then EVEN THOUGH WE HAVE THE CARD THAT SHOWS THAT HE DID SEND them the information of his decision to NOT take Medicare Part B…. POINT: we have in our possession (sent by them) the NEW Medicare card that specifically says ONLY Medicare Part A. So while in a conversation with Social Security Office, they stated they don’t have that information…that they are 3 – 4 months behind on “paperwork” and they ARE still going to reduce his SS check by the amount of Medicare Part B! Needless to say, how could they NOT have received the paperwork, we already have the card that validates he only has Medicare Part A. Wow!! What is going on…and how this even became an issue to have a conversation with SS or anyone about the choice to NOT take Medicare Part B. This happens when your insurance company sees that you are 65 and now begins paying “differently” because of Medicare Part A (becoming your primary hospital insurance). And so when you go to the doctor (after age 65) and have opted OUT of Medicare Part B….your FEHB insurance is going to want a letter from Social Security stated that you opted out. So that is a hassle, BUT DO IT anyway. OK hassle is probably not the best word…..but when done, it’s a triumph.

Why am I telling you this…..because this is what you are going to run into and if you ROLL OVER, and NOT address it then you will wind up paying for Medicare Part B and FEHB, and why should you..!! OPM states, (see above link) that All FEHB plans are as good or better than medicare, I don’t think that even needs to be discussed…as I would rate that statement as DUH !!; additionally that you can NOT BE FORCED into taking Medicare Part B…..but they did not say how MUCH YOU WILL BE ENCOURAGED. I will keep you all informed. I am calling them this morning to continue to see how I can get them on board. UPDATE: Called Social Security back, and spoke to someone else, and explained in EXACTING DETAIL, quoted the above FEHB~Medicare booklet and guess what, this was just 2 days later, (after hubby “stroking out on the phone with a very unhelpful federal employee…with EXTREME attitude”) the 2 day later SS worker said yes indeed, he sees where he “opted out” and then he “offered” to send a letter so that you can send it to your insurance company”, which is precisely what the FEHB insurance is going to want. SO yes, this is a real pain in rear, but now you know….you have NO excuses…because all I ever hear….we were not told anything…I GET IT, everyone is clueless, I KNOW that…but…if you are reading this column you have resources and have had since 2010. I will keep you all informed to IF this letter came and how quickly.

Q 1. Hello Roseanne, I am considering retirement in the spring of 2015 and I am receiving conflicting information concerning the credit for sick leave. I know as of January 2014 all FERS employees will receive full credit for sick leave accumulated. My question is, how is the sick leave hours credited? I have been told that credit is given for every 8hrs accumulated and I have been told only credit will be given for every 40hrs accumulated. For instance if you have 10hrs only hrs divisible by 8 will be credited I will loose 2 hrs, or if I had 53 hrs I would only be credited for 40 hrs loosing 13hrs. I am close to having a years credit and would like to work to get a full year but need to know how its calculated. 2080 hrs for a yrs credit. CT

A 1. Hi CT, The reason you get all kinds of BS information is because mostly everyone is just guessing. The answer is different for everyone, which is why this makes it SO difficult to be able to give you the correct answer… because much of the answer depends on YOU and your TOTAL credible time. You cannot add the sick “standing alone”… the sick leave is added to the actual years, months, and days of credible service….THEN the sick leave is added. This can be truly validated by ordering an annuity estimate and it will show you precisely what I mean. Just as an FYI yes 2080 would equal 1 year exactly. Roseanne

Q 2.Hi! Roseanne, do you really answer questions….if so, could you please give me your expert advice? I’m a ex-Letter Carrier who was sent home No Work Available in August 2011. I started work as a casual in 1985; was selected on the hiring work sheet and became a PTF in 1986. I became a regular a few months later in 1987. I was injured on the job in Nov 1988 in a dog attack. The P.O. claimed my OWCP case was closed, sent home (NWA). Filed a Ca2a. case reopened, filed a grievance with NALC, went to arbitration no one showed either from P.O.nor NALC. I then filed for FERS disability retirement, which was approved by OPM. I also filed for SSDI, also approved totally disabled. I’ve been on FECA-OWCP since 8-11, and I am still currently being treated by a Doctor. I have complied with OWCP in all matters including second opinion exams,updates etc. so last week I got a letter from HR-PO. injury spec. demanding I furnish updated medical information about my situation so they can possibly accommodate me a work-offer. Please advise. Thank You! and thanks for all the people you help so much. MNY

A 2. Hi MNY, I will answer the first question first….yes I really do answer questions….Something tells me that your case is not as easy as you have portrayed here….why???….because typically, the post office doesn’t go back and try to “UNDO” a disability retirement…once yer’ gone…yer’ gone. NOW..that leads me to where I think you are in this whole “federal soup” pot!! First, you were approved for FERS disability….and because of your “on-the-job” injury (which MUST have played a huge part in your health issue(s)) Secondly, because of that approval from OPM granting you a disability retirement,(again no doubt based upon your on the job illness/injury), you were given the choice to go BACK on the OWCP rolls, and you took that option. The reality of this situation is the Post Office is really paying OWCP (who is paying you) and paying again for someone to do your job. In this case…..you are going to have to follow the instructions….and they may be able to offer you a position….if NOT, then you will return to the “retirement” rolls on OWCP. Sounds like this is going to be complicated…be careful and don’t duck your head in the sand….you need to contact your local union for advice. Roseanne

Q 3. Hi Roseanne, I retired Jan. 31, 2013. I had problems getting my first incentive check. I called to see if it was there and was told no. It turns out it was there and I received it two weeks later. Now it’s time for my second check and guess what, it’s missing also. It should have been there on the 23 of May. I called them several times and was told that I would be called back, but never received a call. I then called the accounting help desk who informed me that the check had been sent and should have been with the may 23rd payroll. I have since then contacted the postal inspectors office so that they can either find or stop payment and reissue. I don’t know if this has happened to anyone else or not but anyway this is FYI. Please keep an eye on it. Thank you.

A 3. Hi…I would just bet that check is sitting at your office where you worked last, just the same way the other one was. If you have gone through all that in calling ASC in Eagan, MN and having the check cancelled to reissue another then, even if the check is where I tell you it is, it will have been already cancelled. I would be very interested to know, when you get that check, where it was, and yes I have had this same question, and I give the same answer and it always seems to be correct. Roseanne

R 3. Hi Roseanne, I called back my post office and you won’t believe it….it was there the whole time. I found out when I went to pick up the check…both were there. I don’t know why I just didn’t write you before I went through all that….thanks (for a whole bunch of us out there)! BP

Q 4.Hello Roseanne, I hope you don’t mind my bothering you to ask you a usps question. I know that you answer a lot of them and we truly do appreciate your help!! I am in a non-career rural route carrier position. I have only been doing this for 6 months now. I hope to eventually move into a career position if that ever is possible. I am currently 48 years old and I also served 20 years in the United States Army. Is it possible for me to retire from the post office in a non-career position and if so, how many years would I have to do? Also, do they send you a monthly check like the Army does, or are you basically just getting paid any savings that you create? I would like to work for the usps until I am 66 but would like to know if there is a light at the end of the rainbow??? Thank you so much for your help !! :)…..JE

A 4.Hi JE, I can beat around the bush, but the answer to your question is no. There is no method for a non-career employee to retire….no one is putting money into any retirement account, not you, and not the post office. It’s very hard to say how long it wold take you to be high enough on “seniority” to converted to a Regular Rural Carrier…but 6 months….is a drop in the bucket….HOWEVER…you are in, and this is the best method towards career employment, so, stay, that is your rainbow. Roseanne

Q 5. Roseanne, where to I submit the bene forms SF 3102 SF 2823 SF 1152 to? my own local postmaster and they mail them or directly some where else and if so where? I know where to submit the TSP form. Thanks A

A 5. Hi A, All of those are beneficiary forms…..and where they “go” is directly related to your work status. If you are currently working and are not in “retirement mode paperwork”, you would send the completed forms to HRSSC at PO BOX 970500, Greensboro, NC 27497-0500, not the postmaster of your working facility. As far as TSP forms, if it is the beneficiary form, and for reference it is sent to: Thrift Savings Plan P.O. Box 385021, Birmingham, AL 35238

Q 6. Roseanne, I retired the end of My and have gotten my annual leave check and it pays me for 184.06 hours, but the stub under leave status states I have 312.06, AND leave with out pay is 40.00 hours. That check was for 13/14 PP/YR. The prior check 12/14 PP/YR, states I have NO leave without pay and 312.06 hours of annual leave. What’s up? Thanks, MR

A 6. Hi MR, Well first if you are a regular then your leave is advanced (PP2) for the entire year, even BEFORE you earn it. If you retire in June (6months); then you are only entitled to 104 hrs vs 208 (12months). That may be where your confusion is. Look on your annuity estimate that you first received when you applied for the blue booklet for retirement. Look to see what that form says about how much AL you would have when you retired. Let me know if those two things reconcile this issue for you. Roseanne

R 6. OK, I checked my report AAF241P1 dated 2/14/2014, it states I have an annual leave balance of 128 hours and a terminal leave payment of $3,419.00, my check was for $3,367.73 (net was $4900) gross. The carry over from the previous year was 160.06, then earned this year 80.00=240.06 hrs. Was paid for 184.06 hours. Looks like your (as always) right. Never noticed that before, it was never pointed it out anywhere…because I checked. Still don’t understand the 40 LWOP hours…does it matter anymore??…. fyi:(no it doesn’t..just a cross footing time keeping issue!)

Till we speak again!!! Roseanne

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