Contributors

Postal Retirement Q&A July 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!!  Happy Fourth of July!

Some questions this month will be answered a bit differently, due to the length and/or format of issues contained in the question.

Q 1. Hi Roseanne!  Thank you for your help.  I am a FERS employee who will reach my MRA this October.  I began working at the postal service in April 1986.  Previously I worked two summers in a temporary civil service job with the Department of the Army in the late 1970s; I bought this time back and has been credited “in fund”, so my retirement computation date/annuity computation date is Nov. 1, 1985.  If I retire on Nov. 30, 2015 will I be able to receive the FERS special supplement; I will have over 30 years of service plus my MRA but not all the time was with the postal service.  Thank you so very much! M

A 1. HI M, Great question……this is what I KNOW….FERS employee’s who are eligible for the Special Supplement and were in the military and PAID their military back, those years are NOT paid in the Special Supplement.  That I know for fact.  OPM won’t address the why of it, just that it IS that way.  So at best, those years you paid back you may not be paid for in the Special Supplement.  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.  Roseanne

R 1. Thank you so much!!

Q 2. Hi Roseanne,  I am hoping that you may give me some advice.

I am thinking of retiring Jan 1, 2016. I will have 35 years in Dec 2015.

I currently have over 600 hours AL and if I calculated correctly, I will use them starting Nov 21 through Jan 1 (which is the end of a pay period) and carry the remainder over.

I am wondering if this is the best way to do this. Is there a better time of year to retire – early or later in year?  Any advise as I start this process will be helpful. I have watched all the videos, done a lot of reading. I just want this to go through smoothly. I have NOT  yet started the retirement process.  Thank you so much!

A 2. Hi K, you need to start with that 600 hrs of AL you say you are going to be paid of either by using it prior to retirement or getting that big annual leave check after you retire.  You didn’t say, so I will include this: . Maximum carry over for craft is 440 & for  Mgmt 560.  Begin with that understanding, and know you will need to have their(USPS)  approval to use those annual hours… that you will NOT BE PAID FOR over the maximum after retirement.

So you got a plan, now plan to make sure you don’t lose any of the annual leave you have EARNED!!  And, it is always better to retire at the end of the year. (When I retired it was in August, and as Management I lost the FY increase in Sept).….I didn’t see much of a difference…other than I was not able to “manage” my annual leave (due to an early out situation)).   When you are ready,  call HRSSC for an appt about 4-6 months prior your effective retirement date.   They will send you an annuity estimate and a blue retirement booklet to begin the process of retiring. Roseanne

Q 3. Dear Roseanne,  I have recently completed (05-2015) buying back my military time with a one-time payment (that covered the initial deposit and the interest);  and have received the OPM Form 1514 showing the payment and a zero balance.  My question is what should I verify in my eOPF folder that would reflect the added six years of service that I purchased.  Thanking you in advance for any help you can offer.  Sincerely JT

See below the RTR Employee Detail Report shows as of today’s Calculation Results:

Retirement Computation Date (RCD):   2001/01/27

Annuity Computation Date (ACD):          2001/01/27

Leave Computation Date:                           1995/01/27

RIF Computation Date:                               1995/01/27

TSP Computation Date:                               2001/01/27

A 3. Hi JT,  Well that information you provided does not appear to have your military time “calculated” into your RCD or ACD (which adds to your overall years of service) and will increase the overall monthly annuity.

Your RCD and ACD (if exactly 6 years of military bought back) should back up your EOD (enter on duty date) 6 years.  If I started May 1st 1983, and bought back 3 years of military, my RCD and ACD would be May 1st 1980, and that is what my years of retirement calculations would be based upon.

I am going to assume you began in the PO on 01/27/2001.  You were given that “military” time as it relates to RIF rules, when you were hired (reg’s)…but you are NOT being credited for those military years in your retirement calculations.  Go to postalease liteblue and look in your eOPF to see if the Form 50 (Notification of Personnel Action) has been processed giving you this credit….because it has not been.  You should be looking in your eOPF for OPM form 1514 or 1515.  Roseanne

  1. How did you know that I began on January 27th 2001?

Q 4. Hi Roseanne,  I will be eligible to retire in approximately 8 months. Because of the NRP Program and an injury dating back to the early 2000’s, the Postal Service put me on a code 49 (workers comp). I have therefore accumulated thousands of hrs of LWOP. They have since eliminated this program and I am back on 40hrs of limited duty. Will this affect my retirement date? Thank you for your help in this matter. P

A 4. Hi P,  Yes most definitely will your retirement will take a reduction in a variety of ways, all because of this massive LWOP hours over the last 13 years…and typically during those years you NOR the PO is contributing into your retirement fund(s).  Roseanne

*Q 5. Question from a Union President….

Hi Roseanne, Does a FERS employee have to have 30 years of service as well as 56 years of age to be eligible to collect the Social Security supplement? Do you also happen to know if that person can earn up to a certain amount of money without a penalty. Thank you.

  1. 5. Hi Union President….Yes and no.  Its very important to be very specific here, because many read this column…and the CONFUSION ABOUT RETIREMENT IS ABSOLUTELY PROFOUND…AND WHAT I HAVE BEEN TRYING TO FIX FOR THE LAST 5 YEARS WRITING THIS COLUMN

Typically EVERY retirement is different, because as employees, we all have “differences” that many times affect the outcome or the calculations of our retirement.

Your original question “an employee w/30 (or more) years of service, AND they are 56”, right there begins the problem, 56 is not everyone’s MRA, your date of birth dictates your MRA.   But after establishing what the MRA is, and if all of the criteria above is met, then YES, the employee is entitled to the Special Supplement.

And the same is true if an employee is age 60 with  20 (or more) years of service, they too are eligible for leave to complete years of service for retirement eligibility (for retirement or special supplement).  So if someone is at their MRA and has 29 years of service and a total of 15 months of sick leave, (bringing their retirement calculations to 30 years 3 months.  They are still not eligible for the special supplement. WHY…. Because THAT is NOT FULL retirement.

YES, THEY are eligible for retirement…..the MRA+10 retirement, where the calculation is reduced by 5% for each year under 62 (so right there your monthly annuity will be reduced by 30%….forever); and then NO Special Supplement EVER…..EVER.

And to answer the final question, about how much can you make, for 2015, the amount is $15,750.  The Special Supplement is the “replacement” for Social Security…and so like SS you have a limitation on your earnings.  Roseanne

Q 6 Hi, My husband applied for regular retirement and Social Security Disability.  Can he still apply for Retirement Disability w/Post Office? This is so confusing?

A 6. No…once an employee is eligible for full/regular retirement, then they are not eligible to apply for disability retirement.   Roseanne

Q 7. Hi Roseanne,  How much money do you need in TSP to comfortably retire?

A 7. Your question was how much do I need…., your question should be how much do YOU need?  And only you could answer that question…only you know your life style,  and how much it costs you to “run your household”.   And IF I COULD answer that question….how would I ever be able to keep up with just helping postal employees???

Till we speak again…………..Roseanne

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