Postal Retirement Q&A July 2016 by Roseanne Jefferson



Good Day Postal Employees….

Q 1. Hi Roseanne I hope all is well with you and yours. I have not kept up with your articles lately, so I hope you will answer a question. I retired 2 months ago, and it is great. If I go to work for the county, will it affect my benefits? I know you have said in the past, do not work part time USPS or any federal jobs.. The job is part time so total income is not an issue. Thank you DA

A 2. Hi DA, The key factor here is….IS THE JOB FEDERAL?? If this is a state, city or county job, then your CSRS/FERS pension will not be affected. However, if FERS, keep in mind that if you are collecting the Special Supplement (which is the replacement for Social Security)….that will be affected by your part time job. How much or to what degree, I am not sure, but I am sure it will affect the money that is a “replacement” for SS (which is paid because you are retired and not yet age 62). But county job…you are good to go. Good luck!! Roseanne

Q 2. Hi Roseanne, I am a city carrier with 25 years total service, 19 postal (6) military.
Can I freeze my retirement and take an annuity if they offer a vera or do I have to wait till I’m 62? Thank you

ANSWER 2. Everything has no federal regulations to support that move….at least in the manner suggested…”freeze your retirement & take an annuity IF they offer a VERA…”or wait until age 62: .” “ Just the way this question is posed the question tells me we need to look at the FERS Retirement Eligibility Requirements:

MRA (55-57) Depends upon your date of birth

Full Retirement- Full Immediate Retirement
Age (MRA) + 30 yrs (or more) of credible service
Age (60) + 20 yrs (or more) of credible service
Age (62) + 5 yrs (or more) of credible service

Early Out
Age (50) + 20 yrs (or more) of credible service
Any Age + 25 yrs (or more) of credible service

Deferred Retirement:
Age (MRA) + 30 yrs (or more) of credible service
Age (60) + 20 yrs (or more) of credible service
Age (62) + 5 yrs (or more) of credible service

MRA + 10 yrs (or more) of credible service

That is NOT full retirement, it is reduced!! Your FERS annuity calculation will be reduced by 5% for each year you are under 62. So if retiring at your MRA and have as an example 25 years..that monthly annuity calculation (based on your high-3 average salary X number of years worked, would then be reduced by 30%, And additionally you will NOT be eligible for the Special Supplement as you would in the Full Retirement. In an Early Out Retirement, you are eligible for that Special Supplement, (if at MRA), if not at MRA, once you turn that MRA age your Special Supplement will begin. The Special Supplement is paid by OPM.

Keep in mind that in a Deferred Retirement (provided you do not withdraw your FERS contributions), you will NOT BE PERMITTED to continue FEHB (Health Benefits) or FEGLI (Life Insurance)….two VERY VERY IMPORTANT benefits in retirement to consider when making those types of decisions.

“Deferred Retirement: If you separate from service before you are eligible for an immediate annuity and you do not take a refund of your retirement contributions, you will be eligible for deferred retirement benefits as soon as you attain the age that corresponds with the age and service combinations shown below. You will not be permitted to continue Federal Employees’ Health Benefits or Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance. You are not eligible for the special retirement supplement.
Age Service
MRA 30
60 20
62 5
MRA 10 (Reduced)”

So, in essence if any one wants to just “resign” the key is to make sure that you DON’T PULL OUT YOUR RETIREMENT CONTRIBUTIONS FROM OPM, then yes you could apply for retirement to OPM at age 62 ( or first eligible date the conditions above are met) for retirement. Roseanne

Q 3. Hi Roseanne, I have been reading the column for a few years and would like to know the 3 most important issues that postal retirees face in the future?
Concerned Carrier

A 3. TO ALL – Let me see if I can narrow it down to 3. 🙂

1. Health 2. Money 3.Peace

1. Health- Postal employees retire too late, it’s not just CSRS like everyone talked about for years…..the “CSRS’s won’t retire”. I find this with FERS employees as well. You guys wait too long….….. to enjoy what you have worked so long for. Many retire because of health issues. I know that any of you reading out there knows postal employees that have retired, (maybe before they look like they have been beaten to the ground…we all know the look) and in my experience, they look great! Healthy….all that. WHY…THAT stress is gone….

2. Money- I am sure many think this should be # 1, but…it’s not. CSRS employees have a great retirement, and so do FERS…let’s get THAT out of the way. All parts being equal…they are pretty damn close. Retiring fully is the best way to retire in FERS. And funding your could you NOT!!
And that is the reason why FERS folks don’t retire….Your retirement is not as cut and dry as the CSRS and the reason is because YOU control the destiny of your retirement….we CSRS did not. FERS employees control a HUGE portion of the retirement with TSP.

HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH ROSEANNE??… The key to seeing if you can retire financially is to look at your pay check. What do you bring home every two weeks. Of course you would add in if there were a large deduction (for a mortgage or car back into the net). Then double that figure. That should be the base of your…”can I afford to retire”. You are living on the take home pay now. Then you look at your annuity estimate (FERS), what you will get from SS monthly and what TSP has been sending you quarterly/yearly for an annuity. That should give you a general idea of “can you afford to retire”.

3. Peace- Find your peace, and sometimes it won’t be easy. The first couple of weeks….its a freedom like no other, no calling in, no BT, all of that! In all reality, it takes about 6 months…to begin to really relax, to not go back and check the if you shut the garage door, or turned off the iron, the coffee pot, or flat/curling iron…or any of those ten thousand things we do as postal employees every day. No matter what position you hold, the fact that postal employees do this…it’s so evidenced to me by the spouses that I speak with. Find something you love to do and do it. If you are thinking about retirement, then you should also be thinking about this. You will need to find a way to bridge, (hobby, a cause, grandkids) or maybe transition is a better word, transition that postal “crazie” or maybe not crazy..but “energy” that it took every day to do that matters a fig leaf..what that job was in the USPS…you all know what I mean!

And I will add this to that LIST…# 4 I so wish I did NOT have to say this….postal employees, please OPEN your MAIL from the Postal Service!!….no- for real…

Till we speak again…….Roseanne

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  • Leslie A Straub

    Hi Roseanne, I am a 63 year old rural carrier and would like to retire at the end of the year. im entering my 15th year with the post office. it was suggested i wait till January for social security reasons (more monies),or is Dec 30 ok? Thank you

  • Carol Stephenson

    I have said it before and I will say it again. You are a wealth of information. I retired the end of June and when I walked out (yes, actually walked out) I suddenly had phone calls from others who finally after I bolted, saw the writing on the wall. And I send everyone of them a link to your byline and tell the to read “EVERY ONE OF THEM”. Thank you again, the past month has been wonderful~