Contributors

Postal Retirement Q&A June 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!!!

Thank you to all the dedicated men and women that served in the Armed Forces keeping our country safe!!!

Q 1. Hello Roseanne, I am a disability retired rural carrier who was under CSRS. At the time I retired I was under the 55/30 retirement age and therefore took a substantial cut to my retirement benefit. My question is this: under the circumstances will I still be affected by the 2/3 offset when I file for my spousal benefit for Social Security? I asked at our local SS office but they were unable to give me an answer. Thanks in advance for any help you can offer. RT

A 1. Hi RT, You say you took a substantial cut to your retirement (I assume because (you think)) because it’s a disability retirement. But that is not true at all, not at all. The calculations of a disability retirement (CSRS) are as such that typically your are paid more than your actual years of service, OR your actual years of service, with no reduction for age.

That being said, I do believe that you will be affected because you still would be considered “double-dipping” at least for the purposes of this financial conversation when you collect the spousal benefit. IF the SS office can’t tell you “precisely”, it really won’t matter that much as you WILL find out because OPM will send you information about the “changes” to your annuity. Roseanne

R 1. Thank you for your timely response.

Q 2. Hi Roseanne, I discovered your Q&A forum with PostalMag Facebook page last night. Thank you for providing so much valuable information to us. I am looking for your input on my situation. Well over 10 years ago, I was forced to resign for medical reasons, with EEO implication. I was offered disability retirement, since the post office could not comply with a reasonable accommodation due to my medical restrictions as a mgmt employee (EAS-20), even though I had been on accommodations since the very late 90’s. I am a civil service employee and have been a disability annuitant since 2004. Last April 2014 I started a journey to request to be reemployed non-competitively as a disability annuitant into my former position as an EAS17 and identified vacant positions in the level that I was qualified to perform the duties with or without reasonable accommodations.

After six months of no response or action, the A/HR Manager at that time sent me a letter told me that she wasnt in the market to hire EAS employees as she could fill them internally. She referred to Chapter 100 of the CRCS/FERS Handbook. She told me to apply for a PSE job although I would be working for nothing as offsets would affect my annuity. I explained to her the rules that OPM has regarding reemployment and reinstatement of persons on disability annuities and the procedures outlined on the same. I pointed out that there are exceptions further down in the paragraphs Chapter 100A1.1-3 that could assist her but the more I tried to share with her, the more defiant she got. This back and forth banter went on for four months and during this time I sent emails requesting consideration for vacant EAS positions that were open to All Career Employees. At one time she sent me a letter asking what my disability was related to. I had contacted a Disability Law Center and they were incensed by her email. The advocate was a former OPM lawyer that I spoke told me that the PO never complies with the law.

So my question to you is : Do I legitimately and legally have the option to return to my former or similar EAS position if such vacancy exists and if so, How do I make the post office comply with my request especially when vacancies are present and open to all employees. I am not medically recovered as I have fibromyalgia and it is a chronic condition but can manage it through lifestyle changes. I am seeking an administrative recovery by returning to my former pay grade and level. I have been in contact with OPM and they do not see why I cannot be rehired under the rules and regs set forth by them as well as the Reinstatement Act of 2011 and all they would need is a hiring authority notification. I appreciate any feedback you can give me and I look forward to your response. If you would like to speak with me, I would love that. Thank you for your time.

A 2. Hi – I really understand this from ALL sides!! Management’s side, your side and OPM’s side. You are correct in that the rules provide an avenue for those who are on disability retirement to return to duty (reemployment)….and WHO COULD make that happen….well OPM could, in terms of regulations. But the PO still has the right to make a final decision on that. Because the rules/regulations’ “allow” this, it does not mean it’s a “requirement” that the PO has to follow. And they won’t. The Organization is trying to downsize and they are constantly looking for jobs for displaced “affected employees who are losing their jobs” who need a landing spot, And this job you are talking about is a landing spot for an employee who is losing their job. Bear in mind that if the employee happens to be a disabled veteran, well, that job is most definitely going to the Veteran. But IF you are NOT on SSDI (meaning you were not approved for Social Security disability) and probably wouldn’t be if a CSRS……but you can still have gainful employment.

You are able to work ANY job (provided it is NOT a FEDERAL employer) and it will NOT affect the OPM annuity. EVERY answer to every person is NOT the same. So my opinion….STOP trying to go back, its NOT the same place, and you can still work a job, and maintain CSRS disability also. Understand, your disability is based upon you not be able to THAT JOB YOU HAD AT THE POST OFFICE, it does not mean you cannot work anywhere, anytime anymore. I hope this has helped. Roseanne

Q 3. Good morning Roseanne. Thank you for all your knowledge. Wish you would write a book on retirement. Seems you are the only one out there with the actual correct answers. I have a few, but for the clerks I’ve asked I’ll share this one. We are FERS. Our sick leave is now 100% . Soooo how does that add up at retirement?

Example…29 Yrs service, (1 yr .SL). If you work 30 yrs., and add 1 yr.of SL. seems there is no $ advantage. We’ve been told the hours of SL accumulated add to time worked. Can you explain this more clearly for us. (Working 29 yrs , then SL of 1 yr can not be used for last year, am I correct… ?) I’ll have 25 yrs in Nov, and will be 53 in Dec.& am so ready to leave. My husband is done in Jan. from his job. It’s going to be so hard to stay. Thank you for your continued help.

A 3. Hi S I can explain it. Sick leave is “added” to your overall years of service and actually not just years but full months as well. So in your scenario of working 29 years, and then adding the 1 year of sick leave TO MAKE 30 YEARS….is where you are all getting hung up on. You cannot use sick leave to (add to your years of service to “GAIN” eligibility).

FERS Full eligibility is MRA +30 or Age 60 +20 or 62 +5.

SO if you are 60 with 19 years of service and 1 year sick, you can’t use that sick leave to GAIN eligibility. But if you are age 60 with 21 years and 3 months of service and 1 year of sick leave, then your annuity is calculated as 22 years and 3 months. Sick does count towards the “calculation” of your retirement, but NOT to gain the years of service. I hope this helps everyone understand better

FYI….I’ve been doing this awhile, most retirement calculations, for each month added to the retirement calculation (for the average FERS employee/retiree) typically adds about $4.00-$4.50 per month to the monthly annuity..(for life).

R 3. I never expected to hear from you so quickly, thank you so much. I will share this with my co workers. One of them is convinced he does not gain anything by not using up his SL before he leaves. I will show him your response. ($ 4-$4-50) again…. You are awesome. Have a blessed day 🙂

Q 4. I am retiring on 02-02-2016 and I am a FERS employee. I was on hired on 9/15/1984. I am confused, why should I not be a FERS (I always thought I was one of the first) but I will pass on to my fellow employee Nov 1st one day longer than she thought (she is a CSRS, thanks) NC

A 4. NC………STOP>>>>>>>

NOW -Lets start all over. First WHY in the world would you retire on the 2nd of the month if you are a FERS employee…that’s just a totally wrong move ..period, flat out – the wrong move. Tell me why you, as a FERS employee, would retire on the end of the month? After that we will deal with the other date and that is a CSRS. Roseanne

R 4. From day one, my records show that I am eligible to retire 02-02-16 (my 56th birthday)…I guess I’m not sure what to do…please advise. Is it better to wait until the end of the month?? Thank you for taking the time to help me! R

RR 4. Hi R, Yes you can retire at age 56…your MRA, but unless you have a full 30 years of employment when are age 56, that is NOT FULL retirement. That is an MRA+10 retirement and it will reduce your annuity by 5% for each year under 62 AND YOU WILL NOT BE ELIGIBLE FOR THE SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT. You’re worried about the end of a month, and you should be worried about how much money you’re going to lose if you retire at age 56 if you don’t have a full 30 years. READ up on MRA +10 type of retirement, I call it “sucker move”!! But to answer your original question, you should retire at the end of the month if you are a FERS employee. Only CSRS have the option to retire either on the 1st, 2nd or 3rd of the month, and still be eligible to receive an annuity for that month.

Q 5. Hello Roseanne, I am trying to get information about how to go about being able to increase my service time by buying back some of the time that I was a RCR. I was hired by USPS in 1986 and became an RCR shortly after that time, but didn’t become full time carrier until July 1996 when the carrier retired. I need information about buying back time from those 10 years that I carried but was not full time. How much of that time am I eligible to buy back and what is the fee? Do you know who I should contact to get the paperwork started so that I can do the buy back? Thanks for the information. S

A 5. Hi S. In order to buy back your non-career rural time, you must call HRSSC at 1-877-477-3273. They have all of your records of dates of employment and what “years” you are eligible to buy back. There is no fee, this is a part of your employment rights. Call them and get it started…but understand it may be more $$ than you are willing to pay OR it could be that the reduction is less severe than paying the amount back, as it will have interest calculated into the payback. Roseanne

Till we speak again…….Roseanne

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  • MimMat Jones

    Dear Roseanne
    I have been a mail carrier from 09/03 – 09/14. I became a regular carrier in 2008. In 2014, I had surgery due to a work related shoulder injury.I was out of work for 7 1/2 months and my arm and shoulder are still frozen. It has been determined by my doctor that I can no longer return to my job as a mail carrier. I have been driving 37 miles per day to get to light duty work. For the last year I’ve solely depended on my right hand.. ( Until about 2 months ago when I returned to light duty) and I’m starting to feel pain in it. I’m wondering if my right arm has been overworked. I heard that once you are told by your doctor that you can no longer perform the job that you were hired to do by the Postal Service, that you can apply for disability. Is this true? If so, what do I need to do to get the process started?

    Thank you,
    D.G.

  • postalworker1

    HI, AND THX FOR YOUR HELP.. MY QUESTION IS MY SENORITY DATE IE 1-3 1987. IF I LEAVE IN 30YRS. CAN YOU GIVE ME ME A BALLPARK FIGURE? ( I WILL BE 58 IN 2017 WITH 30 YRS IN) 3-19-1959 SORRY FOR ALL CAPITAL LETTERS STUCK ON CAPITALS((

  • Christine Kassner Farmer

    Dear Roseanne
    Can you roll money over into the FERS from previous employment and if so where can I find the paperwork to do so?

  • Denise

    If you have a question for Roseanne, email her, her email is listed above. She will reply quickly to you, she does not answer questions here in the comments.

  • postalworker1

    THNX DEE

  • KanCarrier

    I sent Roseanne a question 2 weeks ago and haven’t received a reply. I am guessing that she doesn’t always have the time to respond quickly. Anyone else have a similar experience?