Contributors

Postal Retirement Q&A November 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 just want to thank you, I wont go into detail because I know you have helped many. I was finally “found ” in the system, since leaving before 30 years created a real problem. By having no one locally in my state help me, your direction was great,

I should be getting my deferred comp CSRS starting next month. One last question. I looked up my Social Security benefits which I have not yet applied for, as I turned 62 in March 2015. The numbers it shows, does it take into account I was CSRS, or after I apply they cut the amount from what is computed????? Again I greatly thank you for your direction and advice. You were a great savior!!!! Regards, ZS

A. 1 Hi ZS, It sounds to me like you might have been in the CSRS/Offset retirement system. If that is then your SS will be the same, but your CSRS will have a reduction applied. If you are a straight CSRS, be aware, that your Social Security will “suffer” a loss due based upon the Windfall Elimination. Just prepare yourself for it. Roseanne

Q 2. Hi Roseanne, Just a simple check in, just to say what a joke the self plus one was. I got the up date as to what the premium was going to be for me and the wife as retiree. I know you already know because you are all knowing( ha ha), I go from 321.00-348.00 a month wow great savings huh. Keep up the great job you do, also everything went just as you said,why does anyone doubt you Thanks from a friend JB

A 2. Thank you, I sure needed that today. Roseanne

Q 3. Hi Roseanne, I am going to retire at 62. Is the 1.1 percent calculated ONLY on postal years worked? I bought back my military and was wondering if the 4 years will be calculated at 1.1 percent also. I have almost a year sick leave, is that calculated at 1.1% also.
Thank you, DD

A 3. The 1.1 is counted (including paid military towards retirement). The Special Supplement is the one that does not pay for military years. Roseanne

Q 4. I just ran across a q and a article by you on the internet. I’ve been with USPS for 20 years at 50 years old. I’m just curious about retirement right now. Knowing it’s a few years out but, would like to get someone to guide me and maybe tell me if there are some things I need to do differently now. I’m in NC. Is there anyone you could point me to that would have my best interest in mind and not the post office?

A 4. Hi – That information that I sent you was the “typical email”. But in all reality- you are not even close to retire. You are at least 6 years away from MRA (maybe even 7) and a lot can change in 7 years. But I am going to tell you what is the TRUTH, until you reach your MRA with 30 years or age 60 with 20 years, it’s not the great retirement – that it could be.

I speak about the MRA+10….but you’re not even close to that. You Flat out have to work until age 60 because it is then that you have 30 years and over your MRA. When you turn your MRA (56 or 57), yea….you are eligible to retire, but the HIT (reduction in monthly income) you take, can be severe….as this is NOT full retirement. That calculation then is reduced by 5% for each year under age 62…so right there it’s a 30% reduction on your FERS pension….then to make matters even worse…..you are NOT NOT NOT eligible for the Special Supplement. So I know that is a lot of information to digest….but it is correct. Roseanne

Q 5. Hi Roseanne, I enjoy reading and rereading your column. When I retire in 2017 I’ll have my pension of $1600 a month, special annuity of $1200 a month, for a total of $2800 a month or $33,600 annually. I will also have about 235k in my thrift. What I’m trying to figure out is the net amount that I’ll have to live on. I have had some professional postal review people show me a Net amount from the pension, (minus healthcare, survivor benefit cost and taxes) what confuses me is they add on the supplemental annuity and show no tax taken out of it. Forget my thrift for now and please help me gauge my tax bite on 2800 a month. Presently I live comfortably on about 25k net a year and save the rest.

With regard to my thrift savings I’ve read too many possibilities to stay clearheaded. Lifetime annuity seems like the best idea for a guaranteed income without a loss. Too many people selling things that I don’t believe in so I know that you would be honest with me.
Thank you SB

A 5. Well to clear up one thing….the Special Supplement is to “mimic” the Social Security…..so there is no taxes taken out of the Special Supplement. As far as your TSP…to be honest….with that type of money in TSP, I would do some research into the TSP “monthly payments”…it really is such a good deal. Roseanne

Q 6. Roseanne, My estimate of benefits statement shows my most recent three years (EAS 17) in the computation as my high 3, when I actually have five years as an EAS 20 (downgrade request). Is this simply a “system” error on the intranet worksheet? Three to go!

A 6. Hi 3 to go – The annuity estimate is really just a “snap shot” of the last 3 years of your form 50 history. Now, true….higher level does count….but it will be calculated once Eagan sends the payroll records to OPM. The Retirement NARCES report is built around the last 3 years of service, because TYPICALLY the last 3 years are your HIGH 3 years. So they go with the masses…..and the mass of employees that retire, their high 3 average salary IS the last 3 years. In your case, you will have to wait until you receive (the blue retirement booklet that is sent AFTER your retirement is completed by OPM), to see what they DEEM as your high 3 average salary. Roseanne

Q 7. Hi Roseanne, If you are the same one referred me to a while ago, I have a question for you. If a FERS employee retires at age 56 with 32 years of service, is his social security benefit decreased because he stopped working at 56? Thanks EE. NALC

A 7. Hi EE, I probably am….So to I’ll try to answer this question in a way that makes sense….because it’s my firm belief that it has to make sense to be true.

The SS statement that is received by employees shows very different monthly amounts – depending on when YOU BEGIN TO TAKE THE SOCIAL SECURITY monthly benefit at either age (62); or (65/66); or (67).

The Computer for Social Security is based on a 40 year work cycle. Over the course of 40 years it is based even if you worked only 30, and in some cases 10 years (because you only have to have 40 quarters (10 yrs) to be eligible for a Social Security check)

And these years are calculated according to your wages and years putting into the SS fund. If you look at a SS statement for someone each year the figures don’t change that much ( in terms of what you will receive at age 62.etc )…sometimes even with a SOAR of income, even in the final years of employment, will not net much of an increase in each of the different ages when beginning the SS check……again….it based over a 40 year work cycle.

The money calculated is calculated for the age with the funds currently in there. In keeping with logic, those numbers would of course go up (slightly) if someone continued to work … .but would if he/she stopped working for any reason, they wouldn’t go down either, they should be exactly what the SS statement says that you would get at age 62. To me, this makes logical sense.

Just like the waiting until 66 versus 62…just put a calculator to that, it would take you 9 or so years to recoup that money you lost for those 4 years …why would anyone wait until 66….really!! Please let me know if this has helped you in any way. Roseanne

Till we speak again… Roseanne

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  • Wolfie52

    “Just like the waiting until 66 versus 62…just put a calculator to that,
    it would take you 9 or so years to recoup that money you lost for those 4
    years …why would anyone wait until 66….” This is misleading at best.

    There are many facets to SS, and waiting until full retirement age can make a huge difference in lifetime income, esp for a married couple. Your “survivors” benefit is effected by when YOU take your benefit. So the fact you may give up 4 years (or so) of retirement income, doesn’t mean you should retire at 62. There are many options, “such as file and suspend” and unless you expect a very short lifespan, you will generally come out better by waiting at least until full retirement age. You need to look into that and get information from different sources than you do for FERS of CSRS.

  • elderberry

    They are trying to take away “file & suspend” so no telling how that will come out.

  • Christopher O’Malley

    Your should know exactly what the TSP default retirement annuity is and how it will affect your retirement. Here’s a short YouTube Video https://youtu.be/mH6Oua_UwYM

  • Rick

    My thoughts exactly after reading that comment. If you’re in good health at 62,I would pass on SS. Chances are you will live longer than 75 (66+9 yrs to recoup). Everything over 75 is more than you would take home if you took it at 62,