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Thread: Stoplight's Retirement Story (FERS, Gap in Service, Military Buy-Back)

  1. #13

    Default Re: Stoplight's Retirement Story (FERS, Gap in Service, Military Buy-Back)

    Quote Originally Posted by nasa1974 View Post
    Stoplight, Sure hope you're correct on the AL lump sum. I was told it could take up to 3 pay periods to get the check. I'm not sure if they meant 3 two week periods or 3 retirement periods. I guess I should ask again. I should be selling back about 300 hours. Keeping a close eye on my SL as well. I don't want to give to many days back.
    Nasa,

    I'm just relaying what my HR Folks told me...the lump sum estimate for a/l was by "current" pay period...My Brother retired from DOD in Dec 2011, and he got his lump sum payout right away, so I suspect my info is good...at least, for DOD !

    Stoplight...
    "Too old to rock and roll...too young to die"... - I. Anderson

  2.  
  3. #14

    Join Date
    Jun 2004
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    Boiled Peanut, Georgia, USA
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    49,089

    Default Re: Stoplight's Retirement Story (FERS, Gap in Service, Military Buy-Back)

    Quote Originally Posted by Stoplight View Post
    Nasa,

    I'm just relaying what my HR Folks told me...the lump sum estimate for a/l was by "current" pay period...My Brother retired from DOD in Dec 2011, and he got his lump sum payout right away, so I suspect my info is good...at least, for DOD !

    Stoplight...
    NASA I got mine in 4 days!!!
    Links Crude Settle $55.96 12-06-2017
    -$1.66 Loss




  4.  
  5. #15

    Default Re: Stoplight's Retirement Story (FERS, Gap in Service, Military Buy-Back)

    The Gap

    Having a gap in Federal service introduced a whole series of other issues to my retirement decision. To recap, I left the Feds in 2007, and returned in 2009. In hindsight, it was both one of the smartest, and dumbest, things I ever did !

    Dumbest, because the gap invoked a bunch of rules I wouldn’t have had to deal with, had I stayed in my cushy Fed job. Smartest, because leaving maintained my sanity, and worked out, in the end. I’m not going to get into the specifics, but suffice to say, it was the right move for me, at the time !

    So what did “The Gap” do to me ? First, although I got paid for my annual leave on the books, I lost a large chunk of sick leave. At that time, there was no provision for us FERS Guys to get any credit for sick leave. Now, there is ½ credit...I suppose I could apply for reinstatement of my sick leave, but I chalk it up to “life lessons learned”...

    When I came back to the Feds, it was to a position with a different Agency, and 2 grades lower than what I left...However, it was in an area with a much lower cost of living, and the new Agency paid my moving expenses, and offered me a wage that topped me out on the GS pay band...after crunching the numbers, it made sense, so I took it ! I’m living where we want to be, and my “high-3" pension is based on my previous salary, way back when !

    That's one of the scary things on the horizon that made me decide to bail...in my situation, if the Feds go to a "High-5" plan, that would mean ~$2,000 per year LESS on my pension...

    The other major factor was the “5 year rule” for maintaining health insurance into retirement. The Wife’s health insurance was carried for her into retirement (we both carried “Self-Only” ; cheaper !), but we didn’t trust the School Board to maintain that coverage. Until just recently, I was under the impression that the 5 year clock started ticking when I came back. That meant that I needed to work until 2014 to carry that benefit into retirement, for me, and possibly her, if the School Board bailed out ! However, I recently discovered that the 5 year rule can span a break in service such as mine. The “rule” is...you have to have a minimum of 5 years service, counting before and after the gap, PROVIDED that you signed up immediately when you came back (which I did).

    I found this out by fooling around on the OPM web site...once I learned this, I realized “Well, Heck ! I am FERS, and I have 30 years and the MRA (56 for me) as of Nov 2011...so I can go NOW !!!” I called our HR people, and confirmed this was the case....and made the decision to go !

    Stoplight...
    "Too old to rock and roll...too young to die"... - I. Anderson

  6.  
  7. #16

    Default Re: Stoplight's Retirement Story (FERS, Gap in Service, Military Buy-Back)

    Retirement Benefit Estimate

    I haven't seen this mentioned much, so I'll throw this out there. My Agency (Navy) has a service where you give them a proposed retirement date or dates, and they send you a pretty detailed estimate of your monthly retirement benefits as of those date(s). The estimate is based on info in your OPF, and includes your basic pension, with deductions you specify (survivor benefit, etc) as well as estimated deductions for your health care benefits and taxes.

    In my case, it also included a correct calculation of my "high-3" (which occurred several years ago), and an estimate of the annuity supplement (which I'm eligible for). I was surprised at the level of detail provided...a great planning tool, and the folks were very helpful in answering any questions you might have on the estimate.

    I don't know if ALL Agencies provide the same service, but if yours does, and you're nearing retirement, take advantage of it !

    Stoplight...
    "Too old to rock and roll...too young to die"... - I. Anderson

  8.  
  9. #17

    Default Re: Stoplight's Retirement Story (FERS, Gap in Service, Military Buy-Back)


    Missing Paperwork


    I Fed Exd my retirement package (SF-3107) to the HR Folks March 5th. Right on schedule (Mar 8th), I got a call from the HR Retirement Counselor, concerning my package.

    She went over many of the issues that have been discussed on this Board, before...percentage of pay (60-80%) ; no annuity supplement until OPM does their thing ; wait 30 days after you retire before contacting TSP concerning your withdrawal ; make sure you have enough money to live on for several months !

    She asked me for 2 things that were missing...first, was a copy of my marriage license ! Now, I have no idea where this was coming from...theres a question and answer block on the -3107 that asks you some questions about your current and previous marriages, but I didnt see anything about submitting a license.

    Second, she needed something to prove I had bought back my military service. I thought that was curious, because the Navy did have my service computation date correct, which included the buy-back, as well as the adjustment for my gap in service. If I had worked for the Navy my entire career, it would be shown on my Leave and Earnings Statement (LES). However, as a guy who had come from another Agency, where I had made the deposit, they wanted proof !

    The marriage license was no problem, but I had to find paperwork from 2005 to show I made the deposit. Fortunately, I was able to put my hands on an old LES that showed it. I was tickled to tell the Wife : See ??? Theres a REASON I kept all these old pay stubs !!!

    The missing documents were emailed to HR on Mar 12...so far, no further communication from them, so I guess everything is moving !


    Stoplight...
    "Too old to rock and roll...too young to die"... - I. Anderson

  10.  
  11. #18

    Default Re: Stoplight's Retirement Story (FERS, Gap in Service, Military Buy-Back)

    I had been warned about the "proof of buyback of military time." My Agency has the online EOPF system. While reviewing it I noticed the paid in full receipt I had received back in 2003 was missing. I made a copy and sent it to my Agency. It has been included. I keep a copy at home and sent one to my parents, and I saved a couple scanned copies on computers at home.

    Marriage license? Were you remarried during your government service?


  12.  
  13. #19

    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Maumelle
    Posts
    46

    Default Re: Stoplight's Retirement Story (FERS, Gap in Service, Military Buy-Back)

    Quote Originally Posted by Stoplight View Post
    Retirement Benefit Estimate

    I haven't seen this mentioned much, so I'll throw this out there. My Agency (Navy) has a service where you give them a proposed retirement date or dates, and they send you a pretty detailed estimate of your monthly retirement benefits as of those date(s). The estimate is based on info in your OPF, and includes your basic pension, with deductions you specify (survivor benefit, etc) as well as estimated deductions for your health care benefits and taxes.

    In my case, it also included a correct calculation of my "high-3" (which occurred several years ago), and an estimate of the annuity supplement (which I'm eligible for). I was surprised at the level of detail provided...a great planning tool, and the folks were very helpful in answering any questions you might have on the estimate.

    I don't know if ALL Agencies provide the same service, but if yours does, and you're nearing retirement, take advantage of it !

    Stoplight...
    Not all agencies have great HR personnel for retirement, I have witnessed our retirement unit erode over the last few years. I too requested the retirement estimation which took 4 weeks to deliver. The FERS annuity is exactly the same as the automated self-query an employee can figure themselves. The estimation has written OPF not reviewed? I am questioning the FERS supplement, I have figured the estimation myself and also on a calculation tool on the internet and the HR person's estimate was $150 lower than my estimation! I have called and emailed the HR person wanting to know how this was calculated and still no answer. I am a FERS transfer from 1999, really regret that transfer but it will all work out. I have been watching this deal play that congress is pushing for the Part-time program for feds eligible to retire and starting to think it doesnt look that bad. Work two 10 days for the same pay same, might not be a bad idea!

  14.  
  15. #20

    Default Re: Stoplight's Retirement Story (FERS, Gap in Service, Military Buy-Back)

    Smart move, K !

    I vaguely remember getting a letter/receipt when I wrote the check in 2005, but like an idiot, I didn't file that away in the lock box, like my DD-214, marriage license, etc It's probably packed in some box around here somewhere...

    RE: the license...yes, I did get remarried while I was a Fed. I guess they're really concerned about an ex-wife's claim against your retirement benefits. I DO have a Separation Agreement from my ex, where she gave up any future claims, but they didn't ask for that. Now, THAT paperwork IS locked up !

    The counselor mentioned that the license was something "OPM will want..." when they get the package.


    Stoplight...
    "Too old to rock and roll...too young to die"... - I. Anderson

  16.  
  17. #21

    Default Re: Stoplight's Retirement Story (FERS, Gap in Service, Military Buy-Back)

    Quote Originally Posted by barbarajean View Post
    Not all agencies have great HR personnel for retirement, I have witnessed our retirement unit erode over the last few years. I too requested the retirement estimation which took 4 weeks to deliver. The FERS annuity is exactly the same as the automated self-query an employee can figure themselves. The estimation has written OPF not reviewed? I am questioning the FERS supplement, I have figured the estimation myself and also on a calculation tool on the internet and the HR person's estimate was $150 lower than my estimation! I have called and emailed the HR person wanting to know how this was calculated and still no answer. I am a FERS transfer from 1999, really regret that transfer but it will all work out. I have been watching this deal play that congress is pushing for the Part-time program for feds eligible to retire and starting to think it doesnt look that bad. Work two 10 days for the same pay same, might not be a bad idea!
    BJ,

    Well, I can't complain about my HR experience so far...although it's weird...I've had to deal with people in 3 different States, depending on what I was looking for ! All of them have been helpful !

    The estimate in 4 weeks isn't bad...they tell us 30 days, but when I first spoke with the person doing the calculation, she warned me that it probably would be longer than that...she said "We're getting SLAMMED with retirements !" I did get it within the 30 days, anyway.

    Of course, there's no way of knowing how accurate the estimate is until the checks start hitting the bank ! The basic annuity is pretty easy to figure, once you have your high-3 figured out. In my case, the supplement estimate was higher than I had calculated.

    The part-time deal is interesting, but I think I'm ready to go do something else


    Stoplight...
    "Too old to rock and roll...too young to die"... - I. Anderson

  18.  
  19. #22

    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Posts
    8,438

    Default Re: Stoplight's Retirement Story (FERS, Gap in Service, Military Buy-Back)

    Quote Originally Posted by Stoplight View Post
    Retirement Benefit Estimate

    I haven't seen this mentioned much, so I'll throw this out there. My Agency (Navy) has a service where you give them a proposed retirement date or dates, and they send you a pretty detailed estimate of your monthly retirement benefits as of those date(s). The estimate is based on info in your OPF, and includes your basic pension, with deductions you specify (survivor benefit, etc) as well as estimated deductions for your health care benefits and taxes.

    In my case, it also included a correct calculation of my "high-3" (which occurred several years ago), and an estimate of the annuity supplement (which I'm eligible for). I was surprised at the level of detail provided...a great planning tool, and the folks were very helpful in answering any questions you might have on the estimate.

    I don't know if ALL Agencies provide the same service, but if yours does, and you're nearing retirement, take advantage of it !

    Stoplight...
    Glad you brought this up. NASA has this benifit and I have used it since 2009 to get an idea what retirement dates would look like. We could pick up to 3 dates at one time and I think you could utilize this at least twice a year.

    [QUOTE=Stoplight;353867]
    Missing Paperwork


    She asked me for 2 things that were missing...first, was a copy of my marriage license ! Now, I have no idea where this was coming from...theres a question and answer block on the -3107 that asks you some questions about your current and previous marriages, but I didnt see anything about submitting a license.

    Second, she needed something to prove I had bought back my military service. I thought that was curious, because the Navy did have my service computation date correct, which included the buy-back, as well as the adjustment for my gap in service. If I had worked for the Navy my entire career, it would be shown on my Leave and Earnings Statement (LES). However, as a guy who had come from another Agency, where I had made the deposit, they wanted proof ![QUOTE]

    I forgot to send my marraige license when I FAXed my package to NSSC. I was tolsd they needed it for my Federal Life Insurance.
    Last year there was a retirement review you had to sign up for and folks came up from NSSC to go over all your paperwork. I was asked if I paid back my military time because the HR person didn't have it in my folder. Fortunately I had the letter with me me and it got corrected on the spot.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stoplight View Post
    RE: the license...yes, I did get remarried while I was a Fed. I guess they're really concerned about an ex-wife's claim against your retirement benefits. I DO have a Separation Agreement from my ex, where she gave up any future claims, but they didn't ask for that. Now, THAT paperwork IS locked up !

    The counselor mentioned that the license was something "OPM will want..." when they get the package.


    Stoplight...
    Stoplight did you mention that you were remarried? I know this is getting a little personal but it might be good to have this documented so that there is no possible calim agains your Life Insurance (if you have any government kind), your TSP if you keep it there or your pension. HR just might want a copy of the agreement or a statement from your Ex saying she will claim nothing. Got to protect what is yours.
    May the force be with us.

  20.  
  21. #23

    Default Re: Stoplight's Retirement Story (FERS, Gap in Service, Military Buy-Back)

    Nasa,

    I don't remember if my previous Agencies had the estimate service or not...frankly, details about "retirement" hadn't gotten much of my attention until later in my Fed career ! That's why I brought it up...perhaps many of these youngsters might want to request an estimate, although I don't know how accurate it would be. Obviously, the closer you are to retirement, the more accurate the estimate will be...

    In my case, we could request 1 every 12 months...I last had one done in 2010, but got a current one done in Feb.

    Another bit of advice to everyone would be to take advantage of any retirement seminar/training that might be offered. I did take one of those several years ago, and the info was outstanding...I'm still using the course handouts as I plot my strategy !

    Regarding marriage licenses and divorces...no, that's not too personal...you raise an excellent point ! I didn't think of the government life insurance aspect, because I have never carried the FEGLI coverage...but that might explain why they asked me for the copy of my license ! FEGLI was more expensive than what was available on the open market...I've had a private term policy for many years, and one of the decisions I have to make now is whether or not it's even worth carrying any more. I have another policy that will pay enough to plant me in the ground when I croak, and choosing a survivor benefit, along with the TSP pot, and her pension, should keep my Wife from having to worry too much

    Divorce, re-marriage, and dependents are a real tough issue that folks need to think about...in my case, I was fortunate enough to not have any children by either marriage (by choice, but don't flame me for that decision !) Also, my divorce was "friendly", if one can use that term to describe a divorce...but you get my drift ! We did a legal separation agreement that laid out who got what, so if OPM wants me to prove I have no ex's claim on my pension or anything else, I can do that !

    Good discussion...thanks to all who are jumping in with their questions and thoughts !


    Stoplight...
    "Too old to rock and roll...too young to die"... - I. Anderson

  22.  
  23. #24

    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Posts
    8,438

    Default Re: Stoplight's Retirement Story (FERS, Gap in Service, Military Buy-Back)

    I'm spending more time on your retirement site than mine. But you are bringing up some very good points.


    Quote Originally Posted by Stoplight View Post
    Nasa,

    I don't remember if my previous Agencies had the estimate service or not...frankly, details about "retirement" hadn't gotten much of my attention until later in my Fed career ! That's why I brought it up...perhaps many of these youngsters might want to request an estimate, although I don't know how accurate it would be. Obviously, the closer you are to retirement, the more accurate the estimate will be...

    In my case, we could request 1 every 12 months...I last had one done in 2010, but got a current one done in Feb.

    I guess not all agencies offer the estimate or not. But I would suggest that everyone check to see if it is offered. I think it is a great service. It really shows if you can afford to retire now instead of later.

    Another bit of advice to everyone would be to take advantage of any retirement seminar/training that might be offered. I did take one of those several years ago, and the info was outstanding...I'm still using the course handouts as I plot my strategy !

    We were told that you really should attend your first retirement seminar about 10 years away from your retirement date and then attend one 5 years out. It really does get you thinking about what you should be doing before retirement. I would suggest that everyone look at this website for retirement information. From CSRS to FERS - Retirement Planning - Pay & Benefits - GovExec.com Tammy Flanagan is really good. She also talks about the best dates to retire, CSRS vs. FERS.

    Regarding marriage licenses and divorces...no, that's not too personal...you raise an excellent point ! I didn't think of the government life insurance aspect, because I have never carried the FEGLI coverage...but that might explain why they asked me for the copy of my license ! FEGLI was more expensive than what was available on the open market...I've had a private term policy for many years, and one of the decisions I have to make now is whether or not it's even worth carrying any more. I have another policy that will pay enough to plant me in the ground when I croak, and choosing a survivor benefit, along with the TSP pot, and her pension, should keep my Wife from having to worry too much

    This covers the paragraph above and below. When you retire and if you plan to keep your money in your TSP account make sure you read "Form TSP-3, Designation of Beneficiary". If you do not designate a beneficiary then your money will be distributed following your states statutory order of precedence when you pass away. You also want to have a beneficiary for you federal pension. If you don't your hard earned money may go to someone you don't want it to go to.

    Divorce, re-marriage, and dependents are a real tough issue that folks need to think about...in my case, I was fortunate enough to not have any children by either marriage (by choice, but don't flame me for that decision !) Also, my divorce was "friendly", if one can use that term to describe a divorce...but you get my drift ! We did a legal separation agreement that laid out who got what, so if OPM wants me to prove I have no ex's claim on my pension or anything else, I can do that !

    Good discussion...thanks to all who are jumping in with their questions and thoughts !


    Stoplight...
    May the force be with us.

  24.  
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