Editorial: Update – Does the Postal Service Really Want Early Retirements?

A year ago I speculated in the PostalReporter News Blog, “In recent VERAs the Postal Service issued FERS annuity estimates that omitted the employee’s FERS annuity supplement.  The FERS annuity supplement is often nearly equal to the basic annuity amount.  Was that to discourage early retirements so they can justify weakening the no-layoff clause in upcoming contract negotiations?”  My suspicions have proven correct.  Recently the Postal Service asked Congress to authorize layoffs of career employees without offering VERs first.

The response rate to USPS early retirement offers has been poor.  Lots of postal employees eligible or potentially eligible for the FERS annuity supplement have complained they didn’t know how much it was.  When they called the HR Shared Services Center, they couldn’t get this information.  Will the Postal Service continue to fail to provide this information?

I applaud Ernie Kirkland of the National Association of Letter Carriers for raising this issue in Federal Times.  The other postal organizations have been strangely silent. OPM’s “CSRS and FERS Handbook,” Chapter 40, Section 40A2.1-3.N, requires the Postal Service to furnish an estimate of the FERS annuity supplement to eligible employees upon request.  Most other federal agencies do.

 FedBens.us will calculate the exact amount of your FERS annuity supplement using the same method as OPM.  You will need your annual FERS earnings history.  Estimates that use your Social Security record are less accurate, because your Social Security record includes work not covered by FERS and FERS service prior to age 22, neither of which is counted in calculating the supplement.  You can learn more at FedSmith.com

 I should add that there is a common misconception (not dispelled by USPS) that you have to reach age 59 ½ to withdraw your Thrift Savings Plan funds without an IRS early withdrawal penalty.  There is an exception.  When you retire or separate, the minimum age to withdraw your TSP funds without an IRS early withdrawal penalty is 55.  If you retire or separate before age 55, you can still avoid the IRS penalty by choosing an annuity or leaving your money in the account.  See TSP publication 536, “Tax Information: Payments From Your TSP Account.”

Postal employees in FERS normally need 30 years of federal service to get the FERS annuity supplement before age 60.  Many don’t know, and aren’t told, that in a VERA, RIF, or involuntary transfer over 50 miles the minimum service requirement is reduced to 20 years.  FERS employees who retire (other than on disability or MRA+10) at less than age 62 will always receive an annuity supplement.  The FERS annuity supplement begins when you reach your MRA (about age 56).  It ends at age 62 when you become eligible for Social Security.
Don Cheney
Auburn WA

13 thoughts on “Editorial: Update – Does the Postal Service Really Want Early Retirements?

  1. I’d like to say “F$#k You” to all the people that vote Rethuglikkkan, all Postal “Management”, and all the loser SCABS that accept benefits.

  2. I took advantage of the VERA in ’09. All the info I needed relating to the Special Supplement was available. I left, knowing just what I was going to get. Employees have to actually be proactive and read the available info. Anyone who didn’t leave because they were too lazy to investigate the offer……..well, that’s their problem.

  3. Here’s an idea! Instead of the postal service offering early retirement, why not offer severance packages to those newer employees (less than 10 years in service) not even close to retirement and see how many people get out NOW? If they offered me something like a lump sum equal to 6 months salary, I’d leave today! It would cost less in the long run because they don’t have to keep paying benefits or retirement on someone and they wouldn’t have to break the contracts by laying off workers.

  4. God forbid if an employees has to figure things out for themselves. Do a little research on your own and reach your own conclusions.

  5. The formula for the supplement is just 25 dollars for every year you have in the Postal Service. For example 30 years 30 x 25 = 750 Dollars a Month.

  6. USPS must reduce employees to reduce cost and maximize automation or continue to operate this American tradition at a loss. Congress must reduce USPS debt and quit playing Post Office, Many small offices that have no justification to exist to provide service are being ignored. Fraternal order of Postmasters unions, MUST HAVE MADE cCONGRESS AWARE THAT A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT IS NEEDED THAT APPLIED IN 1775 BUT HAS NO JUSTIFICATION IN TODAYS INTERNET AGE. Employees that are eligible to retire should be retired with no recourse.

    Ask your priests and ministers about “Thou shall not bear false witness”, and prepare yourselves for a long time in hell, before any, if any, redemption.

  8. For ‘jack potter’ re: firing ‘sligs’ and hiring ex-military. MORON- 35% or more USPS craft employees ARE EX-MILITARY; and the vast majority of the rest work as hard or better than them.

  9. In the last Vera I was told I could retire but I would have to wait for the supplement, until I was 56. Is that correct? And in the last paragragh, it says-Many don’t know, and aren’t told, that in a VERA, RIF, or involuntary transfer over 50 miles the minimum service requirement is reduced to 20 years. FERS employees who retire (other than on disability or MRA+10) at less than age 62 will ALWAYS RECEIVE an annuity supplement. Does OPM say that somewhere?

  10. I found HR Shared Services very helpful. They told me about the supplement without asking. I was very surprised at the amount of the supplement. For anyone interested in the formula to figure your own, here it is. OPM figures the amount on a 40 year work life. I have 32 years of Federal service, but military time cannot be used. My projected Social Security at age 62 will be $1212.00. I have 25 years paying in to Social Security. 1212 x [25/40] = amount of supplement. 25 /40= 0.625. 1212 x 0.625 = $757.50. This amount made my decision to retire very easy. This is paid until I am 62. At that time I can choose the $1212, or wait until I am 65. Good luck. I am very thankful for career working with the public, but a I am just as thankful to leave a company that would even attempt to break a written contract with it’s labor unions.

  11. don’t give them a buy out. just fire the whole bunch of slugs and rehire ex military people. they have a good work ethic

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