Postal service questions


Q. Age: 56 (will be 57 in July 2011)
Service comp date: May 1983
Hired:  July 1984
Retirement:  FERS from the start
Break in service:  May 2007-February 2009 (about 22 months)
Military:  USMC 1975-1978 (“bought” the time)
VER Authority:  Application deadline and irrevocability date 4/25/2011
Effective date 5/31/2011
RIF Effective Date:  Sept 9, 2011

If I lost my job on Sept. 9 (with 28 years and about four months service) and took a discontinued service retirement, would I be eligible for:
a)  Annuity supplement (Social Security offset)
b)  No “+ 10” reduction of my FERS annuity
c)  TSP withdrawals without penalty
d)  Continuation of health benefits.  I restarted them as soon as I could upon being rehired, but there were a couple weeks before my federal health benefits kicked back in.  In other words, do I have the five years’ continuous coverage? If I took the VER, what would change, if anything, in questions a-d above?  (I wouldn’t be 56 — my MRA — having been born in 1955)

A. Under these circumstances, you would have access to your TSP without penalty.

Whether you are involuntarily separated or accept a VERA, you would be eligible for an immediate, unreduced annuity. In either case, you would only need to be age 50 and have at least 20 years of service. You’d be eligible to receive the special retirement supplement when you reach your minimum retirement age, which in your case is 56. You would be able to continue your FEHB coverage in retirement if you had been covered for the full five consecutive years before you retire. If you were covered under the FEHB program when you left government and re-enrolled as soon as you returned, and the combined coverage totaled 5 years, that would qualify.




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Mike Miles is a Certified Financial Planner licensee and principal adviser for Variplan LLC, an independent fiduciary in Vienna, Virginia. Email your financial questions to and view his blog at

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