Of military retirement, the IT pay raise and death benefits

A Reader Writes:

I am a retired military member now working in a commercial environment. I am seriously looking at joining the ranks of civil service. I understand that there are positions that would not require me to give up my retired military pay while in civil service. How does this work?

Milt Replies:

If you go to work in the civil service, you won't forfeit your retired military pay, thanks to a 2000 law change.

Here is an article about the law, from the Journal of the Air Force Association: "New rules on dual compensation."

Also, refer to the Office of Personnel Management's VetGuide page.

A Reader Writes:

I was reading some back articles about the (governmentwide) 7 percent to 33 percent pay raise that computer specialists, series GS-334, were supposed to receive ["Pay raise particulars," for example.

I belong to this series but I never received any raises. When I talk to personnel, they say we aren't eligible. I see where the Federal Aviation Administration was forced to pay its workers after they filed a grievance ["FAA tech workers win pay raise"].

Is there anything I can do (file a grievance)? Are there any unions that can file a grievance on our part? (I don't belong to any.) Any help would be appreciated.

Milt Replies:

You can always file a grievance with or without a union and see what happens. What can you lose?

A Reader Writes:

My husband died a few years ago and I remarried, but have since divorced. I will soon turn 60 and would like to know if I will be eligible for widow benefits at that time.

Milt Replies:

The widow or widower of a deceased federal employee is generally eligible for a monthly survivor annuity, provided he or she was married to the deceased for at least nine months before the death. Also, the deceased annuitant must have elected a reduced payment with survivor benefits.

A former spouse may be eligible for a monthly survivor annuity if he or she meets the nine-month marriage requirement and a court order or a survivor election by the deceased provides for the annuity.

If the surviving spouse had a child with the deceased person or if the death was accidental, the nine-month marriage requirement does not apply.

Zall is a retired federal employee who since 1987 has written the Bureaucratus column for Federal Computer Week. He can be reached at milt.zall@verizon.net.

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