Get a Life

By Judith Welles

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Get a Life: Why feds should be thankful

Feds can be thankful. The engine of government is throttling along even as some retire and others are hired.

As my previous blogs have outlined, hiring can now include retired federal workers who will continue their annuity with no reduction in salary when they return part-time to government jobs.

Other changes in the recently enacted 2010 Defense Authorization bill will benefit feds thinking about retirement. Those covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System will receive credit toward their retirement annuity for unused sick leave. Those who retire before 2014 will receive credit for half of their unused sick time while others will receive full credit at the start of 2014.

Retired FERS employees who return to government jobs will be able to add back any contributions they may have taken out when they left government so that their retirement benefits can continue to grow.

Like FERS employees, the new law would allow Civil Service Retirement System employees who are working part time to have their full-time equivalent salary used to compute their retirement. Before, CSRS employees would have their High-3 salary computation based on their lower part-time salary if they worked less than 40 hours. Now, the High-3 will be based on their full-time rate even though they are working part time.

OK, not everything has changed that we might want. There is still no pretax health benefits for retirees and no change in the windfall provisions (GPO and WEP) that reduce any earned Social Security benefits based on the annuities of CSRS retirees.

Still, changes that did occur show that federal employees have garnered supporters and allies in the Congress for the work they do. Those allies deserve thanks, too. Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted by Judith Welles on Nov 18, 2009 at 12:12 PM


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