Five years, SCD, and the water cooler here on today’s Fednobabble.com.
Welcome to the Fenobabble, where we demystify your federal benefits and help them to be understandable for humans in under 20 minutes.
Yes, I love that demystified. That is exactly what it is, because we take your questions and we take real life people questions, not questions.
We just make up, as you will see in today’s Fenobabble episode, was one of this is a real this is not a question we would ever ask, but it’s a question that obviously is asked because it was asked.
So we will we’re going to say that for the last question. So you got to stick around for that. So let’s do question number one, Cassie. How long do I have to have Blue Cross in order to take it into retirement?
OK, I think this is a really, really simple question, it’s five years, and it’s not just Blue Cross though, right? Let me be clear – it’s five years for FEHB OPM out of which plan you’re in, in FEHB right now.
I’m going to get a little bit more complicated here in answering this question just because the answer is five years. Yeah, I’m done. Right. But let’s also throw a couple examples in here. One person came in and I’m going to let you answer this. I know the answer to this, but I want to see if you have the right answer.
No, just Kevin Kevin. I know it’s kind of like saying, you know, I have a friend I’m asking for a friend. No, we really know what’s going on. So this is this is what happened. Someone came in and said, I used to work for the federal government. And I had FEHB then and I quit and I’ve come back for two years so that I can get my federal so I can get federal benefits again, and he said, does that work or do I have to go back or do I have to work another five years before I retire?
Or just is two years. OK, what? Seyi Cassie. So as long as they sign up for FEHB and family or whatever benefit that they want to keep in retirement within 60 days of being retired, then if they were only there for two years and they had it the three years before, they separated the first time, then.
Yes, yeah. All of that time and can just combine into that five year requirement and it will be continuous as if there was no break in service. Right. So that’s my answer.
Yes. No, no, no. I mean, people come in, I’ll hear that and say, oh, you know, I was thinking about this, but I’d have to work another five years and actually. No, you don’t.
I get that question all the time from advisers and I’m just screenshot ing the OPM rule about that so they understand exactly how that works and they can really help the employee feel confident that they’re getting the best advice. It’s coming straight from OPM. These are questions that we get all the time where people just don’t quite understand how they work correctly. And we are giving those regulations and rules back straight from the horse’s mouth. So that way they can really be confident in what they’re doing moving forward.
Yeah, I hear.
So it’s this question or other questions like this that I hear all the time of people. They’ll come to the workshop that I do and then they’ll learn, look, I’ll be all excited. Then they’ll go to H.R. and they’ll say, Hey, H.R., I can do this. And they’ll say, no, you can’t. And they say, wait, wait. I learned that you can, no, you can’t, and then they’re stuck in the middle because what do you do?
You fight H.R. with that. And so that this is a great example of comeback. And then, yeah, Cassie, you can go and screenshot and send it to that federal employee for them to give to their H.R. person and say, no, actually you can. Yeah, whether it’s a screenshot of the rules or we’re giving them a letter or, you know, what have you, we are our whole goal Fed options is to make sure that that people understand their options and that they can move forward with that planning process from a solid foundation of knowledge.
And that’s why we help our advisors the way that we do and really make sure that they look like rock stars and and to that employee. And sometimes they can be their hero depending on how much financial help they can give them. And, you know, I see this a lot where advisors are coming back like, oh, my gosh, I was wrong. And Cassie was able to give us that information to really give the employee the best foot forward for the retirement plan.
And it happens more often than I like to admit. However, this I know that there is solid information out there. You can make sure that you’re doing this correctly. And that’s what we want to make sure people can do and encourage them to do that.
Yeah. And I want to make sure that everyone understands that Cassie and I are not A.H. at all.
Najara has a really difficult spot because most people that deal with benefits, retirement benefits are wearing other hats and they are inundated. Plus their last the last time they updated their Bible of H.R. benefits was like in nineteen ninety eight or something stupid crazy like that. I don’t remember exactly when it was, but it was about then and so there it’s a really hard spot. Yeah.
And it’s not always easy to find these answers. You really have to know where to go to get them. And you know, they’re not they’re only able to give you answers on what they know. Right. Right. And so if they’re I’m sure a lot of times they’ll just say, oh, no, that’s not how that works. Right.
But they’re not digging in, you know, quite frankly, because they probably don’t have time. Right. Right.
Exactly right. But let’s get them to a point where they really understand. But what is true and correct so that we in the future, if they have another employee that they need to help, they can give them the right answer. And so, you know, I feel blessed to be able to help each other, really to make sure that they have that that solid information. And, you know, they can they can help the employee in the best way possible.
We have people come to my workshop all the time to learn about the benefits so they can help federal employees. That happens all the time. And I remember I talk to two women who came in who worked for H.R. for whatever. I don’t remember what agency. They specifically said, we’re coming here to learn this so we can go back and teach people, teach other people. And and I’m and you and I, we are happy to do that if the more correct information that can be out there, because as we’ll see in the last question today, there is a lot of watercooler talk.
And even those who are in H.R. go by water cooler talk sometimes, right?
That’s all they have to go off. I don’t want to say all they have to go off, but they you know, when they try to get the extra information, that’s all they have to go off well, especially if they only have the the FEHB.
But the federal employee handbook. Right. Or the Feigley handbook or the FEHB have they don’t have these other sites for Social Security and different things like that to really make sure that they’re getting the most up to date information. Then maybe they’re looking at a book or something where maybe that used to be the case, but it’s not anymore. There’s a lot of different things where you have to look into the valse and sometimes even the the codes are, you know, if I was sorry.
So that way people are getting the most accurate information on what the law says and how that pertains to the federal employee.
Yeah, because H.R. if H.R. says do this and you go do that, but they didn’t get the latest updated information that that’s going to hurt a retirement. OK, yeah. There you go. OK, that’s that’s number one.
Number two, SCD service comp date. Does this determine my years of service?
Hmm, you know, let’s say you I say it depends. Well, it depends on. Let me let me expand this question a little bit. Said, does this deter my years of service?
For what if it’s for if it’s for your annual leave, then. Yeah, but if it’s for your retirement. No. Oddly enough, right, so you’re SCD may or may not match what you’re said comes from a correct.
OK, so let me backtrack a little, OK? OK, go for it. It depends on which side they’re talking about. OK, good. All right. I guess there’s another consideration to write the leave city or the city, right? Because LES can be completely different. Right. The leaves city determines whether the annual and sick leave amounts are and can’t be right. And then we have the retirement city. That’s going to be kind to calculate your pension, what they use to calculate the pension.
And those can be two separate dates depending on their is temporary service or seasonal service or what have you, that maybe deductions were not taken. Whether or not there was refunded service and a deposit or redeposit has not been paid. And also, if there’s military service in which somebody may or may not be making the policy for that, so, OK, it whether or not they cut that other pieces of service there. Yeah, right.
Correct. So there you go. SCD or retirement SCD to begin with.
And that’s that’s what I was getting to, is that I’ve heard stories over and over again of people who have their SCD, but they know it’s wrong. Right. And it’s because maybe they bounced from one agency to another and they’re and they’re in the third agency and one agency. The VA didn’t get the update that they actually worked in. That one or one lady I remember worked in Turkey for seven years and her said didn’t reflect that. And so you have to go to OPM because it’s not it’s not H.R. that’s really going to figure out what your pension is going to be.
It’s OPM. And if OPM has one set of numbers and has another set of numbers and a federal employee is basing all of their information off, that said, then what OPM is going to go off of is what they have. And and if those don’t match up, we’ve got a little bit of a problem here. Yeah.
And this is a prime example of what can cause retirement application to be delayed. Yes. Oh, my goodness.
These these little nuances are why it takes so long for OPM to finalize retirement applications and to make sure that they’re correct. And this is why we strongly encourage people to get their SF-50 is a copy of all of our SF-50 is prior to retirement as soon as possible. Just you know, it doesn’t matter how early or late you are in service of your career, just get them and keep them on a flash drive or something to where you have those copies available for your records and look at them.
Right. Make sure that they’re accurate. If they’re not, fill out a certified summary of service. Let’s find out what H.R. is looking at and let’s go on OPM site and do a determination there and see what they have for you. Look at your LPF and make sure that the LPF, the certified summary of service and the SF-50 is all matched together, because if they don’t, you’ve got a big problem.
Yep, absolutely. Something’s wrong. And we got to figure out what that is and how to fix it. And that could take time.
Yeah, we’ve got to figure that out. Now, there’s a there’s a gentleman who came into one of my workshops who mentioned that he noticed that his said was off of what OPM had and he said it’s been three years and I’m still trying to fix it. Wow, years. So, yes, heck, yes, we need to figure this out A.S.A.P. Don’t let everyone needs to understand this. Everyone needs to figure this out so and needs to do it now.
This isn’t something that should be put off. And this isn’t just military or this isn’t just federal service to this happens with military might as well. In fact, my uncle is dealing with this right now where he might be looking at putting a letter in to Congress because he’s had military service, several different pieces of active duty. And there are a couple of pieces that are missing. And he wants to make a deposit for his military service account towards his federal service.
And he can’t until he has all the right information.
Wow. Wow. And so is this. You might have to step step back and take a look at what kind of service is this and how do we get it fixed. But it’s taken him a couple of years now to and he’s still looking at how, you know, why do I not have a duty to 14 on this and how can I get this fixed and resolved so I can make that military deposit and and get the most pension he can in retirement?
You know, to your point of keeping SF-50 and all paperwork and everything, by the way, that’s a huge thing. Every federal employee should keep copies of absolutely everything that they have. But the lady that I mentioned earlier that went to Turkey, so I didn’t have heard that she went to OPM. OPM didn’t even have that. And they said, oh, yeah, I approve it. So she had to go back and prevent herself from paystubs from that.
It was a mess, an absolute mess. So, yeah.
So not only of SF-50 is, but your paystubs as well. If I did not make that clear, every single piece of documentation that you get from the federal government, make sure you hold on to it, because who knows if you’re going to need it in 20 years that you think about that that you might need in 20 years.
That means you’ve got to keep it all usually in paper form for 20 years.
If you don’t have it in paper form, make sure you’re well organized in your electronic documentation. And by the way, make sure you have a backup. I’m dealing with backups. I lost well, I lost a lot of things. We’ll see. Anyways, I’ll get a backup just through backup. I don’t even have backups. And I lost some stuff, so I’ve got to be careful with that. OK, that’s question number two. We have under four minutes and I don’t think it’s going to take this long.
But here’s a question. OK, here’s all this just kind of bothers me. Someone said if you are a federal employee, we could not collect Social Security during retirement. Is that true? Well, it’s OK, I don’t know who said to this question, but I’m almost curious if this is a serious talking to FERs.
That’s exactly what I’m thinking. That’s exactly what I thought. Yeah, it was crazy information.
If you are a Ferguson police and if even if you’re a CSRS offset employee, OK, right. You have contributed to the Social Security system for more than 40 quarters, you will be able to collect Social Security during during retirement, assuming you are over 62.
Yet Social Security is not a federal employee benefit. It’s an American employee benefit. It doesn’t matter. Federal employee has nothing to do with this at this point. It is if you have paid into the program for four decades, then you’re going to get it done.
Well, assuming that it’s around when we need it, I’m enough to receive tax credits to make that happen. But whether or not you’re a federal employee does not determine if you get Social Security or not.
It’s which federal program that you’re in. And if you’ve paid into the program of Social Security, that’s really what it boils down to. Now, there are other things like if your spouse is a federal employee and they were CSRS, then are. And they’re trying to get in, you’re the federal employee excuse me, let me back that up. If you’re the federal employee and your spouse, was did it contribute to Social Security, then that might be a different issue.
But we covered that in the spousal benefit a couple of a couple of episodes back. And so anyway, way if you are a federal employee and you are XRX offset first first chance for first rate, first Freij, it does not matter. You will be eligible to collect Social Security, assuming it’s still around. OK. Done deal.
I love that. So we have about a minute left. If you want to get as you can tell, this stuff gets really complicated really, really quickly. And it’s amazing. When I do the workshop and I go through the pension, people will make a comment, you know, on on the webinar or just up straight up front. If it’s a classroom, they go, we’re not even through the pension. And this is complicated. So if you want a report, a comprehensive report that goes way beyond what H.R. gives you, then just go to Fednobabble.com.
Woops, there we go, Fednobabble.com, and put in your information and you’re going to get a report back on your and we do this we do this free. No cost, no obligation, no sales pitch or anything like that. We do this for any federal employee. And also, if you want to ask us any questions or have us answer any of your questions, put that in there as well. And we just may send you a Fenobabble T-shirt or face mask also.
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All right. Take care, everyone. See you next time.