A Treasure Trove of Goodies

A bill currently working its way through Congress would allow FERS employees to count sick leave in computing their annuity payments. The same bill would also make administrative changes to the Thrift Savings Plan.

HR 1256 is a virtual treasure trove of goodies for federal employees, especially FERS folks. In an earlier article, I addressed the provision of the bill that would allow FERS employees to count sick leave in the computation of their annuities.

The bill also would let FERS employees who have left federal service and withdrawn their contributions pay them back upon their return and receive credit for that time in the computation of their retirement.

Currently FERS employees who withdraw contributions cannot pay them back and lose credit for the time the contributions represent in the computation of their retirement. This truly is a big deal for those FERS employees who have left early in their career and, thinking they would never return, took their money out.

In delivering pre-retirement seminars, I have met many FERS employees who have withdrawn their contributions. Usually it is just a few years of service, but I have met people who have taken out as much as eleven years of FERS contributions.

Another provision in the bill would allow agencies to automatically enroll new employees in the TSP. This would force employees to “opt out”, rather than the current situation where employees must opt in.

Some time ago I asked readers how they felt about automatic enrollment and what should be the default fund. A large majority of the respondents favored automatic enrollment. The funds most often mentioned as the default choice were the G fund or an age-appropriate L fund.

Agencies can request to have John Grobe, or another of Federal Career Experts' qualified instructors, deliver a retirement or transition seminar to their employees. FCE instructors are not financial advisers and will not sell or recommend financial products to class participants. Agency Benefits Officers can contact John Grobe at johnfgrobe@comcast.net to discuss schedules and costs.

About the Author

John Grobe is President of Federal Career Experts, a firm that provides pre-retirement training and seminars to a wide variety of federal agencies. FCE’s instructors are all retired federal retirement specialists who educate class participants on the ins and outs of federal retirement and benefits; there is never an attempt to influence participants to invest a certain way, or to purchase any financial products. John and FCE specialize in retirement for special category employees, such as law enforcement officers.