Monthly Archives: January, 2014

Q & A Session: Modifying Beneficiary of Survivor Benefit

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Q: I was divorced in 1995 after my retirement from the U.S. Customs Service and ordered to leave my ex-spouse as beneficiary of my survivor benefits but that the court would retain jurisdiction to revisit after my remarriage. My ex has remarried, but I do not know when. I have remarried and I am seeking a way in which I may make my current spouse beneficiary to the survivor benefits. Is the original order valid with OPM? If so, how many I seek modification allowing me to choose my beneficiary? A: If the original order has been approved by OPM…

Forced to move vs. forced out

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If you follow decisions from the Merit Systems Protection Board, you may have seen that, last year, the board issued three decisions in the case of Mary A. Miller v. Department of the Interior. This case involved the removal of a national park superintendent in Alaska who did not work under a mobility agreement, and who declined a geographic reassignment and was subsequently terminated from her employment for her refusal. In each of the three board decisions, it reversed the agency action finding that the agency failed to carry its burden of proof that the reassignment was for a bona…

Q & A Session: Crime Conviction Effect on Retirement Pension

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Q: If someone has retired from federal service and they are convicted of a crime, will they lose their pension? Do they have to inform the Office of Personnel Management of the fact that they were convicted of a crime. A: If you are no longer federally employed or maintaining a security clearance, you are generally not obligated to inform OPM of a post-retirement conviction. Being convicted of a crime almost never jeopardizes a federal pension – the rare exception to this rule for federal civil servants is the list of crimes codified at 5 U.S.C § 8312. Those charges almost…

Resigning and Withdrawing CSRS retirement funds?

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Q: Can I resign (not retire) and withdraw all my CSRS retirement funds? A: It depends. Prior to October 1, 1994, federal employees entering retirement could receive a payment equal to the value of the contributions they made to the retirement program over their careers as a single, tax-free lump sum payment, with annuity payments then reduced. But now, this “lump-sun option” exists only for federal employees who have conditions resulting in a life expectancy of less than two years and who are not taking disability retirement. This response is written by James P. Garay Heelan, associate attorney of Shaw Bransford…