By: Bob Braunstein, Federal Benefits Specialist
Published: March 2023
Is your Retirement Service Computation Date the same date as your Leave Service Computation Date?
While this is likely, there are several reasons why they could be different. The rules and procedures for setting, constructing, or changing Service Computation Dates, also known as SCDs can be confusing even to the most seasoned HR professional. SCDs are essentially the starting dates for periods of service that, once fulfilled, qualify employees for specific Federal benefits. The more common SCDs are for retirement eligibility, leave accrual, and Thrift Savings, but there are many others. Some are obvious, such as the Leave SCD that appears on Leave and Earning Statements and SF 50s (Notifications of Personnel Action). Others are more elusive as they are not called SCDs but still measure qualification periods for benefits, such as waiting periods for within-grade increases, or the requisite 5-year periods for maintaining health and life insurance coverage when retiring from Federal service.
By: Vanessa Craddock, Federal Benefit Specialist
Published: February, 2023
A good way to start the New Year is to prepare yourself for several changes to old rules. Here are three reminders that may pay off if you are Medicare or Social Security eligible.
Social Security Restricted Applications for Spousal Benefits
The Social Security (SS) restricted application has been a popular strategy for married couples. This strategy lets an individual at Full Retirement Age (FRA) file for the SS benefits they are due as a spouse while delaying their own earned SS benefit for an increase of up to 8% a year from FRA to 70. Sadly it’s on its way out.
If you reached age 66 (FRA) in 2019, and filed a restricted application to collect your spousal benefit, by age 70, your earned benefit will have increased 32%! That increase is for the rest of your life. The law that provided this rule, however, was changed in 2015 to allow filing the restricted application for spousal benefits only to those born before January 2, 1954.
By: Kaitlin Schaeffer Yardley, CFP®
Published: January, 2023
The start of a new year is the perfect time to set your intentions and goals for the next twelve months – personally, professionally and financially!
In order to make sure your finances on the right track for 2023, sit down and check off the following from your to-do list.
By: Tom O’Rourke, Counsel
Published: December 2022
The IRS has announced a number of changes to the tax laws that will take effect as of January 1, 2023. Some of these changes resulted from the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (the Act) and other changes are inflation adjustments that are part of the tax code and occur annually.
The Act included a number of provisions to encourage the use of clean energy and in energy saving devices. The residential energy credit provides credits of up to $5,000 for investment in energy efficient property such a solar electric, solar hot water, fuel cell and wind energy devises installed in a home. The Act also extends and increases certain credits for the purchase of a clean vehicle (primarily electric vehicles). The amount of the credit can be as much as $4,000, but eligibility for the credit is phased out for married couples with adjusted gross income of more than $150,000 and single individuals with adjusted gross income of more than $75,000.
By: Bob Braunstein, Federal Benefits Specialist
Published: November, 2022
Are you military retired? Are you planning to retire from civilian service at the end of this year? Then this article is for you. During the next Open Season consider enrolling in an FEHB plan to gain your Ace in the Hole. Follow the instructions in this article and you will have additional health insurance in reserve for the rest of your life. You will only need to pay for it when needed.
Military retirees who retire from the Federal civilian service have a little-known health insurance option that may be too good to pass up. For a very low cost, they have the ability to expand their health insurance networks beyond Tricare to include an FEHB program. And when the FEHB coverage is no longer needed, they can suspend paying for it. To have this option, one would need to be under active FEHB coverage upon retiring from civilian service. FEHB coverage in retirement for non-military retirees typically requires having the coverage for at least 5 continuous years immediately prior to separating/retiring. But, if one has Tricare, this coverage is included in the 5 years provided they are also covered by an active FEHB plan when they retire.
By: Karen Schaeffer, CFP®
Published: October, 2022
Late in Your Career
“Wish I started sooner” is the classic lament for people finding themselves on the far side of midcareer and still looking for the on-ramp to financial confidence. Rather than stress about what could have been, take comfort in knowing with a little focus, there is a path to a comfortable retirement even for the late bloomers. Sorry, no magic wand here, but a combination of making more, spending less, and modifying the goals can get most to a pretty good place.
By: Herb Casey, Federal Retirement Specialist
Published: September 2022
In the same way that you developed your career, to have a purposeful and rewarding retirement, you must think about what steps you can take now to prepare for that next chapter. You may have something you put on the back burner during your career that you want to focus on. Transitioning to retirement can be difficult because your whole routine will change in that you will not be going into the office, and you will no longer be who you were.
What path will you take in retirement? To begin the process of finding your next path, determine who you are. You must look inward during this process. You will need to determine your purpose, values, and strengths.
By: George Marchant, Technical Recruiter
Published: August 2022
So, you are looking to change careers and you are wondering how to best position yourself to make this possible. Finding the perfect job is not an easy task but modern technology can help you overcome this challenge. Using technology can not only help streamline your ability to connect yourself with jobs you are interested in. It can also help connect prospective companies and recruiters to you with the opportunities they have available. Here are a few simple actions that can enable technology to work in your favor:
By: Mercedes Johnson, Federal Benefits Specialist
Published: July, 2022
I know you are excited! You are retiring in a few months and can’t wait to begin the second phase of your life called Retirement. It is very important that you review your retirement plan and benefits in between your upcoming retirement festivities. How, you ask? Well, below you will find an easy retirement checklist to follow within 6 months of retirement so that you are well prepared and ready for retirement:
By: Vanessa Craddock, Federal Benefits Specialist
Published: June, 2022
Worried about claiming your Social Security (SS) benefits at the wrong time? There are no hard and fast rules about the proper age to draw SS. It often comes down to your individual circumstances at the time you are eligible. However, there are a few tips that may increase the monthly amount you will receive. Let’s look at a few.