Continue FEHB in retirement at age 62, 5 years total service?

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Hi all, My wife has had three stints of service with the Federal government over the last 30 years. She is now finishing her 5th year of service and will turn 62 next February. She previously had FERS health benefits from age 57-59 (her second stint). Is she eligible for retiree health benefits at age 62 and 5 years of total service? It’s unclear if she meets the eligibility criteria.

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Asked on March 4, 2019 8:08 pm
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In order to eligible to continue FEHB into retirement, one must meet the five-year rule or have FEHB coverage as of the first opportunity. If you wife has a total of five years of creditable federal service and is age 62, she can retire but in order to be eligible to continue FEHB, she must have had FEHB coverage during those entire five years. I understand her service was not continuous, and that is not necessary, just take away breaks in service and during all her work time, was she covered under FEHB. If not, then she will not be eligible to continue FEHB into retirement.

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Answered on March 5, 2019 7:09 pm

Thanks for your answer, Elaine. Two of the five years my wife was a Peace Corps Volunteer. I’ve confirmed previously that Peace Corps service counts toward the five years. Back in 1980 all medical coverage for Peace Corps was handled by Peace Corps itself so I’m not sure I would call it FEBH. But it was most definitely government healthcare. Thoughts??

( at March 5, 2019 7:13 pm)
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Correct, Peace Corps service does count towards the five year creditable service rule for retirement as long as a service credit deposit has been paid. And since she could not have FEHB under Peace Corps, then the last three years would be what is required for FEHB as that is the “as of first opportunity” statement.

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Answered on March 5, 2019 7:17 pm
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Thanks, Elaine. I was aware that a service credit has to be paid. I assume that’s because no monies were being credited towards retirement as a Peace Corps Volunteer. We do have a letter from Peace Corps acknowledging my wife’s service from 1980-1982. So, would my next step be to pay the service credit now? My wife would like to retire around April 2019? Also, do you know how I would go about paying the service credit? Thanks so much for all your help.

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Answered on March 5, 2019 8:12 pm
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Obviously she cannot retire without that service credit so she needs to complete SF-3108, Application to Make Service Credit Payment, and attach it to her retirement papers along with the Peace Corps documentation and OPM will sent her a statement of the amount owed. She will have 30 days to make the deposit and of course this will delay her retirement finalization as this all needs to be completed before they can process the retirement application.

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Answered on March 5, 2019 8:29 pm

Thanks, Elaine. I think we have it. When my wife attains her fifth year, she applies for retirement and completes SF-3108. Then she pays the service credit within 30 days. There’s no need to pay the service credit now. She also needs to show Peace Corps service documentation. Since you didn’t mention it, I’m assuming here the retirement folks will be able to see she was under FEBH during her two stints of government work with the VA (the previous stint ended a year ago) and she’s working there now. Thanks so very much.

( at March 5, 2019 11:08 pm)
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Normally you should make service deposits prior to retirement however, since you stated your wife wanted to retire next month, there is not enough time to send in the form to OPM and make the Peace Corps service deposit prior to her retirement. In order to avoid the forms crossing in the mail, attach the Application to Make Service Credit Payment, along with the Peace Corps documentation to the retirement application. After OPM receives everything, they will send her a statement showing this is what she owes plus applicable interest and after payment for the deposit has been received, they can process her retirement. As to the FEHB, it should be recorded in her Official Personnel Folder (paper or electric) all her coverages under FEHB. She should probably ask for verification from her HRO to confirm she actually can retire in April 2019 and doesn’t need to work a little longer to be able to retain FEHB.

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Answered on March 5, 2019 11:31 pm

Thanks. She’ll actually retire in March of next year. So, we’ll go ahead an pay the service credit well before March. Thanks very much.

( at March 5, 2019 11:46 pm)
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OK, since it is 2020 and not 2019 as previously stated, go ahead and send the paperwork service credit paperwork in now, through her HRO so there is no question of her ability to collect a pension. Will speed up her retirement when she files her paperwork in a year.

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Answered on March 5, 2019 11:50 pm