On March 22, Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA) and Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) introduced H.R. 5389, the Federal Retirement Fairness Act, in the House. This legislation would amend Title 5 of the United States Code to provide that civilian service as a temporary employee after December 31, 1988, may be creditable service under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). As you know, rural carriers who began their careers as RCAs aren’t able to contribute the requisite number of years to draw full retirement benefits after 30 years of service. These dedicated postal employees then face a choice: leave federal service without full retirement benefits or work longer to obtain their full retirement benefits. Until 1989, permanent federal employees who started as temporary workers had the option to buy back years of retirement contributions to allow for an “on-time” retirement. Unfortunately, that authority expired, leaving folks with no option to obtain full retirement benefits for the amount of years they worked, other than continuing to work past their conventional retirement date. That is simply unfair.
The NRLCA has been pursuing a change to this rule for many years, as it affects the retirements of the majority of our members. The Retirement Fairness Act would allow interested and eligible employees to make additional contributions to their retirement to compensate for the years they worked as temporary employees and did not pay into the federal retirement system. The legislation would require payments to include a deposit of 1.3% percent of the base pay for each year, corresponding interest, and the government’s contribution as calculated by the Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). According to OPM, as the bill is currently drafted, our RCAs would NOT be able to take advantage of the buyback. We firmly believe that RCAs are, and should be, included in this important legislation. It is only fair that postal employees have the same opportunity as any other federal employee to retire on time with full retirement benefits. We are working closely with OPM and our allies in Congress to make sure RCAs are included in this legislation. State President Kelly Magalis and Vice President Deborah Godfrey spoke to our Members in Congress about this important issue during the Legislative Seminar in May.
Now it’s your turn—please call, email, or send a letter to your Representative and let them know that the Federal Retirement Fairness Act should apply to postal employees as well as federal employees and let them hear your stories. You can find your Congressional representative by CLICKING HERE or by going to www.house.gov and typing in your ZIP code in the search box.
This is the official website of the VARLCA. Virginia Rural Letter Carriers' Association P.O. Box 417 Nellysford, VA 22958-0417 757-903-6952