December 9 2009 FEA Europe Update

1. Announcement of Early Notification Award
2. TSP elective deferrals
3. Position Descriptions
4. Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice
6. JCC with Dr. Bresell
7. Happy and Safe Holiday Season!

1. Announcement of Early Notification Award: (to submit either resignation or retirement)
DoDEA is offering an incentive this year to give the Agency early notice (by January 8, 2010) for those wishing to retire or leave govt. service. Please see attached documents. If you have any questions please contact your local Administrator or HR for your district!

2. TSP chart of elective deferrals to include Catch-up. The 2010 contribution limits for both TSP and the Catch-up programs are attached. $16, 500 for TSP and $5,500 for Catch-up are the limits for 2010. Please find attached further information.

3. Position Descriptions: Checking out things on the DoDEA web site I found the following.
Position Descriptions

4. Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice:
A description follows from the web site explaining what they do. This is not an endorsement, but simply another avenue to check current trends as they see them.
Think Twice is one of the nation's first efforts to serve as a watchdog to review think tank research on public education issues and policies, ensuring that published work meets the quality and standards of university scholarship.

5. Let's clear up a bit of confusion about VERA! The purpose of VERA from an Agency position is to avoid a RIF. That being said, for those that apply, some information may be needed. Under VERA, if you are age 50, and at least 20 years of DoDDS/Federal experience, or any age with 25 years of experience in DoDDS/Federal you qualify. That means under FERS you start on an immediate annuity to include the Social Security Supplement. The SSS is paid as long as any outside income (earned from a job) does not go over $14,106 (for 2009), which is called a means test. SSS is paid until the month before your 62nd birthday, when one is eligible to apply for early Social Security. If a person already qualifies for any other type of retirement, they are not eligible for VERA. Please note under FERS VERA there is no reduction for being under the age of 55 as there is for CSRS

CSRS is a bit different. CSRS retirement system does not have any connection to Social Security nor to the Supplement. VERA for CSRS has a penalty if the applicant is not age 55. Their annuity is reduced by 2% for each year they are under age 55 or one-sixth (1/6) of 1% for each full month under 55. Naturally, the same age and years of experience are needed to qualify for CSRS VERA as FERS.

VERA is commonly called Early Out. A great benefit (the same are immediate retirement) to this, we get to keep our Health Insurance as if we are working. The govt. pays their part and we continue to pay our part (the premium) the whole time we are in retirement! A huge benefit considering health care costs now! We can continue our life insurance as well but understand there are some age benchmarks where the cost goes up considerably.

Something FERS employees should understand about VERA in relation to Social Security: Social Security is based on your high 35 years of work and credited quarters. Naturally, if you are retired and have no further earned income that pays SS tax then you will have some zero years figured in to the equation. web site can help a lot with these sorts of calculations.

Last point, in the past CSRS has been able to extend their retirement date (after one qualifies first) using their sick leave. The President signed a bill recently for FERS to have the same benefit. The implementation for FERS will not be immediate. We will only be allowed to use 50 percent of our sick leave until full implementation in January 1, 2014. Credit will be given in whole months only, no fractional parts. For further information please contact your HR folks.

6. Chuck and I meet today (Wednesday December 9, 2010) for our monthly JCC with Dr. Bresell. We will get the minutes from that meeting out as soon as we can.

7. This will be may last UPdate for this calendar year. ! I hope everybody has a restful and happy holiday season! May your travels be fun and memorable! Travel safe!

Respectfully submitted,


John Luchtman
FEA Europe Area Director
Federal Education Association
Work 354-6844 Civ 09721-4758012
Home Fax/Answering machine 09725-5372