After eight months of watching and listening to my husband writing emails and calling one official after another, I felt it was important to write something about this experience in the hope it will help others better prepare for their retirement if they are still working.
My husband worked for the government for 32 years and is a senior citizen. He did his job well and earned a good living serving the federal government as a civilian employee. When he retired he was wise enough to build up a good amount of savings just in case we needed it. He never dreamed there would be a problem and looked forward to his retirement years with his “pension” from the government.
Eight months later…yes, eight months… he is still receiving only one fourth of his promised retirement benefit pay. Eight months! We cannot pay all our bills on one fourth of his retirement pay.
He has called the agencies and representatives who were supposed to help him process his benefit claim and it has been a painful ordeal trying to pay our monthly bills on the “promise” that all back-pay due will be paid soon and his full retirement pay will begin in earnest. He has been getting that promise for eight months now. The Office of Personnel Management has added insult to injury by not even returning his calls or emails. These are the very people who could help him, but are not.
Eight months and our savings is keeping us afloat, so far.
He is now trying to contact Senator Kyle’s office and even Senator John McCain by phone and emails and is in the process of trying to get some help from them. He has been given more phone numbers, fax numbers and names that might help him get his retirement benefit. The fight goes on for the money he is owed and the amount owed keeps climbing with every month that goes by.
And if he ever does get his money, he will be hit hard by the lump sum payment being withheld. Once paid… when paid… this amount will hurtle him into a higher tax bracket and a good chunk of his benefit pay will go right back to Uncle Sam. Since no one will tell us what is going on or what is the delay or problem, we can only brace ourselves for this eventual outcome when he finally gets his back pay due, IF he lives that long.
It’s a sad state of affairs when our government fails to do its part after one of its employees retires after 32 years of service. We know that the country is still trying to recover from a poor economic state. One wouldn’t be too surprised if their employer defaulted on their benefits, but the U.S. government? We both never dreamed it would fail us like this.
Let this article be a warning to you who are planning to retire!
SAVE. SAVE. SAVE. AND SAVE!
~ Make and plan on using a tight budget and cut down on your spending until you are getting all the money you deserve. Live frugally first and try not to touch your savings until you absolutely have to.
~ Don’t buy any large costly items like cars or homes unless you can afford them without your retirement pay.
~ Don’t take out any loans you expect to pay back with your retirement pay if you aren’t getting it all automatically like you should. You can ruin your credit if the money hasn’t come and your loan payment is due.
~ Pay off what large bills you do have before you stop working.
~ Don’t even think about taking an expensive vacation unless you can afford it and still live well afterwards without your retirement pay.
~ Plan and prepare to live comfortably without your retirement pay by getting a part-time job, use investments, savings or any other form of possible income to keep you going until ALL your governmental retirement pay begins, not just a partial allowance, like what we are getting.
Hopefully this won’t happen to you. Hopefully this is a terrible fluke mistake that we are suffering from. Hopefully, someone will finally do what they are supposed to by the end of this month and we will see the money owed to us at last. After all, he earned this benefit.
Get prepared! Take no chances and do whatever you must to retire without having to worry about money because as we have learned these last 8 months, even governmental employees can’t count on our government.