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 Post Posted: Wed Jan 25, 2017 2:04 pm 
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Joined: Jul 20, 2012
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I'm in my early 30s. Might resign from federal service (FERS plan) and go full active duty as an officer. I will create a separate post mentioning some possible career paths or billets, and ask for your feedback (here: viewtopic.php?f=20&t=13322)!

My wife is a full-time student at a very prominent (and most expensive graduate program) at a university in California. I'm east coast, she's west coast. We're a long-distance couple. I have some touch choices ahead to make as we deal with her student debt.

Anyway this topic pertains to Federal benefits. OPM says if I quit federal service, all my annual leave, credit hours, and such will be lump summed (and of course taxed) in a final paycheck. However, it seems my sick hours will remain with the govt. They won't pay my sick hours (~400 hours!). The only silver lining here is, I can reclaim my sick hours if I ever rejoin federal service in the future.
1. Does anyone here know if it possible to get lump summed for sick leave upon separation from federal service?
2. Is it possible to transfer or credit my sick leave into the uniformed services when I join?
3. Or will I be starting from zero?

I believe that I have the option of going on Leave Without Pay (LWOP) and saving my job while I go on active duty so that I don't really have to quit federal service. Or maybe that only applies for employees who get called up to active duty but will be back in a shorter time frame than 4 years. I don't know.

Medical:
My wife and I will get 31 days of extended health insurance coverage after I resign. Then we can apply for up to 18-months of TCC insurance coverage but of course there is a cost attached. It seems I would continue paying my existing biweekly premium ($121.91) for High-deductible health insurance via GEHA but will have the added burden of covering the government's portion of the premium ($365.74) + 2% admin fee of some sort. That is really going to hurt!
1. Can anyone recommend a more cost-effective solution for health insurance rather than spending thru the nose to keep coverage up? [/list]
2. Should I look into the Affordable Healthcare plans or is all that going to change under the new presidential administration?
3. Is it true that all my FEGLI premiums will be lost once I resign, or will that be paid back?

TSP:
I know that I can keep my retirement savings in the TSP until retirement age. I won't be able to contribute unless I re-enter federal service. If and when I go active duty I will have to contribute into a new TSP under the Uniformed Services. So it will be a separate balance, which sucks. I could also transfer the funds to another retirement account, since I'm not anywhere close to retirement eligibility. Am I correct in these assumptions?

FERS pension:
Is it true that current FERS retirees get an average monthly annuity of $720? Does that sound about right? I'm guessing that's with at least 20 years federal service. I've only done over 6 years to accumulate just under $5K in FERS contributions. Instead of cashing the $5K and paying income tax, would a better option be to keep both TSP and FERS balance intact until retirement age, while accruing active duty time, rejoining federal service later (8 to 15 years from now) and then claiming credit for those years? Because I have at least 5 years of federal service, I will be eligible to receive FERS pension at retirement age. Thoughts?

I am curious if any of you can share your life experiences with govt and military, or provide insight into my questions. Thanks for reading.


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AGG (F Fund)
iShares Lehman Aggregate Bond (AGG)

S&P 500 (C Fund)
S&P 500 INDEX,RTH (^GSPC)

DWCPF (S Fund)
Dow Jones U.S. Completion Total Stock Market Index (^DWCPF)

EFA (I Fund)
iShares MSCI EAFE Index (EFA)