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Separation program offers early retirement, incentive to target civilians

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah -- Ogden Air Logistics Center employees were officially notified June28, via a Hilltop Times article ,that a Voluntary Early Retirement Authority and Voluntary Separation Incentive Program will be offered beginning July 18.

"The goal of this VERA/VSIP is to reduce the number of employees who fall into certain budget areas for this fiscal year," said Andy Flowers, director of the Ogden ALC Personnel Directorate. "The VERA/VSIP is being offered because of a funding shortfall in the center's operations and management and depot maintenance activity group budget funds."

According to Linsey Hirschi, Hill's VERA/VSIP program manager, any eligible Hill Air Force Base employee may apply for this program, but eligible Depot Maintainence Activity Group and the Operations and Maintenance employees will receive first consideration for VERA/VSIP. She also added that employees in other funding sources will be looked at on a case-by-case basis.

The window of opportunity for employees to apply for VERA/VSIP is July 18 through Aug. 8. After the August application deadline closes, the civilian personnel team will rank eligible candidates that have applied for the VERA/VSIP.

Non-National Security Personnel System applicants will be grouped by pay plan, occupational series, grade and competitive level and ranked by retirement category and leave service computation date. NSPS applicants will be grouped by pay plan, occupational series and pay band and then ranked by retirement category and leave service computation date. Competitive levels are not used for NSPS applicants.

Ogden ALC management officials will then learn how many employees applied in each category and will decide what positions can be left vacant.

"Employees tentatively identified to be offered the VERA/VSIP will be notified by e-mail by the middle of September," said Christine Johnson, chief of personnel directorate's benefits and entitlements branch.

Ms. Johnson said the next step will then be for selected employees to attend a group retirement counseling session with civilian personnel.

"After the counseling, the employees must accept or reject the VERA/VSIP offer within seven calendar days," she said. "Those employees who accept VERA/VSIP will retire no later than Oct. 1, 2007." 

Editor's Note: This is the second in a series of articles outlining the Hill Voluntary Early Retirement Authority program.

Frequently Asked Questions regarding VERA/VSIP

Some of the frequently asked questions raised by Hill employees this week concerning the Voluntary Early Retirement Authority and Voluntary Separation Incentive Program have been answered by Hill AFB civilian personnel officials. The application time for VERA/VSIP is July 18 through Aug. 8.

Q. What criteria will be used by personnel officials to identify employees who will be offered VERA/VSIP? 

A. Any employee eligible for VERA/VSIP may apply for consideration. The personnel office will sort applicants using data extracted from the Defense Civilian Personnel Data System. First consideration will be given to eligible employees in O and M or DMAG funded activities, but an employee outside of O and M or DMAG may also be offered VERA/VSIP if their vacant position can be used to place an O and or DMAG employee.

Q. Who is eligible for this VERA/VSIP? 

A. Because VERA is being used in conjunction with VSIP; all employees are eligible to participate, whether through regular retirement, early retirement or resignation.

Q. I am not assigned to an O and M or DMAG position; am I eligible for this program? 

A. Eligible employees outside of O and M and DMAG funded positions may also apply and be offered VERA/VSIP. Approval for these employees to separate would be contingent on the placement of a qualified O and M or DMAG employee into their vacant position. For information on eligibility, check the VERA/VSIP Program Information on the VERA/VSIP Web site: https://hillnet.hill.af.mil/hafb/alc/dp/civpers/veravsip/.

Q. Are there any penalties for retiring early? 

A. Generally speaking, there may be reductions in retirement benefits when an employee retires early. It is important to note that employees in the Federal Employee Retirement System minimum retirement age plus 10 years group understands that this is considered an optional (immediate) retirement and are not eligible for the early out retirement for calculation purposes. Therefore, there may be reductions to their annuity. Because each employee's situation is different, it's best to review Civil Service Retirement System and FERS retirement information on the Air Force Personnel Center Web site https://wwa.afpc.randolph.af.mil/afpcsecure/default.asp to determine individual impact.

Q. How do I apply for VERA/VISP? 

A. Interested employees must apply for VERA/VSIP through Hill's VERA/VSIP Interactive Program Web site, https://hillnet.hill.af.mil/hafb/alc/dp/civpers/veravsip/. The window of opportunity to apply will be July 18 to Aug. 8. Starting on Aug. 9, the Personnel Office will consolidate all positions identified for VERA/VSIP. Any employees who are looking at this option should first direct their questions to their organization resource advisor or personnel liaison.

Q. What is a competitive level? 

A. Competitive levels are groups of similar positions in the same grade and classification series and similar enough in duties, qualification requirements, pay schedules and working conditions that the incumbent of one position can successfully perform the critical elements of any other position in that same competitive level without any loss of productivity beyond that normally expected in the orientation of a new, but fully qualified, employee.

Q. How do I obtain copies of my Standard Form-50s for retirement calculation purposes? 

A. The electronic Official Personnel Folder has been unavailable since May 1, 2007. To request copies of your SF-50s, send an e-mail request to the following e-mail address: ooalc.dpc.opf@hill.af.mil. Due to the volume of requests, please allow three to five days for completion.