Retirement annuity calculation


Q: I reside in Hawaii and I’m a Civil Service Retirement System employee with the U.S. Postal Service. I’m eligible for full retirement. The recent Defense Authorization Act has an amendment concerning Territorial Cost of Living Allowance/Locality pay for civil servants in non-foreign areas outside the continental U.S. I have spent many hours researching this, but I cannot find an answer to the question of USPS/locality pay/TCola. How will this affect USPS employees in Hawaii? I understand some of it, but the key question is — since we will remain under the Tcola program, will it be included in calculations for our retirement annuity?
A: Under Public Law 111-84, non-foreign area COLAs will be replaced by the locality pay formula used in the contiguous 48 states. Beginning in calendar year 2010, those employees now covered by non-foreign area COLAs would receive one-third of the locality rate paid in the RUS (rest of the U.S.). In 2011, two-thirds would be paid. And from 2013 on, the full comparability adjustment would be made. To protect take-home pay, these employees will continue to receive non-foreign area COLAs, but they will shrink each year until the employees’ post-tax pay is equal to or higher than what their take-home pay would have been if the transition hadn’t taken place.


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Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to

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