Q: I plan to retire as soon as possible after my Dec. 22, 2011, birthday at age 55 with 34 years service. I understand there are special issues this year for those of us retiring at the end of the year and the way the holiday falls this year. I generally carry over 240 hours each year. I currently have more than 3.5 months SL and will be accruing four hours each pay period this year. How will my annuity be affected by the SL? I’m thinking I’d be better off using it. Can you give me a ballpark figure as to how much it could add to my annuity if I don’t use it? Should I retire on the last workday before the new year or wait until the new year?
I am widowed and have an adult dependent child. What happens to my retirement funds when I die? Does everything go back to the government or is there some provision I can make for him? He draws 75 percent of what his father would have drawn from Social Security. I pay for the maximum amount of life insurance I can get through VA and have high-option GEHA insurance. Will any of that benefit/cost change when I retire?
A: If you retire at the end of business on Dec. 21, you will be credited with any annual and sick leave you earned during that pay period and will receive a lump-sum payment for any unused annual leave, including any leave that exceeds the annual carry-over limit of 240 hours. You will also be on the annuity roll on Jan. 1, which means that you’ll receive an annuity payment that covers the entire month.
You have no right to burn off any unused sick leave. So dismiss that idea from your mind. Applying that unused sick leave to your annuity will increase it a little over one-half percent.
If you were to die and have an unmarried dependent child who was disabled before age 18, he or she would be eligible for a children’s benefit. This year that amount is $469 per month.
When you retire, you will have to make a decision about the amount of insurance you want to carry into retirement. The premiums will be based on that decision. You’ll find those rates at www.opm.gov/insure/life/rates/an_rates.asp.