Q. I plan to retire the end of 2011 under CSRS, age 63, after over 41 years of service. I am choosing to retire on one of the “best dates to retire in 2011,” Dec. 31. When completing my Retirement Application SF-2801, “Date of Final Separation” I’m not sure whether to use 12/30 or 12/31 as the date of final separation, since the first day of retirement is the day following the “date of final separation.” To get annual leave accrual for that last pay period, I thought it would need to be 12/31. However, to get full COLA credit, I thought it would need to be 12/30. Please help me understand the difference between retirement date and date of final separation and the possible ramifications of each.
A. You can retire at close-of-business on Friday, Dec. 30 or on Saturday, Dec. 31. Regardless of which day you choose, the results will be the same. You’ll receive both your biweekly pay check and the leave you earned during that pay period. To receive a full cost-of-living adjustment, you would have to retire no later than Dec. 3, 2011. If you retired at the end of December 2011, you’d be entitled to 11/12ths of any COLA payable beginning in January 2013. Whether any COLA would be payable then remains to be see. There haven’t been any for the past two years.