Calculating high-3 salary for retirement


Q: Is the high-3 calculation based on gross salary for a full year worked?

A: The high-3 is based on your highest three consecutive years of average pay. It’s the amount payable for your grade and step, including locality pay or special rates, but does not include most other forms of compensation, including overtime, unless proven by law, for example, administratively uncontrollable overtime pay for law enforcement officers.


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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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