Best time to retire


Q: I have 25 years in at the post office as of Aug. 18 as a FERS employee. I will be 65 on Dec. 18. I have 544 hours of annual leave and 395 hours of sick leave balance. When would be the best date to retire? I do not want to lose half of the sick leave I have earned, or my excess over 440 annual leave, so what is the best way to do this without too much time between my last paycheck and my first retirement check?

A: The earliest you could get credit for all your unused sick leave would be Jan. 1, 2014. Until then, you would only be able to get half credit. Unless you are an Executive Administrative Schedule employee, there isn’t any date you could pick that would allow you to get a terminal leave payment for unused annual leave in excess of 440 hours. EAS employees can get one for up to 560 hours. To maximize your sick leave and annual leave balance and reduce the gap between retirement and being on the annuity roll, you’d need to retire at the end of a pay period, the closer that is to the end of a month the better.


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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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