35 years of service


Q: Is there anything “magic” about hitting 35 years of service relative to how your annuity is computed under CSRS? I used to hear that, once you hit the 35-year mark, you reached a particular percentage milestone in the computation of your annuity, something comparable to the fact that, at 40 years, you cap out your annuity at 80 percent of pay. Is that an urban legend or is there something to it? I plan to retire next year with 34+ years of service and I am trying to decide if there is value in delaying retirement by a couple of months until my years in service and accumulated sick leave add up to 35 years.

A: If it’s an urban legend, I’ve never heard of it. If you retired with 35 years of service, your annuity would be 66.25 percent of your high-3. If you retired with 34 years, it would be 64.25 percent. I don’t see anything special about either number. FYI: At 41 years and 11 months of service, your earned annuity would hit the maximum of 80 percent. However, any unused sick leave would be added on and not be subject to the limit.


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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 fedexperts@federaltimes.com.

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