20 years or 21?


Q. I am a Postal Service employee whose retirement comp date is Feb. 6, 1991. I also have four years of military service credit. I would like to retire Dec. 30. But I am confused by how my total years of service are calculated. I should have 711 hours of sick leave accrued, so at 50 percent of that, my calculations are that I will have more than enough hours to get my total years of service to 21 instead of 20. However, I read somewhere that any months that you work fewer than 30 days are thrown out. So does that mean I don’t get credit for my first month of work because I started on Feb. 6? Also, is the time you work prorated for partial years (20½ versus 21)? Basically, do I have to work a week or so longer than I planned to make sure I get the benefit for 21 years?

A. Your personnel office can give you the exact date on which you will have 21 years of service or you can go to www.opm.gov/retire/pubs/handbook/C050.pdf and read Sections 50A2-1 and 3, plus the job aids at the end of the chapter, and figure it out for yourself. As you’ll quickly learn, your annuity will be based on all your years and full months of service. Any days that add up to less than a full month are discarded.


About Author

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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