High-3 and a break in service


Q. For a high-3 calculation, do the three consecutive years have to be continuous? I’m a Civil Service Retirement System Offset employee who was reinstated in March 2011 after an 18-year break in service but would be eligible to retire at age 60 in about 14 months. Would my high-3 be the two years since my return to federal service and then my last from 18 years ago?

A. The three years have to be consecutive, but they don’t have to be continuous. Therefore, assuming that the current salary is higher than the one you had when you left government, the average salary during that last year would be joined to the average salary of the two years after you returned to give you a high-3. Since your high-3 will likely change with each additional pay period you work, it’s a moving target.


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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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