Retirement waiting period


Q. I am a federal employee under CSRS and can retire at any time. If it is now taking an average of 133 days to process retirement claims, do you have to leave while your claim is in progress? Also, will I receive checks or one check for the more than four-month waiting time? How does one survive for four months without any income? It used to be that if you retired by the 3rd of the month, you’d receive your first check the following month.

A. Your retirement application can’t be sent to the Office of Personnel Management until you have retired and are off your agency’s rolls. While no one disagrees that the processing times have been unacceptable, things are improving, with interim annuity payments going out much more quickly. However, if you have a choice on when to retire, you might want to consider waiting until the end-of-year glut of retirement applications has made it through the system.


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  1. The OPM has had this issue for over three years. You people need to Cowboy up, and stop your partyman Director from running for president and roll up his sleeves and get to work~

  2. I retired at the end of December in 2011. I received my annual leave lump sum payment together with my last paycheck. I received interim retirement checks on the 1st of every month beginning on Feb 1. My retirement claim became finalized by April 7 and I received my back payment sum on the same date. Do not believe the horror stories, none of them happened to me or any of the people whom I retired with in either the same year or for 2 years prior. If you wait till after the end of the year you will lose the ability to get a lump sum payment of your annual leave for the final year of employment. Best of luck to you in your retirement planning.

  3. John Collins on

    I would contact my Congressional members if I had to wait more than a month for compensation. There is no excuse for this and certainly your creditors will not care why you can’t pay them. They will begin legal action to get their payments. This is an issue for Congress to be involved in.

  4. You will not be going four months without an income. You will receive your monthly check at a reduced rate until your papers are finalized. When they are you will be paid retroactively for the difference. I retired on the first and received my first check the following month. It took about four months to finalize things.

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