Q. What is the minimum submission time for FERS retirement, and what defines retirement application? I currently meet the full FERS retirement criteria (minimum retirement age and 30+ years of service, including 10.5 years military redeposit paid and documented). I plan on retiring in January 2014. My plan is to submit the application in about July or August 2013.
However, Congress is considering various FERS retirement changes, one of which is canceling the special retirement supplement. According to the House version, anyone retiring after Dec. 31, 2012, would not get SRS, whereas the Senate version would apply only to new hires after enacted.
If the House version were enacted (looks unlikely, but after the election, who knows), would I be able to go to my human resources office Dec. 27, 2012, and declare I’m retiring on Dec. 28? If not, what would be the latest date? Would a documented verbal make it “official,” or would the minimum be a filled out and signed application showing Dec. 31, 2012?
A. You can submit your Application for Immediate Retirement (SF 2801 for CSRS; SF 3107 for FERS) as late as the end of the day on which you want to retire. However, be aware that the closer you come to the day you leave, the more likely that your application will have issues that need to be resolved. In addition, there’s an absolute certainty that submission of that application to the Office of Personnel Management for processing will be delayed beyond the normal.
You would be better advised to begin the process several months in advance but hold off the formal submission of the application until you have settled on a retirement date. That way, any potential glitches can be resolved with the help of your personnel office, assuring smooth passage of your application and reducing the time between when you leave and you are put in interim pay status by OPM.