What’s included in high-3 calculations


Q. On the high-3 for annuity purpose, what actually counts? Just base salary, salary plus overtime or salary plus overtime and other earning (deployment incentives such as danger pay and post differential pay)? I know a number of federal employees have deployed to either Iraq or Afghanistan and received temporary promotions, additional overtime hours, danger pay and post differential pay, plus some also received separate maintenance allowance. Do these extras count toward the high-3?

A. The high-3 is based on earnings from which retirement deductions are taken. In other words, basic pay. Neither overtime nor incentives and differentials are included.


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.


  1. I retired from the VA 6 months ago with high 3 yrs at 209000 and 12 years 2 months service credit. My spouse has full surival which I know cost 10% of my benefits. Nevertheless my retirement benefit is 18000 whereas I calculate 22000 per year. Am I missing something-Thank you very much for your help

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