Retirement date


Q. I am a CSRS employee who is thinking of retiring Sept. 30 to beat any chance that Congress will pass a high-5 in place of the high-3 average pay for fiscal 2014 starting Oct. 1. Would I benefit more retiring earlier (say, Sept. 28) because of any existing rules? I just thought the later in the month the better, but I noted an answer to a person that they would get two weeks more pay retiring July 27 in place of July 31.

A. The ideal time for any employee to retire is at the end of a pay period that is closest to the end of a month. A FERS employee retiring anytime after the last day of a month won’t be on the annuity roll until the following month. A CSRS employee can retire up to the third day of a month and be on the annuity roll in that month. If he does that, he gains one or more days of pay and loses one or more days of annuity in that first month.

Don’t base your decision on what the Congress might do that would affect your annuity. Even if it were to press ahead on that front, it would be months before it got through both houses and was signed by the president. Even then, if the past teaches us anything, its effect would be prospective, not retroactive.


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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

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