Q. Can you explain how high-3 works? Yesterday I went to the Civilian Personnel Advisory Center to get an understanding of where my retirement is (I’m eligible in 2019). I always thought high-3 was the average of the three highest pay years. Yesterday, the rep said I was misinformed, the high-3 is the average of the highest, lowest and middle pay I’ve earned during my career. She confused me even more when she said that the government will be going to a high-5, causing my retirement to be even smaller. Can you clarify?

A. Your rep is full of crap. Your high-3 is based on your highest three consecutive years of average basic pay. As for the shift from high-3 to high-5, it has been proposed on more than one occasion but to date it has not gotten anywhere in Congress.


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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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