Pension accuracy

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Q. I am starting to look seriously at retirement and have noticed the articles on the long wait for pensions to be processed and the fact that accuracy dropped to 90.6 percent in the first quarter of 2013.

Once the Office of Personnel Management has processed my pension, how do I verify it was done correctly? If it takes them a year, it must be a very complicated system. Also, since interim payments may be only half what is owed, how is that back amount paid?

A. While the error rate has increased, the vast majority of those errors are quickly resolved by OPM. If you want a quick estimate of what you should be receiving in your annuity before any deductions are taken out, multiply your high-3 by 0.9. If you are a FERS employee, the result will be very good; if CSRS, a little low. To find your high-3, add up your basic pay for the last 78 pay periods and divide by 78.

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