Retirement date and COLA


Q. I may be a little confused, under CSRS, as to when I should retire: Nov. 30, 2013 or Jan. 12, 2014. I heard Social Security and retirees will get a 1.5 percent cost-of-living adjustment Jan. 1. My agency may only get a 1 percent COLA in January. But, for my annuity, would the calculation for the high-3 years with that 1 percent make little difference? I chose Nov. 30 because it is the last day of the pay period and within that one-to-two-day window at beginning or ending of the month as recommended for CSRS retirement processing. I wanted to be sure I was an official federal retiree come Jan. 1. Won’t I then get that 1.5 percent COLA applied?

A. If you retire Nov. 30, you’d be on the annuity roll in December and eligible for a full COLA in your January 2015 annuity check. If you retire Jan. 12, you’ll be on the annuity roll in February and entitled to 10/12ths of the 2014 COLA in your January 2015 annuity check.


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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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