Planning for retirement


Q. I will be 62 the end of June this year. I am in FERS, would like to retire this year and am trying to make a sound decision regarding what date would be best.
1) I have 918 sick hours accumulated. Will they convert 100% into service time?
2) When trying to calculate how much I will get for retirement, is it based on basic pay or total pay with locality adjustment?
3) Is there any penalty if I retire at age 62 if I have less than 20 years of FERS service?
4) Is there any offset with Social Security?

A. 1) Yes, however you need to understand that any unused sick leave will be added to any actual service hours that don’t add up to a full month and converted to annuity months, with each month equaling approximately 174 hours.
2) Your high-3 is calculated using your three highest consecutive years of average basic pay, which includes locality pay.
3) As long as you have at least five years of FERS service, you would receive an unreduced annuity at age 62.
4) As a FERS employee, your entitlement to a Social Security benefit would have no effect on your FERS annuity, regardless of whether you apply for it at age 62 or later.


About Author

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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