Leave and earnings statement Block 19

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Q. What does Block 19 on my civilian leave and earnings statement mean? What does that number, which goes up on each LES, tell me? I plan to retire in three years at age 69 with just a few months less than 20 years of federal civil service. I’m an Army civilian.

A. Box 19 is where annual leave is posted. It can contain any or all of the following kinds of information:
• Projected year-end balance
• Maximum carryover
• Use or lose balance

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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.

12 Comments

    • $23,747.60 has been deducted from your pay during your current appointment in the federal government to cover your contributions to the retirement system.

      • Known as the “cost basis” in tax accounting circles, I believe. This is the return of principal (your contributions) based on actuarial tables. Also called the exclusion ratio in annuity parlance. Please, somebody straighten me out if I missed anything on this one.
        Thx!

        • The contributions box simply reports the cumulative amount of money deducted from an employee’s wages. For most employees, their annuity is calculated using a fixed formula: a multiplier, their highest three years of basic pay, and their years and full months of service. When they retire and begin receiving an annuity, the money comes entirely from the contributions they made to the retirement system while employed. Only when that money runs out do they begin receiving the government’s money. Unfortunately, a change in the law has resulted in the taxable portion of a retiree’s annuity being based on actuarial tables, not on the already taxed money they receive.

  1. Billy E. Birdwell on

    Perhaps other agencies use a different form. The DoD LES block 19 looks like this: “19. Cumulative Retirement FERS.” It then includes a dollar figure.
    I realize this is what I have contributed and continue to contribute to the defined portion of my retirement (TSP and Social Security form the other portions) but I don’t know what it means for me after I actually retire. Is there an estimator online somewhere that tells me what it will be worth when I retire in 2021?

    • There isn’t any online estimator. However, all you need is the formula and an estimate of your “high-3.” In other words, the average of your highest three consecutive years of basic pay. Here’s the formula.

      .01 x your “high-3” x your years and full months of service.

      Increase the multiplier to .011, if you retire at age 62 or later with at least 20 years of service.

  2. Rick Bedford on

    Sir, I applied for OPM disability retirement and I’m currently on LWOP. Back in April (around the time OPM received my DR application), I noticed the amount in Block 19 dropped from around $8400 to around $60. Is this somehow related to my DR application, and should I be concerned? Thanks.

    • Yes, it is related to your DR application. Your LES was suspended on the date you went on LWOP. The smaller figure represents the amount accumulated during that final pay period.

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