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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.


  1. Reg,

    I was active duty Army from June 1978 to April 1983. Married in October 1988; divorced August 2011. I joined federal civil service March 2005 and just retired December 2018. In May 2018, I paid (with my money) to have my military service added for computation of my FERS annuity. The QDRO is mum on the treatment of my military service time and establishes the divorce date as the end date for FERS computation for an equitable share It also allows (not mandates) the survivor option to be added but only with my ex-wife paying for the reduction in my net annuity.

    Several questions:

    1) What does OPM do if some or all of these issues are not expressly stipulated and a claim is filed by the non-annuitant to make them so?

    2) Are there any established policies on service time paid to FERS after divorce if the QDRO does not state specifically the treatment of same? It would defy logic to me to have my pre-marriage service time, not monetized, until almost 7 years after divorce to be subject to being classified as marital property. But logic and the law are sometimes an unsettled mix.


    Chris Hager

    • We aren’t able to answer questions about divorce or court-ordered settlements. However, what we have been told is that OPM will only provide what is expressly stated in a court order that has been properly filed with its Court Ordered Benefits Branch.

    • Your “high-3” is calculated by averaging your rates of Basic pay in effect over any 3 consecutive years of creditable service, with each rate weighted by the the length of time it was in effect. Assuming that you have your 78 bi-weekly Leave & Earning statements, you can use them to determine your “high-3.” If you don’t, you’ll have to approximate your “high-3.” Assuming that your highest three years of Basic pay were the most recent, you can use the rates of pay in effect each year for your grade and step and divide the total by 3.

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