Finding Your High-3

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The “high-3” is an essential element in the formula used to calculate your annuity. But what does the term high-3 mean? And how do you figure out what yours is? The high-3 defined Your high-3 is the average of your highest rates of basic pay over any three consecutive years of creditable civilian service, no matter when they occur in your career, with each pay rate weighted by the length of time it was received. That three-year period starts and ends on the dates that produce the highest average pay. It starts on the first day that leads to the…

Disability retirement

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Q. I am a GS-1811 with just over 16 years of federal service. I was grandfathered into federal service at 42 and will have to retire at 62 (I am 59). Additionally, I have bought back 12 years of Army active-duty time. My Agency has proposed my removal for performance reasons, which I can directly attribute to my worsening Adult ADD. They are leaning toward an involuntary disability retirement vice removal. If I am disability retired, will my 12 years of bought-back Army time be included in the annuity calculation? Will it also be included in the subsequent calculation when…

Minimum retirement age

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Q. My wife is under CSRS with 31 years of service, but we are concerned that she may be moved into CSRS Offset upon retirement. What is the minimum retirement age for someone in this position? A. CSRS Offset applies only to employees who had a break in service that exceeded a year and ended after 1983, and had five years of service as of Jan. 1, 1987. If that doesn’t describe your wife’s situation, then she is a pure CSRS employee. Like any CSRS or CSRS Offset employee, she can retire at age 55 with 30 years of service.

BC/BS and VA

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Q. I will turn 65 next May and have retired from the post office after 33 years. I have BC/BS with the post office, and I’m also with the VA. What happens with my coverage from the post office when I turn 65? Do I have to keep the coverage since I’m with the VA? A. Your BC/BS enrollment is under the Federal Employees Health Benefits program. It doesn’t make any difference which agency you were working for when you enrolled or which one you are working for now.

Sick leave calculation

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Q. If I retire with 27 days of unused sick leave, and I started government service on the sixth day of the month, will that mean that a month of service will be added to my years of service? I understand that anything under one month of sick leave will be dropped, but am unclear about whether the day you started affects the calculation. The chart does not seem to address this. A. Annuities are calculated using years and full months of service. Any days that don’t add up to a full month are converted to hours and added to…

Military annuity and CSRS

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Q. My husband (age 56) and I (age 53) are reaching the time when we are considering retirement and want to clarify a few things. I am covered under CSRS with 33 years of service. I have worked other jobs but I do not have enough credits to be eligible for Social Security. He is National Guard and will retire with over 30 years of service. He is also a government technician covered under FERS and will be eligible for Social Security. We are both retiring with survivor benefits. I know my husband’s Social Security would offset my CSRS. Will…

Return after LWOP

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Q. If a person is in a voluntary LWOP for a period of time and then returns to active service, is the service time necessary to meet retirement qualifications affected? For instance, if a person went on LWOP for three months does that time need to be made up in order to meet a minimum service requirement? A. No, it doesn’t. You can be on LWOP for up to six months in a calendar year without it affecting your creditable years of service.

Eligibility to receive benefits

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Q. I worked for the post office for 23 years under FERS and resigned at the age of 48 to work in the private sector. I am 53 and would like to know when I would be eligible to receive retirement benefits. Also, I worked for four years with the state government. Would those years count towards retirement? A. If you didn’t receive a refund of your retirement contributions when you left, you’d be eligible for a deferred annuity at age 62. That annuity would be based solely on your years of FERS service.

Salary offset

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Q. Is an office closure that forces employees into a Discontinued Service Early Retirement considered voluntary or involuntary when the employee is rehired as a re-employed annuitant.  Namely, if involuntary, not subject to new Federal Salary offset. A. If you choose to retire in the face of a reduction-of-force, your retirement is voluntary. If you are separated by a RIF, it’s involuntary. However, no matter which way you went, it would have no affect on the amount you’d have to contribute to the retirement fund if you were re-employed by the federal government. The higher contribution rate doesn’t apply to…

Delinquency definition

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Q. Could you please explain what the term “delinquency” refers to with regards to a discontinued service retirement? A. Delinquency is a term that includes, but is not limited to, failure to do what law or duty require, an offense or a misdemeanor, a debt or other financial obligation on which payment is overdue.

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