Retirement calculations


Q: I am a former government employee with more than nine years of service under CSRS and 22 months of military service. When I left the federal government in 1985 I withdrew all of my contributions to CSRS. I am 62 years old and I am now considering getting a federal government job with the hopes of working long enough to get an annuity under CSRS offset. My understanding is that the calculations of your high-3 are based upon three consecutive years of pay. Is this correct? Would I need to work three years to be eligible for an annuity? Or if I only worked one year, would my high-3 be based upon the high three years that I had under my prior government job?

A: A high-3 is based on an employee’s three highest consecutive years of average salary. If you returned to work for one year, your high-3 would be based on that year’s basic pay plus the last two years of your previous federal employment. Note: Unless you redeposited the retirement contributions that were refunded to you, including accrued interest, when you retired your annuity would be actuarially reduced based on the amount you owe and your age.


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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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