Best time to retire from USPS


Q. I am a CSRS USPS employee (age 56 with 35 years’ service) thinking about retiring at the end of the year. Do the same dates hold true for postal workers as federal employees? To maximize my benefits, I believe Dec. 29 is the best date. USPS pay periods do not follow the same as federal. Does this affect the retirement date?

A. To maximize your benefits when you retire, you need to do only two things: 1) retire no later than the end of the leave year and 2) retire before Jan. 3. That way you’ll receive a lump-sum payment for any unused annual leave (not to exceed 440 hours in most cases) and you’ll be on the annuity roll in January. If Dec. 29 is the end of a pay period, it would be the best of all possible times for you to retire.


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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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