Retirement cap and unused sick leave


Q. I am in CSRS and expect to retire when I have 42 years. I know unused sick leave is added to my length of service on a monthly calculation. I also know, however, that 42 years of service equals the maximum retirement of 80 percent. If I retire with an unused sick leave balance of nine months (which is what I have), will this be lost because I have reached the 42-year/80 percent cap, or is there some other factor?

A. You reach the 80 percent limit when you have 41 years and 11 months of creditable service. The good news is that unused sick leave isn’t subject to the 80 percent limit. As a result, your actual annuity can be greater than 80 percent. Note: Any contributions you made to the retirement fund after completing 41 years and 11 months of service will be returned to you with interest. You will have the option of using that money to purchase additional annuity, which, like unused sick leave, isn’t subject to the 80 percent limit.


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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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