Best date to retire


Q. I am a CSRS employee with the Federal Aviation Administration and wanted to be clear about choosing an optimized “date of final separation” on my CSRS SF2801 (date in Block 2 of Section B).

The date I’ve tentatively entered is May 3, which is the second Friday of Pay Period 10. My last scheduled day of work in that pay period is Thursday, May 2, with Friday and Saturday being regular days off.

In that scenario, the federal retirement benefits calculator indicates my “annuity start date” is May 4. When could I reasonably expect my first annuity payment? I was under the impression I could expect one around the first business day of June in this scenario. Is that correct?

If not, is it necessary to change my fate of final separation to an earlier date, and what date would be the latest to receive annuity payment in the beginning of June?

In my present scenario, would I get credit for the leave earned in that last pay period I worked (Pay Period 10)?

Is there anything else significant I should be aware of about selecting this date?  How might a furlough day in that Pay Period 10 affect me?

A. No one can tell you how long it will take for you to receive your first annuity payment, which, in any case, would be an interim payment that represents a percentage of your final annuity amount. All anyone can tell you with certainty is that if you retire no later than May 3, you will be on the annuity roll in May and, when your retirement application is finalized, be entitled to 27/30 of your first month’s annuity.

If you retire at the end of pay period, you would be entitled to any annual and sick leave you earned during that pay period.

If you were to be furloughed for a day, it would have no effect on your leave accumulation or on your retirement.


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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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