Leave, USPS and retirement benefits


Q. A Postal Service employee had to use all his sick and annual leave because of illness. He used leave without pay. When he retired, he was not entitled to benefits. He received only his contributions. Why did he get back only his funds and not the complete package because of LWOP?

A. LWOP wouldn’t have had anything to do with it. If the employee wasn’t entitled to an annuity, he had two choices. Assuming that he had at least five years of creditable service, he could either leave his contributions in the retirement fund and apply for a deferred annuity when he met the age and service requirements or request a refund of his contributions. If he did the latter, he would void his entitlement to future benefits.


About Author

Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to fedexperts@federaltimes.com.


  1. My jeep had to have work.. I don’t wanna use leave due to me having cancer. I wanna save incase cancer comes back. Can I use lwop. My new PM won’t let me use lwop..

    • Either you personnel office or your union representative will be in a better position to determine if you had the option of chosing between LWOP and paid leave

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