Job overseas and high-3 calculation


Q. I am an FERS GS with four years until I get my 20 under 6(c) law enforcement officer and a year and half after that until mandatory retirement. I have been offered a 6(c) job overseas — how is the high-3 calculated? Is it on the base level GS schedule (plus LEAP) I actually earn, or is it based on a modified amount of what I would have earned in DC — which is how the overseas postings on Foreign Service retirement seems to work? I am pretty sure all the COLA, post allowances and danger pays don’t calculate in either total.

If it is the lower amount basic GS schedule, my high-3 would instead be these last three years — but I was mobilized to military duty for the first of those. How is that year I was on LWOP-US calculated into the total?

A. Your high-3 is based on your actual highest three consecutive years of average basic pay. While basic pay includes LEAP, it doesn’t include any other allowances of differentials.

If you make a deposit for that period of LWOP-US, you’ll get credit for the time in determining your length of service; if you don’t, it won’t. In neither case will it be a factor in determining your high-3, which is based on the pay from which retirement deductions are taken.


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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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