Best date to retire


Q. My military buyback will be completed Aug. 2, at which time need to wait for my letter from Defense Finance and Accounting Services to provide to my B/E section to do recalculation of my service computation date for retirement. As a FERS employee per my calculation, my new retirement date would be August 2013 for 30 years of service at age 56. But I have decided to wait until the end December to retire. Should I be retiring on Dec. 31, or should it be the end of that pay period to begin getting my annuity for the following month?

A. This is an end-of-year question that retiring employees like to ask but for which there is no set answer. It all depends. As a FERS employee, you can retire no later than the last day of a month if you want to be on the annuity roll in the following month. Ideally, the retirement date would be at the end of a pay period so you can get credit for any annual and sick leave you earned during the pay period. And if you have more annual leave than can be carried over into the next leave year, you want to retire before the end of a leave year. With that said, you have to decide whether what you gain by staying on in salary and eight hours more in your lump-sum annual leave payment is better than what you would lose by missing a full month’s worth of annuity. Also whether you want to retire before Jan. 1, 2014, when you’ll only get half credit for your unused sick leave or retire on or after that date and get full credit.


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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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