First annuity check


Q. I retired Jan. 3 from the Department of Health and Human Services/Indian Health Service with almost 45 years of service. My entrance on duty was May 3, 1969. I am covered under CSRS. I was expecting to receive my first annuity check Feb. 1. However, there was no electronic deposit in my bank account. I tried calling the Office of Personnel Management, but all I got was a busy signal. Therefore, I contacted OPM via email. I haven’t heard back from them as the automatic response I got indicated that it could take up to 30 days to respond.

I also contacted my human resources folks where I worked and was told that I was expecting too much from OPM. They indicated that OPM does their calculations in 30-day increments. Since I retired on Jan. 3, I did not meet the 30-day increment. They said that OPM would be working on my annuity during February and that I “might” receive an interim annuity check on March 1. However, they couldn’t guarantee it.

I did review the “best” date to retire and all the information I reviewed did indicate that Jan. 3 would be the “best” date to retire since I would not only get credit for the holiday but that I would also receive credit for the entire month of January. I did receive my lump-sum annual leave with my last paycheck, and this was extremely helpful. I am wondering how long I will have to wait for my first annuity check. My last earnings and leave statement indicated that my retirement data was sent to OPM on Jan. 27.

A. First, your HR was correct. OPM can’t begin processing your retirement application until they receive it. As a result, under the best of circumstances, you won’t receive an annuity payment until March. And it would be an interim payment, a percentage of your final annuity. OPM does this to get some cash in your pocket without overpaying by mistake. When they finalize your annuity, you’ll receive the full amount plus everything you are owed when you were in interim pay.

Since you retired Jan. 3, you’ll be on the annuity roll in January. However, your January payment will only equal 27/30ths of a month’s annuity. All subsequent payments will be for full months.


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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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