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If you are planning to retire between today and June 30 (which is one of the best dates to retire if you’re under the Federal Employees Retirement System) or July 3 (an optimum day for those under the Civil Service Retirement System), then it is time to begin to figure out the forms you need to fill out, gather and sign.

I’ve written plenty of columns in the past on how to get ready to retire. Here are some of my favorites:

Forms

The Office of Personnel Management provides a set of forms online that you’ll need to fill out. Your agency retirement specialist would love to have you turn these in at least 30 days prior to your retirement date -- or better yet, 60 to 90 days.

Here are the key forms:

The standard retirement application:

  • CSRS SF 2801
  • FERS SF 3107

Forms documenting your service, to be filled out by your agency and signed by you:

  • SF 2801-1 Certified Summary of Federal Service (CSRS)
  • SF 3107-1 Certified Summary of Federal Service (FERS)

Spouse’s consent to survivor election (if you are providing your spouse less than the maximum survivor benefit):

  • 2801-2 (CSRS)
  • 3107-2 (FERS)

Post-retirement coverage for Federal Employees Group Life Insurance:

  • SF 2818

Notice of change in health benefits enrollment:

  • SF 2810

Application to make voluntary contributions to your retirement (CSRS only):

  • SF 2804
  • RI 38-124

Documents

Here are some documents you may need to gather before you retire:

  • Marriage certificate.
  • Certified copy of court order if you’ve been divorced and your former spouse has entitlement to your retirement or survivor annuity.
  • Records of civilian federal and/or military service that is not included in your official personnel folder. Also, make copies of your employment history as it is documented in your official personnel folder for your personal file.
  • Copies of previous records of deposit or redeposit of your retirement contributions.
  • Beneficiary designations (if you don’t know where your personal copies are, be sure to file a new set of forms or make copies of those that are in your official personnel folder).
  • Information related to a prior military service credit deposit.
  • Information related to a pending worker’s compensation claim.
  • Proof of birth, if there’s any discrepancy in your birthdate.
  • Records of Federal Employees Health Benefits Program coverage if you were covered under your spouse’s self and family enrollment within the last five years before your retirement date.

Contacts

You may wish to contact the following organizations to let them know you are retiring:

  • Federal Employees Dental and Vision Program: Make arrangements to pay your supplement dental and/or vision coverage premiums while your retirement is in interim status.
  • Long-Term Care Insurance:  Also to make arrangements to pay premiums while your retirement application is being processed. The last chance for your parents or in-laws to enroll in the federal long-term care program is while you are still employed.
  • Social Security: Apply for Social Security retirement benefits if you are old enough for benefits to begin and you want payments to coincide with your retirement.
  • Medicare: Contact Social Security if you are 65 or older and you want to enroll in Medicare parts A and B when you retire. You will have a special enrollment period lasting for eight months following your retirement to enroll in Medicare Part B without a late enrollment penalty.
  • State Taxes: Remember that OPM will not withhold state income taxes while you are in interim status. You may need to make arrangements to pay your state income taxes on a quarterly basis by contacting your state income tax office.
  • Thrift Savings Plan: You will be able to make a withdrawal decision after you have retired. You may want to begin to consider what you will do with the money you’ve saved in the TSP. You might need to supplement your monthly retirement income with a payment from the TSP or the purchase of an annuity. On the other hand, you may want to keep your TSP funds invested for later use and not touch them now.

Tammy Flanagan has spent 30 years helping federal employees take charge of their retirement by understanding their benefits. She runs her own consulting business at www.tammyflanagan.com and provides individual counseling as well as online training for the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association, Plan Your Federal Retirement as well as the Federal Long Term Care insurance Program. She also serves as the senior benefits director for the National Institute of Transition Planning Inc., which conducts federal retirement planning workshops and seminars.

For more retirement planning help, tune in to "For Your Benefit," presented by the National Institute of Transition Planning Inc. live on Federal News Radio on Mondays at 10 a.m. ET on WFED AM 1500 in the Washington-metro area. Archived shows are available on NITPInc.com.

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