Setting the Retirement Process in Motion

You’ve met your retirement goals. Now it’s time to start the countdown.

Many federal employees dream about the day they can start their life after government. If this is your year for retirement and you’ve already set a date, then it’s time to begin the process of actually filing your paperwork.

The transition starts with initiating your retirement application. Your personnel and payroll offices have an important role in the process of finalizing your retirement before the Office of Personnel Management even knows you’re ready to retire. It’s OK to be optimistic that the transition will be smooth—for most people it is—but you should prepare for all the possibilities by having sufficient cash on hand to cushion a potential delay. Here’s an email I recently received from a new retiree under the Civil Service Retirement System: 

I finally retired under CSRS on Jan. 3, 2020 after 40 years of service. I received my last paycheck on time that was deposited into my bank account on Jan 11, 2020. However, that is the last I have received. No lump sum annual leave payout, no contact from OPM. Nothing. So I tried to contact the retirement unit at my former agency and got someone on the phone who told me that the person who was handling my paperwork had quit in early December.

In a large agency, with many end-of-year retirements, the loss of an experienced personnelist can cause a crisis. All of the cases that this employee had to prepare for retirement processing had to be shifted to someone else’s caseload, so it’s not surprising this caused delays. 

Your agency must submit a “healthy” retirement package to OPM in order for your retirement to be finalized. It’s a good idea not to immediately go on a long vacation or to move into a new residence in the first months following your separation. If your agency or OPM needs to get in touch with you, be sure they know how to find you.

To understand why the resignation of one employee can cause a snowball effect in retirement processing, it’s important to understand all the steps that must be followed before your retirement application is transferred to OPM for processing.

It starts with you. You’ll need to complete and submit your retirement application under CSRS or the Federal Employees Retirement System, along with your request to continue your life insurance to your agency. This involves  the following forms:

You’ll need to submit your retirement application to your agency at least 30 days before the date you want to retire. In larger organizations, you may need to allow 90 days or more. If you have a local personnel office in the organization where you work, you should ask a retirement specialist there for advice on timing. The earlier you submit your application, the more likely it will be worked on ahead of time.

Once you turn in your application, your personnel office must: 

  • Check your electronic Official Personnel Folder or its equivalent to ensure you meet the age and service requirements for retirement. 
  • Prepare a final CSRS or FERS retirement estimate to include with your retirement package, and provide you with a copy.
  • Review your forms to ensure they are properly completed and that the elections reflect your choices.
  • For CSRS employees only, if excess retirement deductions have been made because you have completed enough service to exceed the maximum CSRS retirement computation or you would like to get a refund of voluntary contributions, you will be instructed to complete form SF 2802.
  • You may need a copy, as applicable, of your marriage certificate, divorce decree, military service records, proof of Federal Employee Health Benefits Program coverage under your spouse’s FEHBP plan, proof of military health coverage under a plan such as TRICARE, and documentation of any pending worker’s compensation claims. 

Your retirement specialist should also:

  • Review the completed application with you to ensure all blocks are properly marked and that it has been signed.
  • Explain how the retirement application will be processed by your agency and OPM. 
  • Explain how you will be notified when your retirement package is transmitted to OPM. 
  • Make sure you understand OPM cannot begin to process a retirement annuity until after receiving the application and supporting documentation from your employing agency. 
  • Provide counseling regarding crediting military service towards your CSRS or FERS retirement and be sure you’ve completed your military service credit deposit, if necessary.
  • Explain interim payments and how they are adjusted to reflect the cost of health benefits, life insurance and survivor elections. 
  • Explain the deductions that can be withheld from annuity checks for federal income tax, state income tax (where applicable), health benefits, life insurance premiums, Medicare, union dues and savings bond allotments. 
  • Provide you with addresses and/or phone numbers you may need to check the status of your retirement package. 

Your agency personnel and payroll offices will take it from there, organizing your retirement package and sending it to OPM. From that point on, it’s just a waiting game.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.