Federal Retirees - Two questions, please?

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LuigiLikesPizza
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Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2016 7:54 am

Federal Retirees - Two questions, please?

Post by LuigiLikesPizza »

(1) How much notice did you give of your pending retirement? If short notice (less than a month for example), were there any problems getting your benefits straightened out *after* leaving employment? My concern is I may retire on short notice - and then if there is a problem later, as a retiree, I have less ability/leverage/whatever to get any problems fixed.

(2) How long did it take for them to cut you your remaining annual leave balance check? My concern is the timing of my retirement and which tax year that huge check will arrive in. For example, if I retire on 10/1 - would it be likely to arrive in 2020?
I assume there is no flexibility on that.(?) - would love to have it issued in 2021, if possible.

Thanks!
mouth
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Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2015 6:40 am

Re: Federal Retirees - Two questions, please?

Post by mouth »

Honestly any answer you get here is going to be very agency / department dependent. They will also be "out of date" unless someone has gone through the process during a global pandemic. OHR personnel are working shifts, remote, or not at all in various levels and PARs are moving at the speed of smell. I'm sorry I don't have a more useful answer for you. I didn't retire as a federal civilian (retired military as it happens) but I support a Federal Agency OHR and CFO shop and have a very close eyeball on their HR and payroll processing data... like I said, sloooooow.
Topic Author
LuigiLikesPizza
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Re: Federal Retirees - Two questions, please?

Post by LuigiLikesPizza »

Actually, slow doesn't bother me all that much. I am not relying on my federal pension for the bulk of my retirement income (only about 10%).

My concern is the ease of correcting any errors afterward- when not an employee
and the aforementioned leave check issue.

Would love for that to be sloooooow.
retiredjg
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Re: Federal Retirees - Two questions, please?

Post by retiredjg »

Some personnel offices are really good. Some are not. And the Covid crisis has made a mess of everything.

I don't think there is an answer to your question but I feel pretty confident you will get check on time. Whether it is correct or not may have to be worked out.

I retired at the end of May some years ago. Something happened with my vacation check....I don't remember what...but it came to me in January of the next calendar year. It was W2 income so I made an unexpected contribution to Roth IRA that year. :happy
chuckb84
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Re: Federal Retirees - Two questions, please?

Post by chuckb84 »

LuigiLikesPizza wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 3:45 pm (1) How much notice did you give of your pending retirement? If short notice (less than a month for example), were there any problems getting your benefits straightened out *after* leaving employment? My concern is I may retire on short notice - and then if there is a problem later, as a retiree, I have less ability/leverage/whatever to get any problems fixed.

(2) How long did it take for them to cut you your remaining annual leave balance check? My concern is the timing of my retirement and which tax year that huge check will arrive in. For example, if I retire on 10/1 - would it be likely to arrive in 2020?
I assume there is no flexibility on that.(?) - would love to have it issued in 2021, if possible.

Thanks!
1. 3 months. That was probably too long and too nice. There were lots of things that my bosses suddenly wanted finished before I left and suddenly lots of tasks got moved up. I'd suggest a 4-6 weeks. However, the workload and staffing level of your HR people is the first thing you should check out.

2. If you retire 10/1, I'd think they'd get you your annual leave balance check.

3. HOWEVER, you do NOT want to retire on 10/1! You want to retire on 9/30! If you work a single day in October, this will delay your first retirement check by 30 days! When I retired I said to HR, "I want to retire on 4/1/2015", and they took this to mean that my last WORK day would be 4/1, while I meant that I wanted 4/1/2015 to be the first day of my retirement. It got straightened out....eventually, but what a pain. Get this one right. Maybe event retire on 9/29 just to make sure. But, check to see that you hit all the critical time windows.

3.5 If you want to keep your Federal health coverage (a very valuable thing!), have you had Federal health coverage for 5 years prior to retirement?

4. Work closely with your HR people. Make an appointment (or several), go through all the details, ask them about timing, etc. My experience was that they will help, but they were overworked them, and god knows what it's like now.

Good luck!
Small Savanna
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Re: Federal Retirees - Two questions, please?

Post by Small Savanna »

I'm sure it depends on the agency, but here was my experience. I put in notice in July, my last day at work was Friday Sept 29, 2017 (also the end of a pay period). My final paycheck including all my saved annual leave was deposited on my normal payday, October 6th. First payment from OPM came on November 1st, so it really couldn't have been any smoother.

If you are going to leave on short notice it might not be as smooth. One thing I did, mostly out of paranoia, was to gather all of my Form 50s and pay stubs going back to the day I started in 1983. I actually had saved most of them, but I was also able to get a complete copy of my official personnel folder, which was nostalgic in a strange way. It even included my job offer letter. Do that before you depart, so if there is any question about how your pension was calculated you've got the paper trail.
retiredjg
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Re: Federal Retirees - Two questions, please?

Post by retiredjg »

You can always go to your HR people and ask for how things work under different scenarios/time frames. It is your right to have knowledge of these things. It is my understanding that is supposed to be confidential - they are not supposed to tell your supervisor about these types of questions.
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Nestegg_User
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Re: Federal Retirees - Two questions, please?

Post by Nestegg_User »

depends

is your HR office local? or remote?

is your situation easy (only one agency and one location)?
or more difficult (multiple agencies, multiple personnel systems (non-GS), etc)?? CSRS and FERS service? redeposit service? unique situation?

If you have a easy, simple situation with local HR it should be quick and uncomplicated. Some of us had far more complicated situation (multiple agencies/personnel systems/...was at "step 00" when I left (yes, it's a real level...it also meant no pay raises/half COLA, etc) and had remote HR vs local in previous locations... so I had to insure everything was done early and properly documented. Remember, all HR does is compile your case file; it then gets transmitted to OPM for processing. If something isn't there when they get it, both you and HR messed up...it's your personnel file and your responsibility to insure that it gets completed (HR can be a gatekeeper or a facilitator... depends on the office and the level and experience of the case manager).

I insured paperwork was up to date, gave about two months notice (they noted that anytime earlier than that really didn't get processed any faster) and didn't get payout for leave for over two months. Final OPM approval was easy for me as I made sure ** everything ** was there with documentation.
2cents2
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Re: Federal Retirees - Two questions, please?

Post by 2cents2 »

You could ask for a retirement estimate from your personnel office. Also, review your OPF for accuracy and make a personal copy.

If you submit your paperwork in advance your personnel office will review it for completeness and accuracy. But, they will not send it off to OPM until you actually retire (because you could always change your mind).

But, as mentioned above I bet covid-19 is going to be a factor--so, you might ask your personnel specialist for guidance.

You can go here to find out how long it has been taking to finalize: https://www.opm.gov/about-us/budget-per ... status.pdf
pahkcah
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Re: Federal Retirees - Two questions, please?

Post by pahkcah »

1. 60 days’ notice. I was in a senior management position and knew the selection of a replacement would take that long. First step was to ask HR to “run the numbers” to receive an estimate of pension amount. Once decision was made to retire, HR provided a contact who walked me through all of the decisions to be made prior to retirement and made sure all of the necessary paperwork was signed and processed. This included making decisions on health insurance, life insurance coverage, spousal survivor benefit, etc. Once all of the paperwork was signed, HR sent it to OPM. As mentioned earlier, I would touch base with HR and ask whatever questions you may have.

2. Received payment for annual leave balance within 30 days of retirement date. No flexibility for delaying payment in my organization.

Following retirement, the only issue I experienced was an underpayment of $70 for life insurance premiums. It turns out the Government had failed to deduct the proper amount from my monthly pension. Once OPM identified the issue, it just withheld the extra amount from my next annuity payment.

As others have indicated, once you are retired, you will only deal with OPM for any retirement issues.

Strongly recommend you attend any pre-retirement/retirement training that your organization may offer.

I wish you luck in whatever decision you make!
ColoRetiredGirl
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Re: Federal Retirees - Two questions, please?

Post by ColoRetiredGirl »

IMHO, I would contact your HR department and pose your questions. There are different retirement dates for FERS versus CSRS employees. They can tell you of any backlogs, timing of receiving your benefits and quite frankly let you know if you are leaving any money or perks before leaving.
chemocean
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Re: Federal Retirees - Two questions, please?

Post by chemocean »

Actually, you may not need to tell your supervisor until the day you retire. I was a supervisor of an employee who came in one morning and told me he/she was retiring at the close of business that day. The employee had been working on retirement paperwork with the remote HR department for months. I think the employee was able to work with HR in a confidential manner, and thus the office was not notified until the signed paperwork arrived at the remote office.

On the other hand, you we can be working with the HR department for months and decide at 4:29 pm on your retirement date that you don't want to retire and continue working as long as you haven't signed the papers.

As other posters have indicated, contact your HR department in a confidential manner and ask for your Official Personnel Record and ask for an estimate of your annuity.

If you are a federal supervisor, use any accrued comp time and other types of miscellaneous leave because you will lose these types of leave at retirement. This lose is unlike your unused annual leave, which you will eventually get paid some months later (four months in my case).
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VictoriaF
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Re: Federal Retirees - Two questions, please?

Post by VictoriaF »

My agency announced a VRIP as I was planning my retirement. That was fortunate, because it removed the awkwardness of announcing my leave and the paperwork was streamlined for a large group of people who accepted the offer. Plus: I got a financial incentive.

My unused sick leave was converted into additional days of work and resulted in a slightly higher annuity.

Victoria
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tj
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Re: Federal Retirees - Two questions, please?

Post by tj »

VictoriaF wrote: Sat Jun 06, 2020 2:02 pm My agency announced a VRIP as I was planning my retirement. That was fortunate, because it removed the awkwardness of announcing my leave and the paperwork was streamlined for a large group of people who accepted the offer. Plus: I got a financial incentive.

My unused sick leave was converted into additional days of work and resulted in a slightly higher annuity.

Victoria
That's certainly lucky! I recall you were debating between MRA+10 and postponing...
Swansea
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Re: Federal Retirees - Two questions, please?

Post by Swansea »

My HR office processed many, many retirements. We never had to work to adjust an error after affecting the retirement papers were completed. Obviously, this is very dependent upon the skill of your HR office.
Not sure how long "short" notice is, but sometimes longer is better depending upon the complexity of the case.
gavinman
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Re: Federal Retirees - Two questions, please?

Post by gavinman »

I retired 3/31 and still haven’t received my annual leave pay yet but part of that is due to the COVID shutdown/slowdown. So I’d say there may be a possibility it is delayed. I just received notice this week that OPM has received my retirement documents.

I gave several months notice but when I called HR and asked for an estimate they notified the head of our division that I asked for an estimate. I was surprised when my supervisor knew about it the day after I asked for the estimate.
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JaneyLH
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Re: Federal Retirees - Two questions, please?

Post by JaneyLH »

chemocean wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 10:06 pm Actually, you may not need to tell your supervisor until the day you retire. I was a supervisor of an employee who came in one morning and told me he/she was retiring at the close of business that day. The employee had been working on retirement paperwork with the remote HR department for months. I think the employee was able to work with HR in a confidential manner, and thus the office was not notified until the signed paperwork arrived at the remote office.

On the other hand, you we can be working with the HR department for months and decide at 4:29 pm on your retirement date that you don't want to retire and continue working as long as you haven't signed the papers.

As other posters have indicated, contact your HR department in a confidential manner and ask for your Official Personnel Record and ask for an estimate of your annuity.

If you are a federal supervisor, use any accrued comp time and other types of miscellaneous leave because you will lose these types of leave at retirement. This lose is unlike your unused annual leave, which you will eventually get paid some months later (four months in my case).
My husband did this. He started working with OPM 6 months in advance of his retirement, but didn’t tell his management until 2 days before. He worked in a very toxic environment and did not want to work as a lame duck. I think it was a good decision for him personally.
pahkcah
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Re: Federal Retirees - Two questions, please?

Post by pahkcah »

VictoriaF wrote: Sat Jun 06, 2020 2:02 pm My agency announced a VRIP as I was planning my retirement. That was fortunate, because it removed the awkwardness of announcing my leave and the paperwork was streamlined for a large group of people who accepted the offer. Plus: I got a financial incentive.

My unused sick leave was converted into additional days of work and resulted in a slightly higher annuity.

Victoria
Congratulations to you!

I know how you feel regarding the VRIP and sick leave. I spoke with my Senior Manager one day and said I needed to retire. He granted me an early retirement on the spot, and insisted on providing a VSIP/VERA even though I didn't want one.

Once I learned that sick leave (under CSRS) could be used to increase credit for service time, I made sure to use sick leave only when necessary. The result was an additional 14 months of time added to my length of service which resulted in a significant annuity increase.
Swansea
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Re: Federal Retirees - Two questions, please?

Post by Swansea »

pahkcah wrote: Sun Jun 07, 2020 10:55 am
VictoriaF wrote: Sat Jun 06, 2020 2:02 pm My agency announced a VRIP as I was planning my retirement. That was fortunate, because it removed the awkwardness of announcing my leave and the paperwork was streamlined for a large group of people who accepted the offer. Plus: I got a financial incentive.

My unused sick leave was converted into additional days of work and resulted in a slightly higher annuity.

Victoria
Congratulations to you!

I know how you feel regarding the VRIP and sick leave. I spoke with my Senior Manager one day and said I needed to retire. He granted me an early retirement on the spot, and insisted on providing a VSIP/VERA even though I didn't want one.

Once I learned that sick leave (under CSRS) could be used to increase credit for service time, I made sure to use sick leave only when necessary. The result was an additional 14 months of time added to my length of service which resulted in a significant annuity increase.
For CSRS folks sick leave is added to your service time, re SCD, in years, months, then days. You get credit for years and months, excess days that don't make a month are dropped. I've seen employees trying to figure it out so the days drop off to zero. It's not work the 1/6th or 1% extra on the annuity to obsess about it.
delamer
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Re: Federal Retirees - Two questions, please?

Post by delamer »

I wouldn’t expect pre-coronavirus processing to be a good guideline for what is happening now.

As far as the short timeline goes, keep a record of anyone who you contact or pushes paper for you during the process of submitting your paperwork. Get an e-mail address and telephone number.

The retirement specialist who prepared my paperwork was instrumental in getting OPM to compute my final annuity when I’d been paid a preliminary annuity for 9 months. And that preliminary payment was only 40% of what I was due. I finally contacted the retirement specialist in frustration. She was able to “grease the skids” and get my final payment started within a month.

Good luck.
trueblueky
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Re: Federal Retirees - Two questions, please?

Post by trueblueky »

Annual leave payout was in my final paycheck.

First monthly check from OPM was less than the full amount. Second month was final amount. Then I received "back pay" for the first one.

I planned way ahead. I asked for an estimate two years out so I would know if the records were correct. (My agency allows one estimate per year.) I wanted plenty of time to correct anything that was missing.

I let senior leadership and HR know four months in advance.
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