The Ultimate OPM’s FERS Retirement Timetable

Are you thinking about retiring from your federal job? Congratulations! You’ve dedicated a long career to public service, and now it’s time to reap the rewards of that fantastic benefits package you’ve heard so much about.

Unfortunately, several requirements exist to complete the retirement procedure and get your pension. It’s time-consuming and, if you’re not cautious, a costly process. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has a lot of documentation to go through, and you won’t be able to get your full retirement income until they have reviewed everything.

Despite OPM’s stated objective of processing retirement papers within 60 days, it frequently takes longer. Since the pandemic, the average processing time for retirees has been closer to 90 days.

Why is it taking so long? There are several moving pieces.

Timeline for Retirement Paperwork

The submission of your FERS retirement application is merely the first step. First, the personnel office in your department will have you sign a lot of paperwork and begin the process of verifying your service, which might take some time if any documentation is missing. They also transfer your enrolment in life insurance (FEGLI) and health insurance (FEHB) to the OPM.

The payroll office is next in line. They authorize your final salary and payout of unused annual leave after they get your papers from personnel. They also provide data on your salary, retirement contributions, and service history to the OPM.

When OPM receives your complete documentation packages from these other offices, they provide you with a civil service claim number to help you keep track of everything. Then you sit back and wait for them to assess your eligibility, compute your annuity, and — finally! — give you your payment.

So, how long will this all take? The following is the current general timeline:

Day 1: The date of your retirement. Congratulations! Get rid of your alarm clock and start doing things that you’ve always wanted.

Day 30: TSP funds become available for withdrawal. The payroll office will notify TSP that you’re automatically retiring, and you should be able to access your funds without penalty within 30 days after retirement.

Day 30-45: Annual leave lump sum payout is sent. This payout takes at least two full pay periods following your retirement date and can take up to six weeks to arrive. The payroll department is in charge of this.

Day 45-70: The OPM sends out the first retirement letters. They’ll provide you your Civilian Service Annuity Number (CSA#) between six and ten weeks following your retirement date, which you’ll need whenever you contact them in the future. They will then give you a letter with an online password to set up future communication.

Day 45-70: The OPM mails an interim retirement check. After receiving your first letters, you’ll receive your first annuity payment, but it’ll only be for 60-80% of your estimated annuity. That’s only to hold you over until they process the paperwork, which should be completed within six to ten weeks after your retirement date.

Day 90-120: The OPM sends you your whole retirement payout. When OPM has finished processing your documentation, they’ll issue you a check for the entire amount of your annuity. That reimburses you for the amount owing from the interim check, minus insurance and taxes. This entire check may take three to six months to appear.

Remember:  You may have to wait up to six months before receiving your full retirement benefits. As a result, filing your papers 60-90 days before your retirement date may be helpful.

Having a financial strategy in place while you wait for your annuity to kick in is also a good idea. You shouldn’t fall into the OPM trap of relying on credit cards to get by during those months, so consult with a financial advisor to devise a sustainable plan to get you through this period.

Other Considerations

Even though your life and health insurance premiums will ultimately be withdrawn from your full retirement payment, and your coverage will continue while you wait for OPM processing, not all of your benefits will be automatically covered during the transition time.

If you have supplemental FEDVIP Dental/Vision coverage or LTCFEDS Long Term Care insurance, you must contact those providers directly to make payments until your complete retirement check is processed.

Similarly, any personal allotments you have set up through payroll will be terminated when you retire. Once your last retirement check is received, you can continue these through the OPM.

Finally, once you retire, you’ll no longer be allowed to contribute to a Flexible Savings Account (FSA). You can, however, use any remaining amount to be reimbursed for eligible costs incurred before your retirement date.

Important Federal Employee Retirement Contacts

If your retirement process is delayed past the dates in the timetable above, you should take action to find out what’s going on. You should also make sure that you contact the appropriate department for each issue:

Thrift Savings Plan (TSP): (877) 968-3778 /

OPM: (888) 767-6738 /

BENEFEDS (Dental/Vision): (877) 888-3337 /

FSA: (877) 372-3337 /

LTCFEDS (Long Term Care): (800) 582-3337 /

Social Security: (800) 772-1213 /

Medicare: (800) 633-4227 /

In conclusion

Retirement planning for federal employees might be daunting, but if you begin early, you can ensure that your documentation is immaculate for smoother processing. You should also have a plan to cover your costs while you wait for the OPM to finalize your papers and deliver your first full check.

Contact Information:
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 8889193252

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Federal Retirement benefits are complex. Not having all of the right answers can cost you thousands of dollars a year in lost retirement income. Don’t risk going it alone. Request your complimentary benefit analysis today. Get more from your benefits.

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