Text Size:   A+ A- A   •   Text Only
Site Image
Planning for Retirement
Selecting Your Retirement Date:
Date Your Retirement Annuity Begins - The date your retirement annuity begins is determined by your retirement plan. For FERS employees, the best date to retire is the last day of the month because your retirement annuity will begin the following day. If you retire on any other day of the month, your retirement annuity will begin on the first day of the following month, and you will have a lapse period between your civil service salary and your retirement annuity.
End of the Leave Year - If you want to receive the maximum payment for any annual leave you have accrued, you should retire at the end of the leave year. You will then receive the lump sum annual leave payment in the next tax year. The maximum number of hours that may be carried over in a leave year is 240. For the year 2013, the last day you can be on the rolls and be paid for all annual leave on record is 11 Jan 2014.
FERS Retiree Annuity Supplement Earnings Limit:
The Social Security earnings limitation for 2013 is $15,120. Any FERS annuitant who is receiving a FERS annuity supplement (unless he or she is under age 55 and retired under one of the special provisions for military reserve technicians separated for loss of military membership) will have his or her annuity supplement offset in 2013 by $1.00 for every $2.00 over this amount earned in 2013.
Health Insurance:
You must be enrolled in a Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) plan to be eligible to carry FEHB into retirement. This means your FEHB plan must be in effect prior to, and you must be covered on, your retirement date.
If you are eligible to receive an immediate annuity and are insured on the date of retirement (either as a family member under an FEHB program or covered under your own) and have been continuously covered for the 5 years preceding retirement, or since the date you were first eligible to enroll, you may continue your FEHB into retirement.
If you wish to suspend your FEHB coverage to use TRICARE, include an SF 2809 with your retirement application, marking the “suspension” block (Part G). OPM will send you a suspension form (RI 79-9) to complete. You will indicate on the form the date you wish your FEHB enrollment to be suspended; this date cannot be prior to your retirement date.
FEHB premiums for federal retirees are the same as an active employee, paying only the employee portion of the premium; however, you pay premiums on a monthly basis rather than biweekly. You are subject to the same regular Open Seasons as a retiree that you were as an active employee. OPM will notify you of Open Seasons for FEHB.
Life Insurance:
You are eligible to continue Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) into retirement if you retire on an immediate annuity, are insured on the date of retirement and have been continuously covered for the five years preceding retirement or since your first opportunity to enroll. This eligibility requirement extends to each of the options (A, B & C) available under the FEGLI plan to include the number of multiples for these options (B & C).
You must continue Basic life insurance in order to continue any Optional coverage. You cannot elect more coverage at retirement than you currently have. If you elect to waive your FEGLI at retirement, you will not be able to pick up the coverage at a later date.
Federal Employee Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP):
If you are enrolled in the Federal Employee Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP), you may take it with you in retirement; there is no 5-year enrollment requirement. You will need to contact BENEFEDS one week prior to your retirement date to inform them of your retirement. These premiums can be withheld from your retirement; however you will receive a direct bill from BENEFEDS for premiums until your retirement claim has been adjudicated. It is important that you mail your premiums in a timely manner in order to avoid possible cancellation of this benefit. The number for BENEFEDS is 1-877-888-3337. For more information on this program, please visit their website at https://www.benefeds.com.
Long Term Care Insurance (LTCI):
If you are enrolled in Long Term Care Insurance (LTCI), your coverage will automatically continue into retirement as long as you continue to pay the premiums. Deductions for LTCI do not automatically transfer to the retirement system. If you currently pay premiums through direct deposit and you opt for deduction from your annuity, LTC will work with OPM to set up the deduction. This can only be done with adjudication of your annuity. Prior to adjudication, you will be direct billed by LTC Partners. It is your responsibility to contact LTC Partners and let them know of your upcoming retirement and make these payment arrangements. It is important that you mail your premiums in a timely manner in order to avoid possible cancellation of this benefit. If you currently mail your premiums directly, you do not need to make any changes; retirement will not have a bearing on this arrangement.
If you are not enrolled in LTCI at retirement, you can apply for this benefit after retirement. The number for LTC is 1-800-582-3337. You can find out more information on their website http://www.ltcfeds.com.
Flexible Spending Account (FSA):
If you are participating in the Flexible Spending Account (FSA), it is important that you understand that you will no longer be eligible to continue this benefit. Your HCFSA or LEX HCFSA will terminate as of the date of your retirement. There are no extensions. Any health care expenses incurred prior to the date of separation will still be reimbursable but those incurred after the date of separation are not. If you used your entire elected amount before FSAFEDS has deducted it from your account, you will not be responsible for the remaining payments. You can continue to use the remaining balance in your DCFSA to pay for eligible dependent care expenses until the end of the benefit period or until your account balance is used up, whichever comes first. For more information on FSA, you can contact them at 1-866-643-2245 or visit their website at http://www.fsafeds.com.
Sick Leave:
FERS employees receive 50% of their sick leave balance credited towards retirement if retiring prior to 01 Jan 2014. From 01 Jan 2014 forward, FERS employees receive 100% of their sick leave balance. The days of unused sick leave that are added are used only in counting your number of years and months of service for annuity computation purposes. They cannot be used in computing your "high-3" average salary or for meeting the minimum length of service for retirement eligibility.
See the SICK LEAVE CONVERSION chart in the list on the right side of this page.
Thrift Savings Plan (TSP):
If you are enrolled in the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), you will be mailed a withdrawal package after you have separated. The separation information is created when your retirement action is processed; it flows to the payroll office who notifies TSP that you have separated. This process can take 2 to 4 weeks. You are not eligible to make a withdrawal of your TSP monies until you have been separated for at least 30 days. You can leave your funds in your account after retirement unless you are aged 70 ½ at which time you will be required to withdraw.
There are several options available after retirement to TSP participants, it is a good idea to visit the TSP website and become familiar with the materials. TSP also has a retirement calculator that you can utilize to help you make your decision. Their website is





OPM - Retirement Services
Social Security Administration
Federal Ballpark Estimate
MyMoney.gov - U.S. Financial Literacy Education Commission