Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

High-3

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Q. I just retired under CSRS and my last day at work was Jan. 3. For purposes of the high-3, how is the three-year period defined? Three true calendar years? Three calendar years limited to 365 days each? A total of 1,095 calendar days (three 365-day periods)?

My salaries were:

1/4/10 to 1/30/10 = $92,992

1/31/10 to 1/28/12 = $99,239

1/29/12 to 1/3/13 = $102,074

Specifically, Feb. 29, 2012, was a leap year’s extra day and, being at my highest salary, my working that day should benefit the high-3 figure.

If Feb. 29, 2012, did not exist (or does not exist in the mind of the Office of Personnel Management), it appears my high-3 would be $99,965.24.

If OPM takes into account that extra day and goes back a total of 365 x 3, my starting point of computation would instead become Jan. 5, 2010. If OPM takes into account that extra day but still goes back to Jan. 4, 2010, as a starting point, they’d use a total of 365, 365 and 366 days in 2010, 2011 and 2012, respectively.  In either of these latter two scenarios, my high-3 would increase.

A. Seventy-eight consecutive pay periods.

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