Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

High-3 and locality pay

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Q. I am a FERS GS-11 step 10 employee planning to retire at 66 with 25 years of federal service in 2016. Pensions are based on the high-3. Is the high-3 based on base pay for the grade and step or base plus locality percentage? The 2012 GS Base table shows 11 step 10 as $65,371. Base plus locality equals $77,138, or an addition of 14.16 percent or $11,767 over base.

There is a large difference when calculating retirement figures using $65,371 versus $77,137.

A. A high-3 is based on three consecutive years (78 pay periods) of average basic pay. Locality pay is included when determining basic pay.

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