Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

Unused sick leave over 41 years 11 months CSRS service

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Q. I have over 41 years 11 months creditable service under CSRS. I also have unused sick leave to take me over the 80% max threshold. I used the chart to convert sick leave hours into months and days (rounding up). Does sick leave just get added to the credible service years, months and days, or is it done separately? Also if it is added to the credible service and the days are dropped, does that mean that I can potentially lose up to a month of sick leave days? If so, should I begin taking sick days when I need them, instead of using annual leave, so I don’t just lose them?

A. First, a warning. You don’t have the right to use sick leave for anything other than the purposes spelled out in law and regulation. Now I can move on to your questions.

Although you have reached the years and full months of service needed to receive the maximum earned annuity, that isn’t the end of the story. Let’s begin with your unused sick leave. At retirement, all those hours will be added to any hours of actual service that weren’t included in your annuity computation. These will be converted into retirement months, with 174 hours, on average, equaling one month. Those additional months aren’t subject to the 80 percent limit. So, for example, if the combination of left over and sick leave hours equaled 2,087, your annuity would be increased by two percent.

Next up. When you reached 41 years and 11 months of service, retirement contributions continued to be taken out of your salary. When you retire, you will have the option of getting a refund of those excess contributions or using it to purchase an additional annuity that also isn’t subject to the 80 percent limit.

Finally, as is true of all retirements, and days or hours that don’t add up to a full month are dropped. That’s the law.

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