Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

Sick leave calculation

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Q. If I retire with 27 days of unused sick leave, and I started government service on the sixth day of the month, will that mean that a month of service will be added to my years of service? I understand that anything under one month of sick leave will be dropped, but am unclear about whether the day you started affects the calculation. The chart does not seem to address this.

A. Annuities are calculated using years and full months of service. Any days that don’t add up to a full month are converted to hours and added to any hours of unused sick leave. The total is then converted to retirement months. For annuity computation purposes, approximately 174 hours equals one month. Any hours that don’t add up to a retirement month are dropped.

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Using sick leave

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Q. I am a CSRS employee and have worked about 40 years. I plan to retire by the end of this year. I have about 1,659 hours of sick leave. How many hours of sick leave is equivalent to one service month, so I could plan to use the remaining sick leave and not lose it?

A. Let’s get one thing clear from the beginning. You have no right to burn off your sick leave. It may only be used for legitimate reasons spelled out in law and regulation. If you want a rough estimate of how many hours it takes to make a retirement month, use 174. Note: Annuities are based solely on years and full months of service, so there are usually some stray hours left over. Add those leftover hours of actual service to your hours of sick leave when doing the computation.

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Retirement benefits

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Q. I worked for the federal government from May 1985 to February 2005 as a FERS employee. My remaining annual leave was paid out to me, and I had more than 700 hours of accumulated sick leave. I moved all of my TSP contributions into another fund several years ago. As I plan for retirement, are there any retirement benefits I can receive or can I receive payment for sick leave? I saw in your column: “If you are already off the rolls, you can apply for a refund up to 31 days before your 62nd birthday.” That is fast approaching, and I wonder if there is anything I can recoup. Read the rest of this entry »

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Credit for unused sick leave

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Q. I am considering retiring at the end of this year. I am under CSRS and will have 41 years of service and at least 2,100 hours of unused sick leave when I leave. I’m told that in order for me to get the maximum 80 percent of my retirement, I must meet it in actual years of service and unused leave is not creditable toward that figure to make up the 1 year and 11 months. Is that true? What happens to the unused sick leave if I stay on and work 41 years and 11 months – do I lose that time since I max out at 80 percent? Read the rest of this entry »

Sick leave credit

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Q. Being a rehired annuitant who is receiving both his annuity and the full salary of his position, will I be paid out earned sick leave when I leave federal service? Read the rest of this entry »

Sick leave

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Q. I have an estimate of 13 years, three months and eight days service credit. I have 43 hours of sick leave accrued. I’ll accrue 40 more by retirement. Would I be better off using them as needed for medical appointments as they will not add any time to service credit?

A. Assuming that your numbers are correct, those hours wouldn’t add up to the 174 needed to create an additional month and be used in your annuity computation.

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Service credit and sick leave

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Q. I am a FERS employee with 32 years of service credit. I was in CSRS for 5 years, 10 months and 28 days. I left the government but came back 3 years later as a FERS employee. When I retire I will have 28 days of CSRS service credit and 25 days of FERS Service Credit. Will 7 days of my excess sick leave (56 hours) be applied to my remaining days of 23 to give me an extra month toward retirement?

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Sick leave at retirement

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Q. Is there a limit to how much sick leave you can turn in at retirement?

A. If you mean is there a limit on how much unused sick leave can be used in the computation of your annuity after you meet the age and service requirement so to retire, the answer is no. There isn’t any limit.

Credit for annual and sick leave

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Q. I am currently planning on retiring on May 31, 2014. Will this allow me to me to get my full annual and sick leave earned during the preceding two weeks? Also, will it allow me to be on the annuity rolls starting in June 2014? I currently have 240 hours of annual leave computed through Jan. 11, 2014. Will this leave, along with any annual leave amassed from Jan. 12, 2014, through my retirement date, be combined for buyout purposes? I also will have 1,420 sick-leave hours earned, and I assume that it will be applied to my total longevity, bringing it up by approximately eight months. Read the rest of this entry »

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?
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Leaving federal service

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Q. I am a federal employee (FERS employee from January 1988 to the present) who will likely be leaving federal employment for a private sector position in a different city. What happens to the following:
1. Can I either leave my money in the TSP account or roll it over; in any case, I am not touching the balance until I retire.
2. Am I correct that my retirement annuity freezes until I actually retire and that it would be based on the following calculation — years of service (.26) x the average of the high-3 annual salary?
3. Do I get a lump sum payout for annual leave?
4. Can I get my sick leave back if I return to federal service?
5. I know health care terminates after 30 days. But am I eligible to get any Federal health care after I retire from the private sector?

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Sick leave

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Q. If an employee has sick leave to use or loose before retirement and has a medical appointment, can his or her supervisor disapprove the sick leave for a doctor’s appointment?
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Sick leave payout at retirement

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Q. I am a FERS covered employee and am anticipating retirement in 2018. Will I receive full pay for all of my unused sick and annual leave? Read the rest of this entry »

Leave without pay

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Q. Must you use all of your annual and sick leave before going on leave without pay?

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Retirement date

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Q. What are the differences if my retirement date is Nov. 29, 2014, or Dec. 1, 2014? I will be retiring from the Postal Service as a Level 18 postmaster. I am retiring under CSRS. My service computation date is July 6, 1979. I will be turning 55 on Nov. 16. I have worked continuously at the Postal Service, and I have 1,848.84 hours of accumulated sick leave.

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Sick leave and FERS multiplier

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Q. I am a 59-year-old FERS employee with 33 years of federal service. If I retire in May 2015, four months short of my 62nd birthday, will my 900-plus sick leave hours be used to push my service date past my birthday and therefore make me eligible for the .011 pension multiplier (instead of the .01 multiplier)?

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Sick leave and retirement

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Q. I’m FERS and will have 28 years and nine months in at my minimum retirement age of 56. I have a sick leave balance of 2,819 hours (I’ve never used any sick leave in my whole career). I’m 54 now and will work at least until 56. My sick leave credit will give me more time toward my FERS annuity (approximately 30 years). Does the sick leave give me 30 toward the special retirement supplement if I go at my MRA, or do I need to work until I have 30 years of service, which is three years from now. My hire date is Aug. 2, 1986.

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Special retirement supplement and TSP

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Q. I am looking at retiring in January 2015. I will be 56 years old Oct. 15. I will have 30 years in as of Dec. 24. Waiting until the end of leave year to cash in all available annual leave. I am looking at cashing out my Thrift Savings Plan in a lump sum to pay off all debts. Will that income be considered part of earned income so that the special retirement supplement is reduced?

If so, would it be in my interest to retire at the end of 2014 so that my annual leave hits that year instead of 2015? I will have more than 1,800 hours of sick leave accrued by the end of 2014. Can that be used to offset the age so that I could perhaps retire earlier so that the TSP lump sum is counted in 2014?

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Leave options for cancer diagnosis

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Q. I am completely out of annual leave and sick leave and have recently received a cancer diagnosis. My local human resources department has informed me of two options: voluntary leave transfer program and advance leave request. However, I don’t want to have to worry about losing my job, etc., and may not feel good enough to come back to my old job. What are my options? Are there any disability benefits available to me? What is early retirement for someone like me who is only 48 years old and has eight years of service with the Veterans Affairs Department?

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Unused sick leave, creditable service and annuity computation

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Q. I am planning to retire at the end of pay period 26, which is Jan. 10, 2015. I will have 13 years, 11 months and 20 days of service. I will be 10 days short of 14 years of service. If I have 80 hours of unused sick leave, will that cover the 10 days to get 14 years of service?

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