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Federal Employees Benefits Q &A

Do you have questions about your federal employee CSRS or FERS pension/annuity or federal employee retirement planning? Concerns about your Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) account or what about federal employee pay and leave issues?

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The Q&A forum is moderated by Ed Zurndorfer -- an expert on federal employee benefits -- and a Certified Financial Planner, chartered life underwriter and chartered financial consultant in Maryland.

Zurndorfer is also the author of several federal employee benefits guides published by Federal Employees News Digest.

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wxmn  
#1 Posted : Saturday, August 31, 2019 8:09:02 AM(UTC)
wxmn

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I was planning on retiring on December 31, 2019 (one of those "best days" to retire for a FERS employee). I expect to take a few days of annual leave around Christmas. Then I got to thinking I should just call it quits before the holiday. I don't see much down side other than not maxing out the pay for that pay period. I just want to make sure that if I retire on Mon Dec 23rd, that my AL lump sum payout would still occur in the tax year 2020. Any other downside to leaving earlier than Dec 31st? Thanks for any advice.
Ed Zurndorfer  
#2 Posted : Saturday, August 31, 2019 6:09:50 PM(UTC)
Ed Zurndorfer

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If you retire on Dec. 23, 2019, then you will receive your final pay check (for pay period 25) sometime in early January 2020 and you will receive your lump sum payment for unused annual leave hours in January 2020. But most agencies do not allow employees to retire while on annual leave. In other words, your agency most likely will not allow you to take annual leave on Monday Dec. 23, 2019 and then retire the same day. Also, by retiring on Dec. 23, 2019, you will have to wait longer to receive your first annuity check dated Feb. 1, 2020. This is because whether you retire Dec. 31, 2019 or Dec. 23, 2019, your retirement does not become effective until Jan. 1, 2020 and you do not get your first FERS annuity check until Feb. 1, 2020.
wxmn  
#3 Posted : Sunday, September 1, 2019 5:27:20 AM(UTC)
wxmn

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Thank you, Ed. I work a very nonstandard, rotating schedule and would not take AL on my retirement date. Instead of working a bunch of overnight, 3rd shifts, at Christmas, I may just retire early. I would just absorb that non-pay status for the last week of December. Your forum has been very helpful and insightful over the years. Thanks for your contribution.
Ed Zurndorfer  
#4 Posted : Sunday, September 1, 2019 5:48:44 AM(UTC)
Ed Zurndorfer

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You are most welcome.
cranston  
#5 Posted : Monday, September 2, 2019 11:45:16 AM(UTC)
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Thank you, Ed. Your website, seminars (I went to two), and the forum here are have been extraordinarily helpful.

Correct if wrong -- one theoretically could declare FERS retirement for 31 Dec 19, and take leave thru 30 Dec, and report to work on 31 Dec. If the agency was agreeable.

If one were to pursue this strategy above as wxmn suggests, because the final salary for the last pay period (ending 4 Jan 20) would not be paid out until 10 Jan 20, could one maximize deposit into TSP (but obviously not the agency matching) for that last pay period? Along the same line, if one had remaining annual leave at the end of the year when retiring, can one route that annual leave payout to TSP, in this scenario, also showing up as a 2020 contribution?

And while on the subject of leave payouts, with respect to compensatory time, how is such time dealt with for a retirement payout? I'm sitting on 8 hours of Credit Hours (earned extra hours at workplace) and 40 Travel Comp hours. Are either of these payable if remaining on the books at the time of my retirement?


Ed Zurndorfer  
#6 Posted : Monday, September 2, 2019 1:21:08 PM(UTC)
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Yes, assuming that an agency allows this, an employee could take annual leave until Dec. 30, 2019 and then come to work and retire on Dec. 31, 2019. With the last two pay checks (one for pay period 25 ending Dec. 21, 2019 and other for part of pay period 26) both of which will be dated after Dec. 31, 2019, the retiring employee could maximize his or her TSP contributions. If a retiring employee has any compensatory time hours at the time of retirement, the hours are not paid.
Skorcher  
#7 Posted : Tuesday, September 3, 2019 11:21:12 PM(UTC)
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I retired on 12/31/2017 and was paid for my balance of 24 credit hours earned under a flexible work schedule. The check didn't come until March - much longer than the accrued vacation time payment.
Ed Zurndorfer  
#8 Posted : Wednesday, September 4, 2019 2:12:05 AM(UTC)
Ed Zurndorfer

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Credit hours are paid differently than compensatory hours at most agencies. The question here is being paid at retirement for any compensatory time previously earned.
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