It’s Never Too Early to Begin Planning for Retirement- Applying

Apr 21, 2017

Applying for retirement

Planning for retirement should begin as early as possible. It’s literally never too early, this post will look at the process of applying for retirement. Knowing the deadlines and requirements will greatly reduce stress as you move into this phase of your life. Contributing to a Thrift Savings Plan as early as possible is especially important; however, there are also other things to consider such as life insurance, health coverage, service history, and more.

This three-part blog series will look at retirement planning five years out, one year out, and the process of applying.

Process of Applying

Once you’ve picked a date for retirement, ensured all your service dates are correct, and elected survivor benefits, it’s time to start the process of applying for retirement.

If you are still working, you will submit your application to your employer. If you have been separated for more than 30 days, your application will go directly to OPM.

Both your personnel and payroll office in your agency are responsible for processing your application.

Personnel Office Process

  • They will complete the “Agency Checklist for Immediate Retirement Procedures” (Standard Form 2801, Schedule D for CSRS and Standard Form 3107, Schedule D for FERS).
  • Prepare and obtain your signature on the “Certified Summary of Federal Service” (SF 2801-1 for CSRS or SF 3107-1 for FERS).
  • Verify any service not fully documented in your Official Personnel Folder. If your personnel office is unable to verify, OPM will do so, but this could create delays in processing.
  • Certify and transfer your coverage under Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance to OPM.
  • Transfer enrollment under Federal Employees’ Health Benefits program to OPM.
  • Prepare SF 50, “Notification of Personnel Action”.
  • Send all retirement materials to your payroll office.

Payroll Office Process

  • Authorize final paycheck and lump sum payment for unused annual leave.
  • Prepares your “Individual Retirement Record”, SF 2806 for CSRS or 3100 for FERS, which reflects service, salary history, and annual retirement contributions.
  • Forwards all retirement documents to OPM.

OPM Process

When OPM receives your application, they will notify you and provide you with a 7-digit civil service claim number.

  • They obtain any missing information from your retirement documents.
  • Determine your eligibility for annuity and continued health and life insurance coverage.
  • Computes the amount of your annuity.
  • Sends you materials concerning survivor benefit election, an alternative form of annuity, rollover to an IRA, and if you are a FERS MRA+10 retiree, your annuity start date.
  • Authorizes your annuity payment which is paid by the Department of Treasury.
  • Sends you an annuity statement.

OPM could take months to process your retirement application so be sure it’s correct before sending. If they must contact you regarding elections or missing information, this will cause delays in an already lengthy process.

In the event that an injury or illness affects your job duties and you can no longer work, you may be eligible for a federal disability retirement. Of course, there is no way to plan for this happening, however knowing your options should this arise can help you plan for your next steps. Our team at Harris Federal Law Firm can help you if you find yourself in a situation like this. Please give us a call at 877-226-2723 or fill out this inquiry form for a FREE consultation.

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