Planning for retirement should begin as early as possible. It’s literally never too early, this post will look at what to do one year before 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.
One Year Before Retirement
By one year before your retirement, you should have a firm idea of what your eligibility requirements are for retiring. Being just one year away from retirement is a great time to verify information and documentation.
- Confirm your eligibility for a retirement benefit.
- Pick a retirement date.
- Get information about other benefits you may be eligible for such as a Thrift Savings Plan.
- Tell your supervisor about your proposed date.
- Attend a pre-retirement counseling seminar.
- Make an appointment with your personnel officer to review your Official Personnel Folder so that you can ensure all records are complete and accurate, all service is verified and insurance coverage is documented.
When you check your Personnel Folder, be sure to look for the following:
- Beginning and end dates for each period of employment. This is used to compute your annuity benefit.
- Effective dates for each promotion or within-grade increases. This is used to compute your High-3 salary.
- Dates of pay changes or earnings in pay rate during employment periods when retirement deductions weren’t withheld from your salary.
- Tour of duty during any part-time employment.
- Record of time actually worked during intermittent or “when actually employed” service.
- Documentation of military service dates.
Other important things to review are:
- Review your designation of beneficiary.
- Ensure your records show a complete history of health insurance enrollment for at least five years.
- You personnel officer should review your election opportunities for survivor benefits. If you don’t provide a monthly benefit, your survivor will not be able to continue coverage under the FEHB program.
- You can get paid for any unused leave you have left at retirement.
Six Months Before
The main thing to do during this time is to resolve any employer debts such as outstanding travel advances, overpayments of salary, and/or advanced leave.
Two Months Before
During this time, you should choose your exact retirement date, complete your retirement application, and verify any deposit has been paid for any military service performed after 1956.
It may take up to 8 weeks to process a TSP withdrawal. Plus, they can’t process the withdrawal until they receive notice of your separation.
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.
The final post in this series will look at applying and filing for your retirement.