We encourage federal employees on the way to federal retirement to occasionally pause and make sure they are on the correct course. Before a federal employee can be confident that they’re on the right path, consider these statements to affirm retirement readiness.
I have accurately calculated my service history for retirement purposes.
It is possible for you to have multiple Service Computation Dates (SCD). You have an SCD for leave purposes and an SCD for federal retirement purposes. It’s important to know the difference between the two.
Your Leave Service Computation Date is for leave purposes only. Your Retirement Service Computation Date is based on the years of service you receive credit. Service history is the baseline for your federal retirement planning. Having these in place and understanding your service history is critical to retirement planning.
There are three types of service history that can alter your SCD.
- Non-deduction Service
- Refunded Service
- Military Service
This is time when you served in a temporary, seasonal, and sometimes co-op position. By law, you are not typically eligible to pay into the federal retirement system while in this particular position. Because you were not paying into retirement during non-deduction service, you will only receive leave credit for that time. You may have the option to make a deposit for any non-deduction service to receive retirement credit for that service.
If you are unclear about the amount of the CSRS deposit owed, you may complete SF-2803, Application to Make Service Credit Payment. If you are unclear about the amount of the FERS deposit owed, you may complete SF 3108, Application to Make Service Credit Payment. You will be notified of the deposit owed at that time and given the opportunity to make the deposit.
This is period when you worked for the federal government, paid into the retirement system, left the government and later returned to work for the government. This is referred to as a break-in-service. This can alter your SCD. When you leave the federal government, you have the option to take a refund of your federal retirement contributions.
If you are unclear about the of amount of your CSRS redeposit owed, you may complete SF-2803, Application to Make Service Credit Payment. If you are unclear about the amount of your FERS redeposit, you may complete SF 3108, Application to Make Service Payment. You will be notified of the redeposit owed at that time and given the opportunity to make the redeposit. FERS Transfers wishing to make redeposits for refunded CSRS service use the CSRS document.
Let’s set retired military aside because it is treated differently than non-retired military time. Do you have military service in which you did not retire and served as active duty? For example, say you have four years of active duty service. You work for the federal government and received leave credit but not necessarily retirement credit for those four years. You may have the option of making a deposit to buy back those four years to receive retirement towards your federal pension.
If you opt out of buying back your military time, then generally you will not receive credit towards your civilian years of service or federal pension.
Catch-62 states that if you are a CSRS employee who has military service and have not made a deposit and will have 40 credit to be eligible for Social Security at age 62 then your federal annuity is computed twice.
- At initial retirement (including military service)
- Again at age 62 (removing all military service)
To make a deposit for any active duty military time, complete OPM 1515-Military Deposit. Once completed, you may submit this information to your military branch to process.
There are two separate service history forms (depending on your retirement system) that you may complete to make a deposit for any Non-deduction or Refunded service. Make sure that you submit the appropriate forms to your H.R. department.
By submitting service history documents to your H.R. department, of course be patient with them as they will reply within a few months, you will be provided with your Retirement SCD and whether or not you have any deposits or redeposits in which you may buy back.
For more information about calculating your Federal Retirement Service History, view the following video.