Reg Jones Expert's View

It’s August and we’re on the slope toward the end of the year when the largest number of employees retire. If you think you’ll be one of them, it would be a good idea for you to sit back and think about the all jobs you’ve had since you began working. It may surprise you but there are more than a few that can be added to your regular CSRS or FERS employment and be used in the computation of your annuity.

To find out what service is creditable, go to 5 U.S. Code 8332. Just be aware that Section 8332 isn’t a quick read. That’s because it covers a multitude of different jobs. Among them are active duty service in the armed forces, substitute postal carrier work, service with Peace Corps and Vista, volunteer service under the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, and employment as a Capitol guide. Further, some of these periods of service are creditable only within specific times.

Once you have a clearer picture of which parts of your work history might be creditable, look at your Official Personnel Folder—in some cases, it’s still available only in paper form through your personnel office. That way you can make sure it contains every bit of service for which you can get credit. If something is missing, you’ll want to make sure that it’s added.

Note: If no retirement deductions were taken from your pay for that additional service, you may need to make a deposit to the Civil Service Disability and Retirement Fund. Your personnel office can tell you how to do that.

By the way, you can also get credit for employment covered by another federal retirement system, such as TVA or the Foreign Service, as long as you aren’t receiving retirement benefits for that time under the other system. To get credit for that time, you’ll have to get a refund of your contributions and deposit it, with interest, in the retirement fund.

A word to the wise: Get your federal service record in order now. Don’t put it off until you’re ready to retire. Waiting until the last minute can not only keep you from getting credit for some service but can also delay your first annuity payment until your work history is sorted out. And these days, with processing times being what they are, that delay might be a long, long one.