By: Vanessa Craddock
Published: March, 2022
Question: I’m about to retire at the end of the year and was told I should check my OPF before leaving. What should I look for?
Answer: The easy answer is to make sure your personnel records are in order: accurate and complete. This will help expedite the retirement process. Your Official Personnel Folder (eOPF) contains important documents used to determine retirement eligibility and your benefit calculation. While the “Certified Summary of Federal Service” is a form you may request from HR which provides a record of your creditable Federal service, it is your responsibility to confirm its content.
Therefore, these are the key things to look for:
- Retirement System You are Retiring From. Is your Federal service all CSRS, all FERS, or some combination of CSRS, CSRS Offset, and FERS? Mistakes in retirement coverage can delay your retirement process and are best resolved while you are still an employee.
- Total Creditable Federal Service. Check beginning and ending dates for each period of employment which will be used for your retirement benefit computation. Confirm your retirement service computation date (RSCD). There should be SF-50’s to document your civilian service and the DD214/Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty and the Military Service Deposit Election, if military deposit was paid.
- High-3 Average Salary Period. Check the effective dates for each promotion or within grade increase during the period of your high-3 average salary. Have you confirmed which 3 years will be used for your high-3 average salary and the pay rates?
- Deposit Service. Check the dates of pay, and pay rates for periods of work where retirement deductions were not withheld. This is called non-deduction service and may require a deposit for CSRS employees but will require a deposit for FERS employees for non-deduction service that falls prior to January 1, 1989.
- Part-Time Service. If part-time work is documented for CSRS or FERS, confirm hours actually worked. This may require payroll documents if you worked more hours than shown on the SF-50.
- Federal Insurances. Health and Life Insurance enrollment for the last five years immediately preceding retirement should be documented in the OPF on the proper enrollment forms. Federal Dental/Vision and Long-Term Care insurance does not require pre-retirement enrollment.
- Designation of Beneficiary Forms. You may want to confirm your elections or even update them. The SF 3102-for FERS retirement contributions, SF 1152- Unpaid Compensation, and SF 2823 Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance forms are found in the OPF. The SF 2808 for CSRS retirement contributions will not be in the OPF, nor the TSP-3 for Thrift Savings Plan. Completing a new form will update prior elections if necessary.
If you have unverified service, or are missing required documents, contact your HR officer to assist you in correcting the records. Remember, the purpose of the Official Personnel Folder is to document your Federal history, providing information that will be used for personnel processing. What’s more important than ensuring your documentation is ready for retirement?