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Old 12-02-2020, 09:14 PM   #21
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Did you start withdrawing at your MRA, or one of the other FERS milestones (60 & 62)? How many years did you have in?
I chose to start collecting when I turned 62, had 14 years of service.
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Old 12-03-2020, 08:03 AM   #22
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A little late to the discussion but Iíll add my experience, I did a deferred FERS retirement last year. Left the Feds about 10 years ago and submitted the paperwork to start collecting my pension in Nov 2019. The FERS paperwork states to submit the required forms 60 days before you want to start collecting so I submitted the forms in Aug 2019. About a month after submitting the forms I hadnít heard anything from OPM, didnít even know if they received them, so placed a call to OPM. Was told they received them but might be 2-3 months before they would get around to reviewing them. Called them again in Dec 2019 and was told it might be April 2020 before they could process it. Received a letter from OPM in early Feb 2020 with my account number and password to access the OPM online web site. About a week later got my first check, it included the money owed back to Nov 2019. Started getting my regular monthly check on 1 March 2020.

I think deferred retirees get pushed to the end of the line when it comes to processing retirement paperwork. Had a friend who retired in Nov 2019 on an immediate retirement and his paperwork went through right away and he received his first check in Dec 2019. The delay wasnít a major issue for me, my pension is relatively small and Iím not dependent on it, just wished the communication was a little better during the start.

I do not trust the government record keeping at all. My official personnel record is (was) missing the first 10 years of my career -now it has scanned copies of *my* documents (I have hardcopies, scanned, and hardcopies at my parent's house) and I really have low faith in the system (and the competence of 80% of the HR workers... the few good HR are saints!). I also have EOY leave and earnings statements and all my W-2s from the start of my career. I expect it to be a cluster when I request my pension but have my documentation. If I were immediately retiring, I could have better access to my current personnel office but after a decade the trail will be cold and I'll be on my own.
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Old 12-03-2020, 11:39 AM   #23
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I do not trust the government record keeping at all. My official personnel record is (was) missing the first 10 years of my career -now it has scanned copies of *my* documents (I have hardcopies, scanned, and hardcopies at my parent's house) and I really have low faith in the system (and the competence of 80% of the HR workers... the few good HR are saints!). I also have EOY leave and earnings statements and all my W-2s from the start of my career. I expect it to be a cluster when I request my pension but have my documentation. If I were immediately retiring, I could have better access to my current personnel office but after a decade the trail will be cold and I'll be on my own.
I always had a pretty good idea how much I would be getting for a pension but prior to submitting my paperwork I tried to get OPM to tell me what my calculated pension would be but their response was they didn't have the time, instead they sent me copies of all my work/pay history and told me to calculate it myself. It appears all of the calculations (length of service, high 3 salary, etc.) are done manually by OPM staff. Seems crazy that the system isn't computerized, it would take a program 2 seconds to spit out the numbers, and with a lot less chance of error. The first time I knew what my exact pension would be was when I received the first monthly check, it was close to what I calculated.
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Old 12-04-2020, 08:22 PM   #24
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My original plan was to retire at 58 with 14 years of federal service -- so the MRA+10 path. But rather than take a 20% reduced pension at 58 (-5% for every year you draw the pension before 62) I was going to take a deferred pension at 62.

Lately though, if the numbers keep working out, I think I may be able to retire before my MRA. I'm now hoping to separate at 55 with 11 years and take the deferred retirement. From what I've read, since I was planning to defer anyway under MRA+10 there isn't much difference in separating before MRA (except in this case there is no choice but to defer). Obviously the number of years will be less also.

BUT, one thing different I have found if you separate before MRA is that your accumulated sick leave will NOT be calculated into your total time. But I don't think getting 2 or 3 months added to my calculation is worth w*rking an extra 2-3 years.

My situation is also different from yours in that I'm retired military and have Tricare so FEHB is not a consideration for me.
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Old 12-04-2020, 09:03 PM   #25
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It appears all of the calculations (length of service, high 3 salary, etc.) are done manually by OPM staff. Seems crazy that the system isn't computerized, it would take a program 2 seconds to spit out the numbers, and with a lot less chance of error. The first time I knew what my exact pension would be was when I received the first monthly check, it was close to what I calculated.
I don't think this is true. OPM uses FACES to compute all those things. There is even a user manual posted on the login screen so you can see what they do. It is fairly extensive and you can see why they don't want to work through it for everyone who randomly requests it. I'm guessing that all the input is manual and they have to sift through the SF-50s.

Most federal employees have access to tools at work (like GRB, EBIS, etc) that provide estimates. There are a hundred different calculators and spreadsheets on the Internet to help you estimate.
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Old 12-05-2020, 11:50 AM   #26
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I don't think this is true. OPM uses FACES to compute all those things. There is even a user manual posted on the login screen so you can see what they do. It is fairly extensive and you can see why they don't want to work through it for everyone who randomly requests it. I'm guessing that all the input is manual and they have to sift through the SF-50s.
I had no idea how they did it but my idea of automated is not requiring someone to enter all your pay/work history manually.
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Old 12-05-2020, 01:18 PM   #27
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Old 12-05-2020, 01:46 PM   #28
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I had no idea how they did it but my idea of automated is not requiring someone to enter all your pay/work history manually.

I am not an apologist for OPM, but the calculation of retirement benefits can be pretty difficult. Employees have breaks in service during their tenure, some may been inadvertently placed in the wrong retirement program thru administrative error upon being hired/rehired, individuals may have moved from a standard Title 5 agency to a FIRREA Organization (which donít adhere to ďnormalĒ CSRS/FERS retirement (and other) benefits, etc. A number of years ago OPM hired a very reputable IT contractor and threw a bunch of money (tens of millions of $) to try and automate the pension calculation process....the project failed primarily due to the complicated rules and regs surrounding Federal pensions. I am not saying the process as is, is acceptable, but I do think it is more the fault of the legislators who created the plans, than the OPM Staff who are trying to administer them.
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Old 12-05-2020, 03:27 PM   #29
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Most federal employees have access to tools at work (like GRB, EBIS, etc) that provide estimates. There are a hundred different calculators and spreadsheets on the Internet to help you estimate.
Were you DoD? I ask because I've never heard of any of those tools! Maybe our HR has access to them and just doesn't allow the rank and file workers access.
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Old 12-05-2020, 04:47 PM   #30
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My situation is also different from yours in that I'm retired military and have Tricare so FEHB is not a consideration for me.
This is us. DW (and I) is(are) retired military so tricare for HC. She started with gov at 40.5 and will punch at 50.5(or shortly there after) so 10 under FERS. She will go with the deferred at 62. Plan is to wait on her SS until 70. My calculations have her at age 70 with military pension, FERS pension and SS pulling in close to 120K.

Back to OP's situation: Obviously you need to solve for HC from RE until 65 and also daily expenses for same start until 62. 72T is an option and taxable.

Good luck.
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Old 12-08-2020, 09:51 AM   #31
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I haven't done it yet, but I am going to retire in 2021 at the age of 52. Probably in November. I will have 30 years in gov't (no breaks, not military) at the time I retire. My MRA is 56 years, 10 months.

I am doing this because I remarried a few years ago, and my DH is quite a bit older. He will turn 65 the month I retire. At that time, he can apply for Medicare, and we will only have to pay COBRA and then ACA for myself. We are willing to to that so we can spend our time together.

He'll also start his pension at that time (non-gov't), as well as SS. I'll start my deferred pension at my MRA.

It is very rare to do what I am doing; but we have the financial capacity to do it, and my time with my DH is more valuable than $. And I actually really like my job. I took a new position in the last few years and run my own division - it is challenging and fulfilling and I help people every day.
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