Are you prepared to live on reduced income until your retirement claim is processed? Those already retired know all about this, they received interim annuity payments until the final adjudication of their retirement. For me personally, it only took three months. I retired on December 31 and my first full annuity payment, with credits for underpayment, was received in early April. My first interim check arrived a little over one month after retiring and my lump sum annual leave payment arrived two weeks later.
New retirees can expect to receive approximately 75 to 80 percent of their estimated annuity. That is a significant reduction and new retirees could wait up to six months or more before their retirement is processed due to backlogs, incomplete retirement applications, and staffing issues. Review my personal timeline  to discover what to expect from OPM and your agency after you retire. OPM’s current backlog chart  shows a range of from 48 to 75 days to process a retirement claim and the average time has decreased to 48 days over the past 2 years.
Fast Track Your Retirement
To avoid retirement processing delays apply for retirement  and submit your application early, several months before your departure date, and confirm that your HR office has reviewed and verified your service record. Not all federal service is creditable  for retirement eligibility or included in your annuity computation. For example and depending on what retirement program you are in, temporary service and active duty military time  may be creditable depending on whether you made a deposit for that service.
Work with HR when completing your retirement application, either the CSRS form SF 3107 or the FERS SF 2801 form . Even small errors can delay processing for extended periods. HR can answer your questions and they have access to your Official Personnel File (OPF) to verify your service. You can also request to review your OPF prior to retiring to confirm that the file has all of your federal service time. I reviewed mine before retiring because I worked for the DOD and the FAA plus served over three years active duty with the U.S. Air force.
Agencies are refusing to accept certain retirement application forms that have corrections on them where the applicant either lined or crossed out the information and annotated the correct information above or beside the correction. Review the forms list and sections  that must be original and not corrected. The PDF fill-in forms are easy to update and you complete them on your desktop computer.
The following articles will also help you make a smooth transition to retirement:
- CAUTION – Do This Before You Retire 
- Selecting Your Retirement Date 
- Strategies for Increasing Your Retirement Annuity and Income 
- Second Careers in Retirement – The Possibilities 
- How to be Financially Prepared When You Retire 
- How to be Emotionally and Physically Prepared When You Retire 
- Annuity Calculator (FREE Excel chart estimates annuity growth)
Request a Federal Retirement Report™  today to review your projected annuity payments, income verses expenses, FEGLI, and TSP projections.
Helpful Retirement Planning Tools / Resources
Distribute these FREE tools to others that are planning their retirement
- Retirement Planning Guide 
- Financial Planning Information 
- Thrift Savings Plan 
- Master Retiree Contact List  (Important contact numbers and information)
- 2018 Leave and Schedule Chart  (Excel chart tracks all leave balances. Use this chart to set target retirement dates.)
Disclaimer: Opinions expressed herein by the author are not an investment or benefit recommendation and are not meant to be relied upon in investment or benefit decisions. The author is not acting in an investment, tax, legal, benefit, or any other advisory capacity. This is not an investment or benefit research report. The author’s opinions expressed herein address only select aspects of various federal benefits and potential investment in securities of the TSP and companies mentioned and cannot be a substitute for comprehensive investment analysis. Any analysis presented herein is illustrative in nature, limited in scope, based on an incomplete set of information, and has limitations to its accuracy. The author recommends that retirees, potential and existing investors conduct thorough investment and benefit research of their own, including detailed review of OPM guidance for benefit issues and for investments the companies’ SEC filings, and consult a qualified investment adviser. The information upon which this material is based was obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but has not been independently verified. Therefore, the author cannot guarantee its accuracy. Any opinions or estimates constitute the author’s best judgment as of the date of publication, and are subject to change without notice. The author explicitly disclaims any liability that may arise from the use of this material.
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