If you’re the type of person who has picked ahead a perfect date to retire, and if that date is by the end of this year, it’s time to start counting the days. Take a look at this list with things you should pay attention to as you’re awaiting the day.
Double-check if you have enough cash available to get you covered during that time between your last paycheck and your first retirement check. As sometimes there might be delays, it’s smart to set aside a couple of months’ worth of living costs. Generally, the reason behind building up a balance of unused annual leave is the lump sum payout one will get in the weeks after retirement.
Submit your retirement application 30 to 90 days prior to your retirement date. If your plan is to retire at the end of this year, your application should have already been submitted to your agency’s HR office. Here you have the Civil Service Retirement System and Federal Employees Retirement System application forms. Depending on the circumstances, it might be necessary to attach one or several of the following documents as part of your application:
- Certificate of marriage
- Your current spouse’s notarized consent for partial or no survivor election (not required for full election)
- Divorce decree (if a portion of your FERS retirement or survivor benefits is awarded)
- Military records
- Workers’ compensation pending claims
- Your records of Federal Employees Health Benefits Program coverage under TRICARE or your spouse’s FEHBP coverage
Apply for a TSP withdrawal in case that’s part of your retirement income plan.
Apply for Social Security retirement if you think it’s the right moment. The Social Security Administration has a list of information and documents you might need to apply for benefits.
Keep an eye on your mail for possible matters concerning your retirement processing that may call for immediate action.
Make copies of all fulfilled retirement papers. You should also make copies of any documents from your electronic official personnel file that you won’t be able to access once you leave your agency. These could be beneficiary designation forms, documentation of the start and end dates of your federal service appointments, insurance election forms, files regarding any work schedule changes or retirement coverage, and any other document you think might be valuable for your application.
Even if you don’t have your retirement coming up soon, you should go through this list from time to time, so you don’t get caught by any surprises when the day finally comes.