United States
               Environmental Protection
               Administration And j
               Resources "Manageme
February 1994
Countdown To Retirement
 •  '   '       ...'-  .- ..    -  !' •.  • -   .'••
A Guide "To Effective Participation
In The Retirement Process
                  Prepared by the EPA
          Headquarters Human Resources Division
            Human Resources Management
                                         Printed with Soy/Canola Ink on paperthat
                                         contains at least 50% recycled fiber

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 Countdown to Retirement
A Guide to Effective Participation
    In  the Retirement Process
              The EPA
  Headquarters Human Resources Division
  wishes to acknowledge with appreciation
  Human Resources Management Division,
Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, and
    the Office of Personnel Management
 for their assistance in the preparation of this
   booklet and other retirement materials.


                 Table of Contents
Introduction	1

Abbreviations	2

Useful Telephone Numbers	2

Retirement Eligibility....	3

FERS Minimum Retirement Ages (MRAs)	4

Chapter I:   Preparing to Retire	5

Chapter II:  How HHRD and the Headquarters
            Payroll Office Process Your
            Retirement Application	„...„	9

Chapter III:  How OPM Processes Your
            Retirement Application	„	12

Retirement Computation Information	,...„	15

Thank You and Farewell	„	.16


 Your retirement is one of the most important events in your life, and a successful
 retirement takes careful planning. We in the EPA Headquarters Human
 Resources Division (HHRD) want to assist you in making the process smooth
 and worry free.

 COUNTDOWN TO RETIREMENT provides information and guidance which
 will be helpful to you during the critical year before and for several months after
 your retirement. It discusses how your application for retirement is processed at
 EPA and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). It is designed as a
 general guide. More specific and detailed information is available through your
 retirement counselor.

 Understanding your role and the roles played by EPA and OPM is an essential
part of good retirement planning. A careful study of COUNTDOWN TO
RETIREMENT will be time well spent.

By working closely with HHRD, you can help ensure that your retirement will be
 a satisfying finale to your long and faithful Federal service. We look forward to
 serving you and encourage you to get in touch with us at any time if you have
 questions or need assistance with your retirement plans.
                     LINDA J. WALLACE, Acting Director
                     Headquarters Human Resources Division
February 1994

CSA	Civil Service Annuity
CSRS	Civil Service Retirement System
FEGLI	Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance
FEHB	Federal Employees' Health Benefits
FERS	Federal Employees' Retirement System
HHRD	Headquarters Human Resources Division
IRR	Individual Retirement Record
OFF	Official Personnel Folder
OPM	Office of Personnel Management
TSP	.....Thrift Savings Plan
            Useful Telephone Numbers
EPA Headquarters
      Human Resources Division	202-260-9686
EPA Payroll Office - Employee Assistance	202-260-5116
EPA Benefits Hotline	202-260-3273
OPM Retirement Information Office	202-606-0400
Social Security Administration	1-800-772-1213

                 Retirement Eligibility
   You may retire under CSRS or FERS (as indicated) and receive an
   immediate annuity (except for deferred retirement), if you meet the
minimum age and Federal service requirements as shown in this chart.
Type of
Early Out J
MRA1 >
Service (Yrs)
10 L
18 Mos.
 1. Minimum Retirement Age (See next page for FERS MRAs).

 2. FERS reduced annuity. If you retire at the MRA with at least 10 but less than 30
 '  years of service, your FERS annuity will be reduced at the rate of 5% a year for
   each year you are under age 62, unless you have 20 years of service and your
   annuity begins at age 60 or later.

 3. Only available if EPA is undergoing a major reorganization, reduction-in-force
   (RIF), or transfer of Junction, as determined by OPM.

 4. CSRS reduced annuity.  In cases of early out retirement and discontinued service
   retirement, your CSRS annuity will be reduced by 2% for each year you are under
   age 55.

FERS Minimum Retirement Ages (MRAs)
    Use this chart to determine your minimum retirement age,
             if you are covered by FERS.
If You Were Born..,
Before 1948
In 1948
In 1949
In 1950
In 1951
In 1952
In 1953 through 1964
In 1965
In 1966
In 1967
In 1968
In 1969
In 1970 and after
Your MRA Is..,
55 Years
55 and 2 Months
55 and 4 Months
55 and 6 Months
55 and 8 Months
55 and 10 Months
56 Years
56 and 2 Months
56 and 4 Months
56 and 6 Months
56 and 8 Months
56 and 10 Months
57 Years

                            CHAPTER I
                      Preparing to Retire
The first important step in planning for your retirement is to contact the Headquarters
Human Resources Division (HHRD) for pre-retirement counseling at least a year before
your planned retirement, or as soon as possible after you decide to retire.
This early contact will allow HHRD sufficient time to verify your service history before
you separate from the Federal service. This is especially important if you have service
that was performed at other agencies or service that was not properly documented at the
time it was performed. If all service is not verified before HHRD sends your retirement
package to OPM, the final processing of your application for retirement may be delayed.

The steps outlined below will assist you in preparing for retirement.
 ONE YEAR OR MOKE before your planned retirement date?
    1. Plan to attend an HHRD pre-retirement counseling seminair. C^all 260-9686 for a
      schedule of seminars, or to schedule one for your office. You may also call the
      EPA Institute (202-260-6678) for a schedule of pre-retirement seminars offered
      by OPM or private sector contractors.
    2. Make an appointment with the Processing and Records Group (202-260-3285) to
      review your Official Personnel Folder (OPF).
    3. Make a list of all periods of your Federal service. Include the service beginning
      and ending dates and the name and location of each agency.

4. List the contributions to retirement you made at each Agency where you were
  employed. This is necessary if you are eligible to elect the alternative form of
  annuity and choose to do so.
            NOTE: The alternative form of annuity is a reduced annuity with a
            lump-sum payment of your retirement contributions. It is available
            until October 1,1994, for discontinued service retirements. It is not
            available for voluntary, early out, or disability retirements.

  If you do not have this information, and you are more than six months from
  retirement, you may request it from: Office of Personnel Management;  Retirement
  Operations Center; Boyers, PA 16017; Attn: Retirement Section (CSRS or FERS
  - identify the retirement system under which you are covered)  . If you are within
  six months of retirement, talk to your counselor instead of writing to OPM.

5. Provide to your retirement counselor a record of your account statement
  (RI36-23) for deposit and redeposit payments made to OPM, if applicable.

6. With your retirement counselor, make sure your OFF includes  official
  documentation of the following:

         •  Service dates for all your Federal employment.

         •  Effective dates for each adjustment to your pay or tour of duty.

         •  A record of time worked under part-time or  intermittent appointments.

         •  Documentation (for example, form DD-214) of any  military service.

         •  Current designation of beneficiaries for life  insurance (SF-2823), Thrift
            Savings Plan (TSP-3), and FERS (SF-3102).

         •  Thrift Savings Plan election forms (TSP-1).

         •  Health benefits (SF-2809) and life insurance election (SF-176 and
            SF-2817) forms.
            NOTE: If you were not continuously enrolled for the 5 years of service
            immediately preceding the date your annuity commences (or  from your
            first opportunity to enroll), you CANNOT continue your health benefits
            or life insurance coverage into retirement. (Federal  health benefits
            coverage as a family member counts toward the 5-year continuous
            enrollment requirement,)

           •   Verification that you meet the age and service requirements (and any
               other applicable requirements) for retirement on your proposed
               effective date.                                i
  7. Bring to the attention of your retirement counselor any documentation missing
     from your OFF and ask if HHRD can obtain it.  If you need to request other
     documentation, your counselor will advise you of the procedure. All service
     periods and insurance coverage(s) should be verified and documented before
     HHRD submits your retirement package to OPM. Otherwise, the final processing
     of your retirement application may be delayed until the missing documentation is
     obtained.                                              |
  8. Request estimated annuity computations. These estimates are especially important
     if you need to make a decision about paying a civilian or military deposit or
     redeposit, or waiving military retirement pay.             |

  9. If applicable,  request advice from your retirement counselor on making deposits/
     redeposits for:
           •   Post-1956 military service.                    I

           •   Civilian service for which no  retirement contributions were withheld
               from salary (nondeduction service).            }

           •   Civilian service under CSRS for which you have received a refund of
               retirement contributions.  Civilian service under CSRS for which a
               redeposit is made is creditable toward retirement.  (Civilian service
               under FERS for which you have received  a refund of retirement
  ;             contributions is not creditable toward retirement, and no redeposit may
               be  made.)                                    j

               NOTE: Military service deposits must be  made to EPA before your
               retirement is finalized. Civilian service deposits for nondeduction
               service and redeposits for refunded service must be made to OPM for
               those services to receive full retirement credit. Yc>ur retirement
               counselor will explain the service credit rules and the effect of the
               alternative annuity option on the payment of civilian service deposits/
               redeposits.                                  i
SIX MONTHS before your planned retirement date:
  10. If you are receiving military retirement pay, ask your retirement counselor for
     information on the effect this benefit will have on your annuity.  Generally, if you

     are receiving military retirement pay, your military service is not creditable under
     CSRS or FERS.

     If you wish to waive your military retirement pay to receive credit for military
     service, write to your Military Finance Center at least 90 days before your planned
     retirement date. Ask your retirement counselor for assistance in selecting the
     correct effective date for the waiver.

     Attach a copy of your waiver request and any response from the Military Finance
     Center to your application for retirement.

  11. Clear up any financial indebtedness to EPA.

FOUR MONTHS  before your planned retirement date: \

  12. Contact your HHRD retirement counselor and obtain all necessary retirement

  13. Complete the retirement application and related forms. Failure to complete any
     form that may be required in your case may cause HHRD or OPM to delay the
     final processing of your application. Your retirement counselor will assist you
     and answer any questions you may have.

  14. Submit all forms to HHRD four weeks before your retirement date, and advise
     your supervisor of the date.

               Note: Keep copies of all forms for your reference.

                        CHAPTER II
  How HHRD and the Headquarters Payroll

 Office Process Your Retirement Application

Headquarters Human Resources Division

The processing of your retirement application begins at the Headquarters Human
Resources Division. Your retirement counselor will check your G>PF or its equivalent to
ensure that you meet the age and service requirements for retirement and for
documentation of any insurance coverages you may be eligible to continue.

Your counselor will prepare a Certified Summary of Federal Service which lists your
verified Federal civilian and military service. You will then review the Certified
Summary for completeness and accuracy before signing it. HHRD will also take the
following actions, if applicable in your case:

   1. Certify your Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance coverage to OPM, if you
     are eligible to continue this coverage into retirement.

   2. Transfer your Federal health benefits enrollment to OPM, if you are eligible to
     continue this coverage into retirement.

   3. Process the Personnel Action necessary to separate you from the Federal service.

   4. Complete  and certify the HHRD portion of your retirement application and the
     Agency Checklist of Immediate Retirement Procedures.

After HHRD completes its actions, your application and related records will be sent to
EPA's Headquarters Payroll Office.

Headquarters Payroll Office

When it receives your retirement package from HHRD, the Headquarters Payroll Office
will perform the following:

    1. Authorize your final salary payment and a lump-sum payment for any unused
      annual leave you may have after you separate for retirement.

    2. Certify and close out your Individual Retirement Record (IRR), which is the
      official record of your Federal service.

      The IRR reflects your EPA retirement contributions for your current service, pay
      rates, unused sick leave credit for civil service retirement purposes, last day of
      pay, date and type of separation, and any other information necessary for OPM to
      determine your retirement benefits. Because the IRR must include your total EPA
      retirement contributions, it cannot be closed out until your final salary check has
      been issued.

    3. Complete its portion of the Agency Checklist of Immediate Retirement Procedures.

    4. Certify your annual basic pay for life insurance purposes, if applicable.

Register of Separations and Transfers

After completing all the actions necessary in your case, the Payroll Office will forward
your retirement package on a Register of Separations and Transfers to:
OPM; Retirement Operations Center; Boyers, Pennsylvania 16017.

The Payroll Office will send you a notice which provides the following information
about the Register on which your retirement package was sent to OPM:

            •  The Register number.

            •  Transmittal and mailing dates.

            •  Your Payroll Office number.


Under OPM's current standards, EPA is expected to complete all processing and forward
your retirement package to OPM within 30 days after you separate.
                      Disability Retirement

            Applications for disability retirement are processed
             differently from the retirements described above.

                    If you are retiring on disability,
               see your retirement counselor for assistance.

If your annuity begins on or after October 1, 1993, and before October 1, 1994, and you
elect the alternative annuity, you may choose to receive your lump-sum payment(s) of
retirement deductions in one of three ways:

    1. You may receive it all in one lump sum.

    2. You may receive it in two installments as follows: A first installment of 50% of
      the lump sum soon after OPM receives your election, and a second installment of
      50% of the lump sum, plus interest, on the first business day of the month that is
      12 months after the month in which your annuity begins.

    3. You may roll over the taxable portion of the lump sum to an IRA and continue to
      defer taxes. The portion already taxed may be paid to you directly.  OPM will
      advise you of the taxable and already-taxed portions.

Timetable for Annuity Payments

OPM usually completes the final adjudication of fully documented claims within 55 days
from the date it first receives the retirement package from the Payroll Office.  Of course,
the processing time for each case will vary with the time a retiree takes to make the
annuity election and the completeness and accuracy of the retirement package submitted
to OPM.  Interim payments will continue until your claim is adjudicated.

After your claim is adjudicated, OPM will send you an Annuity Statement and other
informational material concerning your retirement benefits.

If you have questions concerning the status of your application for retirement, you may
call OPM's Retirement Information Office at (202) 606-0400.  However, you should not
call them until EPA has sent your retirement package to OPM.
         We in the EPA Headquarters Human Resources Management
          Division hope this booklet has been helpful to you. We have
         tried to make it comprehensive without overwhelming you with
          too much detail. There is more to know and do, but don't be
           concerned. Our retirement counselors are experienced and
           knowledgeable, and they will expertly lead you through the
           entire retirement process. We look forward to helping you.
                       Call us anytime  (202) -260-9686.

     Retirement Computation Information
 Please complete this chart before your appointment with your retirement
counselor. If you cannot find some of the information, your counselor will
                   tell you how to obtain it.
Name 	.	
Desired Date of Retirement 	
Type of Retirement (Circle)
  Voluntary  RIF  MRA  MRA+10
Current Sick Leave Balance	
 Date	._	
  Mail Code __
 Alternate Date
Disability  Discontinued Service
           (Circle the Appropriate Response)
Retirement System
Post-1956 U,S, Military Service
If yes, dates of service (if known) : to
Prior Federal Civflian Service
If yes, total contributions for that period (if known) : $
TSP Participant
FEGLI Coverage
FEHB Coverage
Part-time Service
Temporary Service
Refunded Service
If yes, redeposit made
Survivior Annuity Desired
L_ N°

 Thank you for your service to the
Environmental Protection Agency
            and the
    United States of America.

  Our best wishes go with you.

if    I

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