Buy Back your Military Time
Michigan State Association of Letter Carriers
As one starts preparing for retirement, the first question that usually comes to mind is when and where to begin the process. Since there is a lot of information to absorb, many forms to be concerned with and quite a few decisions to make, all of this has been put into a framework of steps to follow in preparing for retirement.
Here are some steps that should aid in your preparation.
■ At least one year before retirement:
❏ Ascertain when you will be eligible to retire and when you wish to retire. Check with your personnel office regarding any period of service which is necessary to give you title to an annuity at a certain age, but which you are not sure is creditable for retirement purposes.
❏ Gather information about any other pensions or benefits for which you might be eligible (e.g. benefits from Social Security, Veterans’ Administration, pensions from private industry).
❏ Set up an appointment with the HRSSC by calling 877-477-3273 Option 5. They will provide you with individual retirement counseling early enough to allow time to answer any questions you may have or to resolve any problems you may be experiencing. Advance planning will enable you to review your Official
Personnel Folder (OPF) ensuring that your records are complete showing service and all benefit entitlements. This should include information about your health benefits and life insurance coverages. If you are combining your military service, HRSSC needs to verify creditable service time.
❏ Apply to make any deposits for civilian and post-1956 military service if applicable or find out how such service would be credited if deposit is not made.
❏ Make a decision on when and how you wish to receive Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) funds. If applicable, arrange to pay off any TSP loans before retirement to avoid any delays in receipt of TSP distributions. Call
the ThriftLine (877-968-3778) or use website: www.tsp.gov.
❏ Request an annuity estimate, which will help in personal financial planning. This computation will also aid in making decisions about survivor benefits, waiving military retired pay, and paying deposits or redeposits. To further aid your financial planning, estimate the monthly deductions (health benefits, life insurance, taxes, survivor annuity, etc.). Keep in mind that the annuity amount provided by the personnel office is an estimate
only—but hopefully it will be fairly close to the final annuity figure from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).
■ Six months before retirement:
❏ If applicable, decide whether to waive military retired pay.
❏ Clear up any debts owed the Postal Service (e.g. overpaid salary or advance leave).
■ Two to four months beforeretirement:
❏ Notify your supervisor, who will have to make plans and adjust for your absence.
❏ Obtain appropriate retirement application form:
SF 2801, Application for Immediate Retirement under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS); or
SF 3107, Application for Immediate Retirement under the Federal Employees’ Retirement System (FERS)
❏ Decide on the financial institution and type of account you want to receive the direct deposit of your annuity payments.
■ Six weeks before retirement:
❏ Complete and submit the retirement booklet and related forms to:
P.O. Box 970100
Greensboro, NC 27497-0100
As you will note, the package contains several pages of information and instructions—read carefully before filling out the forms. Of course, for some individuals there will be steps in addition to those in this brochure. There are a lot of things to do before retirement, but it is quite manageable if approached in an organized way.
If you were born Your MRA is
Before 1948 55
In 1948 55 and 2 months
In 1949 55 and 4 months
In 1950 55 and 6 months
In 1951 55 and 8 months
In 1952 55 and 10 months
In 1953 through 1964 56
In 1965 56 and 2 months
In 1966 56 and 4 months
In 1967 56 and 6 months
In 1968 56 and 8 months
In 1969 56 and 10 months
In 1970 and after 57
Eligibility for CSRS Retirement
Optional Age Service (years)
Eligibility for FERS Retirement
Immediate Age Service (years)
MRA = Minimum Retirement Age
Additional NALC retirement publications
These NALC retirement booklets and leaflets are available free to members. Contact the NALC Retirement Department for copies. See note of caution.
The publications are also available here in PDF format. Click on the booklet or leaflet to browse it online, right-click and save to download.
This NALC booklet covers Civil Service Retirement System retirement eligibility, credit for
service, types of retirement, survivor elections, the Thrift Savings Plan, health and life insurance,
Covers Federal Employees Retirement System retirement eligibility, credit for service, types of
retirement, survivor elections, Social Security, the Thrift Savings Plan, health and life insurance,
This booklet covers questions spouses or other survivors may have about death benefits. It applies
to survivors under both the Civil Service Retirement System and the Federal Employees Retirement
As one starts preparing for retirement, the first question that usually comes to
mind is when and where to begin the process.
Since there is a lot of information to absorb, many forms to be concerned with and
quite a few decisions to make, all of this has been put into a framework of steps to follow in
preparing for retirement.
This pamphlet outlines some steps that should aid in your preparation.
NALC understands that dealing with matters after someone dies is a necessary task, but often one
which is hard for the bereaved to cope with.
The Retirement Department stands ready to help spouses and other survivors through
the steps they must take to obtain survivor benefits.
This leaflet details the agencies and institutions that must be notified in order for survivors to receive
The days following the death of an active letter carrier can prove to be quite traumatic. Many forms
and notices must be obtained from the Postal Service and completed at this extremely stressful time.
The NALC stands ready to assist our members and their families during these difficult times. The
information in this brochure, prepared as a guide with the letter carrier’s family in mind, contains
data that can assist a survivor with this daunting task.
NALC members can help to ease the burden of their survivors by completing the personal
information section on the back of this pamphlet.
*Caution: The information in these publications is based on the laws, regulations, policies, etc.,
in effect at the time they were published.