COMMENTARY - Thinking of retirement: Steps DOD civilians need to follow

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By Staff Reports, Anniston CPAC Office

When Army civilians think about retirement there are several steps individuals should follow.

1. Confirm your retirement eligibility date.

You can do this by reviewing your personal statement of benefits. Your personal statement of
benefits can be located by accessing the Employee Benefits Information System, via the Army Benefits Center—civilian website.

The direct website address for EBIS is: www.ebis.army.mil/.

If you believe the reflected retirement eligibility date is not correct, contact an ABC-C benefits specialist at (877) 276-9287.

2. Obtain a retirement estimate.

It’s recommended that you obtain a retirement estimate when you are one to five years from your planned retirement date.

Instructions for obtaining a retirement estimate can be found at: www.abc.army.mil/HowDoI/RequestaRetire mentEstimate.htm.

3. Review your electronic official personnel folder.

This review will ensure your entire civilian federal work history is reflected accurately. Notify your servicing Civilian Personnel Advisory Center human resources specialist if you find any discrepancies within your eOPF.

4. Confirm which periods of your federal service, if any, can be bought back.

Employees who served on temporary appointments in the federal government, had a break in federal service during their civilian careers or who have served in the military should contact ABC-C for assistance to determine whether it would be advantageous to buy the time back. This may impact your retirement eligibility date and/or the amount of your annuity.

5. Watch an online ABC-C retirement briefing.

Check the ABC-C website at: www.abc.army.mil/retirements/RetDCS_Army.html for updates on the fiscal year 2017 retirement briefing schedule.

Participants will become familiar with the requirements for retirement eligibility, consequences of not making a deposit/redeposit, survivor annuity elections, eligibility for continuing federal health and life insurance coverage and the process for submitting a retirement application.

The briefing lasts approximately four hours. Be sure to get your supervisor’s approval to watch.

6. The Thrift Savings Plan website offers great resources and tools.

The retirement income calculator, which can assist you with achieving your retirement financial goals, and other tools and resources are located at: www.tsp.gov/PlanningTools/index.html.

7. Get familiar with the ABC-C website

More information on retirement planning can be found on the ABC-C website at www.abc.army.mil/retirements/PlanningFor Retirement.htm.


Are you a current civilian employee in a permanent or term position who previously served in a branch of the armed forces?

If so, you should consider obtaining a military buyback estimate to determine if it would be advantageous for you to buy those years of military service, so they can count toward your future civilian retirement under the Civil Service Retirement System or Federal Employees Retirement System.

Below are the five steps to obtain a military buyback estimate.

Step 1: Complete the RI 20-97, estimated earnings during military service form, and send it to the appropriate military finance center, with a copy of all DD Forms 214. Go to the following Defense Finance and Accounting Services site to view a list of military finance centers: www.dfas.mil/civilianemployees/customerservice.html#Military.

Step 2: Upon receipt of the completed RI 20-97 from the appropriate military finance center, complete the SF 2803 (for employees covered under CSRS) or
SF 3108
(for employees covered under FERS), application to make service credit payment. Mail the application (the SF2803 or SF3108) along with the completed RI 20-97 and your DD Forms 214 to: Army Benefits Center—Civilian, 305 Marshall Ave., Fort Riley, KS 66442-5004.

Step 3: ABC-C will receive the application, review it for accuracy, calculate an estimate of the amount of the military deposit and send it to DFAS. You will receive a notice from eOPF that your military deposit estimate has been uploaded into your official personnel folder You may then log into eOPF to view the amount of your military deposit. Also, the amount of the owed deposit will be reflected in block 20 of your leave and earnings statement.

Step 4: When you receive confirmation of your completed military deposit calculation, you may make arrangements with DFAS to pay the deposit. Details on the available payment options may be viewed at www.abc.army.mil/retirements/FERSPost56.htm.

Step 5: Once your military deposit has been paid in full, you will need to request proof of payment. Contact the Fort Knox payroll office to request the proof of payment. When the proof of payment is received, provide a copy to your servicing human resources specialist to file in your official personnel folder.

More detailed information on the military buyback process may be found at: www.abc.army. mil/retirements/CSRSPost56.htm or www.abc.army.mil/retirements/FERSPost56.htm.