Recently retired fed gives advice

Monday - 1/31/2011, 12:30pm EST

!FOR_YOUR_BENEFIT_01-31-2011.mp3

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January 31, 2011 -- Recently retired fed Ernest Porter joined co-hosts Bob Leins and Tammy Flanagan to discuss how federal employees should prepare before leaving federal service. Porter worked for the FBI for more than 37 years.

Porter started as a GS-2 working in the mail room. He followed his interest in writing and rose to become head of the FBI's public affairs department.

Thrift Savings Plan

Porter recommends that federal employees put in as much money as they can into the Thrift Savings Plan.

"I'm pretty much a supporter of the L-fund concept. Pick one closest to the year you plan to withdraw the money, not necessarily when you plan to retire," he said.

Interim retirement pay

While the Office of Personnel Management finalizes processing your separation of service, you will receive "interim" payments, which will not be your full annuity.

"What's hurtful for retirees sometimes is getting less money than expected," Flanagan said.

According to OPM, "These payments represent a portion of your final benefit and are usually made on the first business day of each month."

Flanagan said that some federal employees who are planning to retire accumulate their annual leave days in the months or even year before retiring so they can receive a pay-out for the unused annual leave.

Long-Term Care

For the first time since the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP) started eight years ago, OPM is holding an open season, starting in April.

The federal register stated the open season will end in May, but Flanagan said the end date will actually be in June.

Employees and retirees can enroll anytime of the year, not just during the open season. However, during open season, the process is simplified. Enrollees don't have to answer as many health-related questions during open season, Flanagan said.

As Federal News Radio reported previously, employees who are no longer in the workforce must apply under full underwriting, a longer process that requires more proof of their health status.

Pre-retirement checklist

  • Review your personnel records
  • Request a retirement estimate
  • Check into your insurance benefits
  • Update your beneficiary forms
  • Know your true service computation date