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03/24/2012

 

Information Regarding Counting Academy Time to Civil Service Retirement  

From Gordo:  

Dear Classmates,

This may affect some of you but I think it is worthwhile for you all to be aware of it. This is a letter from Bill Schramm regarding retired pay for those who have a civil service retirement. If it doesn't affect you, it may affect a friend  

From Bill Schraam:

After retiring from the Navy and then retiring from the United Nations, I had a third "career" as a GS-15 Federal Civil Service Employee. A friend, also a USNA grad, called me and informed me that my four years at the Academy counted as time in service for purposes of Federal Civil Service employment. I contacted my civilian personnel office and they did not have a clue about this rule in the civil service regulations. When I referred them to the rule they gave me the credit for the 4 years.

I ended up working for the Federal Civil Service for 6 years, but was given credit for 10 years service when I retired. The way the system worked when I retired was 1% of the average of the highest three years pay for each year of service. So those four years at the Academy netted me an additional 4% in my retired pay. The four years credit also changed the way they computed my annual leave so I received more leave sooner.

The rule in the civil service regulations is just a short paragraph that says that time spent at USNA, USMA or the Air Force Academy counts as time in service. (See additional info below re Office of Personnel Management Reference)

The problem is that I don't think many people know about this rule and that applies to both Academy grads and to the people in most civilian personnel offices. We all know when we graduate that time at the Academy does not count towards our military retirement, but no one ever told us about the potential impact on civil service retirement.

I tried contacting the Alumni Association, but they gave me the brush off saying they avoid giving "legal or financial advice". But i can't see how letting graduates know about the existence of this rule can be construed as legal or financial advice.

At our local Alumni Chapter I made a comment about this rule and sure enough there was a USNA grad who was working for the NPS and who was unaware. After I made him aware he went to the civilian personnel office and obtained the credit.

I think there should be some way to get the word out. Perhaps you could speak with the Alumni Association CEO and convince him to pass the word. Another way would be to reach out to all the class Presidents and ask them to pass the word to their classmates.

Additional  OPM Info :

The reference is in the OPM retirement manual titled "CSRS and FERS Handbook for Personnel and Payroll Offices".  CSRS and FERS refer to the older and newer federal civil service retirement programs.  Chapter 22 in the Handbook is titled Creditable Military Service and the section dealing with the Academies is Section 22A2.1.2.B.1 on page 4 of the Chapter.  The Handbook is available on the internet at www.opm.gov.

In general military service can be counted for civil service retirement IF you are not already receiving a military retirement based on that service.  Since we can't include our academy time in our military retirement it is then service that can be credited for civil service retirement.  For anyone who did not stay in the military long enough to retire they can claim their time at the academy in addition to their active duty time if they go to work for the federal government.    

I'll be happy to discuss this with anyone either by email or they can call me at 831 484-9058.  

Regards,  Bill