Early Out

Forms, Handbooks Manuals
Converting Unused Sick Leave Chart

Publication 164-Compensation, Relocation Benefits, and Reinstatement Policies for Career Employees

SF 2801 Application for Immediate Retirement (CSRS)
SF 3107 Application for Immediate Retirement (FERS)
OPM 1510 Certification of Agency Offer of Position (for Discontinued Service Retirement)
OPM 1515 Military Service Deposit Election
A complete list of forms in electronic format is available at www.opm.gov/forms/.

Read all  the latest information on 2008 Early Out (VER)  HERE 
Burrus Update: Employees Have Until Oct. 27 to Make Final Early-Out Decisions -This differs from information in Update #8-03, issued June 4, which was based on information provided to us by the Postal Service at that time. 9/9
Voluntary Early Out Information-Memos, Legal Issues, Reshaping Workforce, Explanation of VER Timeline and more.....all in web format. 8/28
USPS Vice President Labor Relations Anthony J. Vegliante's MEMO on clarification of Early Out. ETs, MPEs or Maintenance above Level 5  are not eligible. "In addition, currently there is a moratorium on involuntarily reassigning APWU employees beyond 50 miles. If your only recourse to fill a position is through an involuntary reassignment beyond 50 miles or a new hire, then a VER cannot be allowed. 8/21

Burrus Update: APWU Seeks Expedited Arbitration on Early Outs-The union has initiated a national-level grievance protesting management's instructions regarding voluntary early retirements, which indicate that some APWU-represented employees may be excluded from offers for "early outs."

Copy of Early Out Packet| USPS/APWU Early Out Agreement

USPS "Pumps Up the Volume" on Early Out Retirement Preparation-

USPS COO & VP Patrick Donahue's widely circulated Memo: Use of VER 

VER "Statement of Interest" Letters Begin Trickling into Mailboxes -7/19
USPS : Some APWU-represented employees will get a chance to retire sooner-Over the next week, employees who meet the eligibility requirements will receive a "statement of interest" package containing a letter explaining the voluntary early retirement offer, a summary of benefits and leave provisions under voluntary early retirement, frequently asked questions and a statement of interest form. Eligible employees interested in voluntary early retirement must complete and return the statement of interest form by close of business Aug. 5, 2003. The form is simply a statement of interest. It doesn't commit the employee to retire and it doesn't mean that the employee will receive an offer of voluntary early retirement. USPS News Online 7/15
Burrus: Time Line Set for APWU Early-Out Eligibility -I have been provided a draft copy of the letter to be sent to all APWU-represented employees who have been identified as eligible for voluntary early retirement.  The initial letter is not an offer for Voluntary Early Retirement, but a means for employees to indicate their interest in early retirement 7/2
General Time Line Set for Early outs----Letter to USPS from OPM --6/20
OPM Notifies APWU: Early Outs Approved-The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has informed the union that the Postal Service’s Jan. 23, 2003, request for authority to offer Voluntary Early Retirement to APWU-represented employees has been approved.  6/16

CSRS Early Out Computation Estimates

SF 2801  Application for Immediate Retirement (CSRS)

SF 3107  Application for Immediate Retirement (FERS)

OPM 1515  Military Service Deposit Election

Burrus Update: OPM Approves Early Retirement Rules-

Personnel Agency Forwards Regulations to OMB for Final Approval- 6/4

USPS Retirement Manual-EL-502-(pdf) |USPS/APWU Early Out Agreement

Early Retirement Info | BRING ON THE EARLY OUT ! Discussion

Switching to Part-Time Late in Career Can Trim Size of Retirement Annuity

The Ins and Outs of Federal Buyouts -The new reshaping buyout authority was signed into law late last year. It is part of the Homeland Security Act, Public Law 107296, section 13-13a. That's the law that authorized them. It's for real.  by Mike Causey 5/9
SPECIAL Early Retirement News FROM postalreporter :  postalreporter has received communication from OPM regarding the Postal Service's request for early out retirement authority 5/1/03
Feds/Postal Workers should know magic day to obtain best retirement pay- Picking the best day to retire can save federal and postal workers a lot of money in taxes and increase the cash-in value of their unused annual leave (vacation) by thousands of dollars.
Mike Causey 4/29/03
Poster in postalreporter Early Our Discussion Forum contacts OPM

Cholesterol Dan #773 -04-28-2003 11:37 AM ET (US) FLASH: I just got off the phone with OPM. I talked to a mid-level manager. He told me that Post Office management did put in a request in January to offer early outs, but that THE OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT TURNED IT DOWN! He went on to say that they are expecting the Post Office to submit another request more to OPM's liking in late May to early July. At that point, OPM might or might not accept the new request. He said that the APWU was told LONG AGO to take misinformation off their web site, but refused. In particular, the April 1 date, and the statement that early-outs are promised, particularly offend OPM

USPS: Limited Early Out would not have precluded anyone else's  Retirement-The Homeland Security Act, which President Bush signed into law in November, modified procedures for the approval of agency requests for buyouts and early retirements. Under the new rules, agencies can now offer early outs for restructuring. Early outs had been available only for downsizing. Postal Service spokesman Gerry Kreienkamp said the proposal was a way to begin at least some early outs until the new regulations are printed. The limited early outs would not have precluded anyone else’s retirement, Kreienkamp said. Those interested in taking early outs must do so by the end of the fiscal year. Workers will not be offered incentives to take early retirement.  Federal Times 4/15

Burrus Update: Early Retirements Delayed, Pending Publication of New Regulations-4/4
USPS Pushes for Early Retirements-The way to apply for early retirement has not yet been decided, said APWU spokeswoman Sally Davidow--Federal Times 1/28
USPS Requests  Early Out  Retirement Authority- USPS seeks to offer “early outs” to APWU-represented employees from April 1 through Sept. 30, 2003- Incentives is not included in the request -APWU 1/27/03
New Buyout Rules On The Way-Buyout and early retirement rules will change dramatically next month. The authority is contained in section 13-13 (A and B) of the new law.
For more information on FERS Retirement Eligibility click here

click  here  Retirement for more retirement information

American Postal Workers Union - EARLY OUT Guide

RUMOR-(meaning nothing official as yet) Early Out Retirement: USPS has requested voluntary early retirement authority from the Office of Personnel Management. However, there are some issues concerning the request for a "blanket" early out for all APWU bargaining unit employees. OPM is requiring early out retirement be offered to employees by areas. After each area identifies which positions can be eliminated --they will forward the list to USPS Headquarters. Once these issues have been resolved, it is likely that USPS will obtain voluntary early retirement authority. But the "blanket" offer to all APWU covered employees is supposedly dead in the water. Plant Consolidations/Closings: The plan to close/consolidate offices has been put on hold until after the report from the Presidential Postal Commission which is due July 31, 2003.USPS Retail Services: The Postal Service is trying to reduce Retail Services at stations and replace them with contract offices. The push by USPS continues in an effort to eliminate window clerks- see previous article on reducing workforce Overtime/FMLA: As previously reported the Bush administration is proposing to modify Overtime and the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) postalreporter 2/22/03
Auburn Wa. APWU Vice President Don Cheney offers helpful tips
Facing excessing?  For information on relocation benefitsreinstatement policies, severance pay and more, see USPS Publication 164. 
If you were hired into the Postal Service on or after October 1, 1982, no credit will be given for your military service after 1956 if you fail to make the necessary deposit BEFORE you retire.  Vets hired before that date are subject to Catch-62.  For a detailed explanation of what military service is creditable for retirement, see http://www.opm.gov/asd/hod/pdf/C022.pdf.  For more information on making a deposit for military service, see http://www.opm.gov/asd/hod/pdf/C023.pdf.
Did you switch from CSRS to FERS during the open season in 1998?  If so, to avoid the Government Pension Offset, you must complete FIVE years of service under FERS before you retire.
Are you a FERS-covered employee thinking of retiring early?  Remember that the Retiree Annuity Supplement won't start until you are age 55 to 57 (depending on your year of birth).  Unlike CSRS, a FERS annuitant has to wait until age 62 to start getting annual COLA increases.
One of the best resources on retirement is the CSRS and FERS Handbook for Personnel and Payroll Offices published by the Office of Personnel Management.  Anyone with retirement questions will find it very helpful.  It is posted online at http://www.opm.gov/asd/htm/hod.htm.  One of the best websites with helpful information is Lu's News & Views at http://www.postalreporter.com/.  Lucille Caldwell is a member of the APWU, East Bay Area Local in California, and welcomes your submissions.
Don Cheney
Vice President
Auburn, WA Local
Editor's note: I have received many e-mails about the article below concerning errors in the article on FERS eligibility for retirement. Don Cheney of the Auburn Washington Local has granted permission to post his response to the article. 1/13/03
There are two serious errors in the article by John R. Smith published in the American Postal Worker magazine for January/February 2003 (pages 32-33).  He wrote:
FERS Employees: If you are enrolled in the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), you must be at least 55 years old and have at least 10 years of service to be eligible for Voluntary Early Retirement. Your annuity will be reduced by 5 percent for each year you are younger than 62 when you retire. The one-out-of-two rule does not apply to FERS employees.
That paragraph is true for a MRA + 10 Retirement only
For either a Voluntary Early Retirement (see or a Discontinued Service Retirement ( the age and service requirements for CSRS and FERS employees are the SAME, except for the "one-out-of-two" rule.
For a FERS-covered employee retiring under either a Voluntary Early Retirement or a Discontinued Service Retirement, there is NO reduction of their annuity due to age.  However, the FERS Special Retirement Supplement (see  won't start until MRA (age 55 to 57 depending on the person's year of birth).  The FERS supplement is reduced for excess wage earnings in a year (defined as over $11,520 in 2003).  Unlike CSRS, FERS annuitants have to wait until age 62 to start getting annual COLA increases.
An excellent resource on retirement is the CSRS and FERS Handbook for Personnel and Payroll Offices published by the Office of Personnel Management.  Anyone with retirement questions will find it very helpful, although a bit technical.
Don Cheney
Auburn, WA Local

Revised Jan./Feb. American Postal Worker Retirees Article

APWU 1/14/03

Early Retirement Options

Under federal law, federal agencies, including the Postal Service, cannot grant Voluntary Early Retirement opportunities to their employees without approval from the Offices of Personnel Management. In recent years, OPM has sometimes granted Voluntary Early Retirement authority to help agencies restructure or "downsize" their workforce.

Voluntary Early Retirement

CSRS Employees: If you are covered under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), you must be at least 50 years old and have at least 20 years of federal service (including military service) to be eligible for Voluntary Early Retirement, or you may retire at any age if you have at least 25 years of federal service.

Your annuity payments will begin as soon as you retire, but they will be reduced by 2 percent for each year that you are younger than 55 at the time you retire.

Under either of the conditions above, you must have at least five years of creditable service under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), and you must have been in a pay status for at least one of the two years immediately preceding your retirement (also known as the "one-out-of two rule").

  CSRS EARLY OUT COMPUTATION ESTIMATES (Estimates Based on Retiring During the First Pay Period of January 2003)  

source: APWU

CSRS Early Out Computation Estimates

(Estimates based on retiring during the first pay period of January 2003)

Level/Step High 3


55 Years Old - 30 Years of Service

Annual $22,539 $23,059 $24,245 $25,635
Monthly $1,878 $1,922 $2,020 $2,137
There is a 2% reduction in the annuity for every year the employee is under 55 years of age.
52 Years Old - 30 Years of Service - 6% reduction
Annual $21,186 $21,675 $22,790 $24,097
Monthly $1,765 $1,806 $1,899 $2,008
50 Years Old - 30 Years of Service - 10% reduction
Annual $20,285 $20,753 $21,820 $23,071
Monthly $1,690 $1,729 $1,899 $2,008
50 Years Old - 20 Years of Service - 10% reduction
Annual $13,073 $13,374 $14,062 $14,868
Monthly $1,089 $1,115 $1,172 $1,239
55 Years Old - 25 Years of Service
Annual $18,532 $18,959 $19,935 $21,078
Monthly $1,544 $1,580 $1,660 $1,756
The example below shows how the calculations were done. 53 Years Old - 25 Years of Service
2% X 2 (difference between ages 55 and 53) = 4% reduction
  $18,531 $18,959 $19,934 $21,077
  X.04 X.04 X.04 X.04
  $741 $758 $797 $843
  $18,531 $18,959 $19,934 $21,077
  -741 -758 -797 -843
Annual $17,791 $18,201 $19,137 $20,234
Monthly $1,483 $1,517 $1,595 $1,686

FERS Employees: If you are enrolled in the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), you must be 50 years of age with 20 years of service or have 25 years of service regardless of age to be eligible for voluntary early retirement or discontinued service annuity. There is no age penalty for a FERS employee requesting either of these retirement opportunities.

'Discontinued Service' Retirement

Employees who are "involuntarily separated" may be entitled to what is known as Discontinued Service Retirement, which provides immediate, but possibly reduced annuities. The following are the most common circumstances under which employees may be considered "involuntarily separated" and become eligible for Discontinued Service Retirement:

  • Reductions-in-Force (RIFs);


  • Positions abolished, or agency lacks funding for certain positions;


  • Excessing, reassigning, or transferring job functions to a facility outside an employee's commuting area;


  • Transfer of function outside the commuting area;


  • Expiring appointments of workers hired for limited terms of service;


  • An employee's failure to continue to meet qualification requirements for his or her position (provided that the separation is non-disciplinary and the separation is initiated by the agency);


  • Separation during probation due to performance (not misconduct).

    Employees facing involuntary separation may be eligible for Discontinued Service Retirement unless they are being separated for "cause" _ such as poor performance, misconduct or delinquency.

    CSRS Employees: Under Discontinued Service Retirement, CSRS employees are eligible to start receiving annuities immediately, but the annuities may be reduced if you are younger than 55.

    If you are an involuntarily separated CSRS employee, you are eligible for Discontinued Service Retirement if:

  • You have not turned down an offer to transfer to another job in a facility within reasonable commuting distance;


  • You are at least 50 years old and have at least 20 years of federal service (including military service), or you may retire at any age if you have at least 25 years of federal service;


  • You are vested in the CSRS with at least five years of service;


  • You must be separating from a position subject to CSRS coverage; and


  • You have been in a pay status for at least one of the two years preceding your retirement, (i.e., you meet the "one-out of-two rule" requirement).

    FERS Employees: Discontinued Service Retirement eligibility rules for FERS employees are the same as those for CSRS employees, with the following exceptions:


  • There is no age penalty for FERS employees.


  • The "one-out-of-two rule" does not apply; there is no requirement that you must have been in a pay status for at least one of the two years preceding your retirement.

    Both FERS and CSRS employees may have their unused annual leave credited as service in calculating the length of their federal service in order to qualify for Discontinued Service Retirement.

    FERS employees who are at least 55 years old with at least 10 years of creditable service have always had the right to apply for Voluntary Optional Retirement benefits (not to be confused with the Voluntary Early Retirement discussed above). However, under optional retirement, the employee is penalized 5 percent for each year under age 62. This penalty can be avoided if the retiring employee defers his or her annuity until he or she reaches the age of 62.

    Before deciding to seek Voluntary Early Retirement or Discontinued Service Retirement, make sure you have all the facts by consulting your Human Resources Department.

  • Source: The American Postal Worker magazine, Vol. 33, No. 1, Jan./Feb. 2003

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