Report: Take care to keep documents needed to file retirement

If you’re a federal employee—and approaching retirement—there are a number of documents to assemble, whether in paper or electronic form, in preparing to file for your benefits.

Yet, many people shred and delete some of the key ones they need, unfortunately. Depending on the kind document, and the retirement applicant, this can create delays and problems in processing the case. So warns a new column posted on

In fact, whether you’re a mid-career fed or someone close to turning in your retirement forms, you would do well to hang on to a number of crucial items that you either will, or might, need to get your application processed, pronto.

In the obvious department, you will want to keep a copy of your finalized retirement application, as well as your designation of beneficiary forms for your federal retirement and Thrift Savings Plan accounts.

In what to some may be the “less obvious” department, keep your SF-50 forms and forms listing any separations, changes of jobs and changes in schedules, military service records, any documentation of your high-three salaries, and any other relevant career and retirement account documentation. Even documentation of your titles and job descriptions, and performance appraisals, should be kept, the column notes.

Birth certificates, marriage and divorce papers, original Social Security cards—all should be kept, as much as possible, in an accessible, ready location.

All such material can be helpful—and possibly needed—in speeding the completion of your retirement, the column emphasizes.

Reader comments

Mon, May 17, 2021 Debbie Texas

Help! What do I need to do to figure out what time I had? I was active duty Army, worked for the VA system for 6 years and the DOD for 1. I'm about to start again with the DOD. Also, once I get all the documents, WHO do I submit it to? Thanks in advance~ NurseDeby

Wed, Apr 28, 2021

Your wife throws stuff out? I'll trade ya.

Thu, Apr 15, 2021

Tell this to my wife. She throws out everything. Many people are like that with decluttering or whatever. I think I can get most of the documents needed.

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2021 Digital Almanac

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