The Pentagon's civilian employees are urged to maximize their retirement—and to start by consulting one of many informational aids and tools on some dedicated DOD websites.
Department of Defense has nearly civilian employees—and if you are one of them, it’s important to you and your family that you take steps to understand now the retirement options open to you later, when you wind down your career.
Recently, DOD’s retirement experts issued a reminder to its Army and other civilian employees to consult their many useful retirement resources—and not wait until the last minute, or even later years of employment, to check out how the system works.
“Much like their military counterparts, Department of Defense civilian employees earn retirement benefits as they serve their country,” DOD stated. “Figuring out when to retire—and how much retirement income can be expected—is made easier via the Civilian Personnel Advisory Center.”
One of the best places to start is CPAC’s CAC-enabled Government Retirement and Benefits (GRB) webpage, which is located on the Army Benefits Center-Civilian website.
Tina Utt, who directs Fort Leonard Wood’s CPAC and advises on civilian retirement, summarizes that the website offers tools that can “help take some of the guesswork out of the transition to retirement.”
“That is the platform the Army uses for civilians to input their retirement paperwork into the system,” she said. “This site provides all kinds of information, to include when you are eligible to retire and an estimate on what your pay may be.”
Utt says the biggest regret most civilian DOD employees express when they start working out their options is “not starting the retirement process sooner.”
Utt says the retirement ABC-C site offers regular, virtual pre-retirement benefits overview briefings. There’s absolutely no need to register—just click through to the site and explore as much or as little as you want.
For Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS), you need to have done five years of civilian federal employment to qualify—except in cases of disability.
Finally, Utt reiterates this generally accepted federal retirement advice: Submit your retirement application packet at least 120 days prior to your desired retirement date. And—because the process can take months, set aside “at least” six months of pay in savings, to cover expenses during this period.
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