“I plan on retiring this year and have a Within-Grade Increase due on April 9. I have yet to decide on a date but it will definitely be before the end of the calendar year. HR stated they couldn’t provide another estimate until the WGI was effective. Wouldn’t I need to stay 3 more years for the step increase to increase my High 3?”

Reg’s Response

A high-3 is the average of three consecutive years (78 months) of basic pay. So, the longer you stay on the job after you receive a pay raise, the greater your high-3 will be. However, staying on the job in pursuit of a slightly higher retirement benefit doesn’t sound like a sensible idea. Instead, you should retire when you’re ready.

Got a question for the Federal Times expert? Send inquiries to: fedexperts@federaltimes.com.

Reg Jones, a charter member of the senior executive service, is the resident expert on retirement and the federal government at Federal Times. From 1979 until 1995, he served as an assistant director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management handling recruiting and examining, white and blue collar pay, retirement, insurance and other issues. Opinions expressed are his own.

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