It’s Time to Fix an Unfair Federal Retirement Rule

U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, a Democrat, represents Washington’s 6th congressional district. He serves on the House Appropriations Committee.

May 1, 2018

Imagine you work your whole career with a colleague. You start the same day. You show up at the same time every day and do the exact same work, for the same number of years. You’re paid the same amount. But when you calculate the number of days you must work between now and retirement, the Office of Personnel Management tells your coworker she can retire, but you have to work five more years, thanks to a three-decade-old retirement rule change.

A generation of federal employees across the country are discovering that this is their story.

Many soon-to-retire public servants started their careers as temporary workers in the federal government. During their careers, they maintained the submarines and aircraft carriers that keep us safe, took care of our nation’s parks, prepped our timber harvests, and delivered our mail. Many of these workers were later converted to permanent employees because the jobs they were doing were so important. Now, the oldest among them are getting ready to retire.


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Jim Davis

Still no word on whether retired carriers will be able to buy back.

Diane-Ed Cox

There will be able to be amended

Lisa Erlandson Prater

It’s past time to fix that rule! There are so many postal employees that have started part time only to work 10-15 years before going full time. Once going full time all employees should be able to buy back that part time work. Fix it!

Diane-Ed Cox

Your legislators need to hear from you

Shirley Britt-Rodriguez

I was a sub for 11yrs!

Ann Renfroe Smith

I was a sub for 14 years!

Sherry Allen

13 years here.?

Denise Madison

12 here

Shirley Britt-Rodriguez

Yes! Absolutely!

Jessica Sullivan

So this article is saying if I was a sub for three years when it comes to retirement. I could buy that back of course if they were to implement this.

Donna Guess Gray


Leland Grant

when i retired oct 29th,2016 opm decided that to get 2 years and one month of time credit from when i was a sub, i needed to pay them a LUMP sum of 16,500$ , so that i could get 214$a month more, it would take over 6.5 years to get that 16,500$ ,back i wont live that long, if they had offered a payment plan thru my paycheck ,it would have been paid off decades ago , but no, they wont, 2 years ,11 m months more, to go from 34 years 11 months credit, to 37 years credit,… Read more »

Diane-Ed Cox

You needed to buy your sub time when you first went regular

Leland Grant

Diane-Ed Cox they wanted 3500$ in 1984, i didnt have it, they told me that a payment plan would soon be offered ,it never was , when you retire opm asks if you want to pay it then,

Tracee Bradley

I bought sub time from 1985-1989. It came out to 20 months and a few days. Cost me $1800. Less than $100 a month.

Leland Grant

Tracee Bradley not what was offered to me, sub time from nov.1979 to november 1984

Lisa Dunson Steele

I went regular about 4 years ago and had no idea this was even an option. How/where do we find out if we can still do this. Curious if it would be worth it. I was very lucky when my reg retired and was only a sub for 3 years. Thx

Shirley Britt-Rodriguez

They have to pass it first. They only let people do this in 1988 and before that year. Nothing after 1988.

Leland Grant

Lisa Dunson Steele it isnt an option for people who were hired after 1989 i think,,,,,,,,,,,, but on this topic i may not be up to date, HR will know, but you may get better info from your adr/dr to see if you can do this , someone here may actually have correct info on this .maybe


You are correct. 1989 or earlier.

Lori Lacker

And don’t u only get the actual days worked?

Ann Renfroe Smith

Lisa Dunson Steele. I was a sub 14 years before I went regular. I’ve never heard of this until today!

April Vinyard

Lisa Dunson Steele it ISNT an option anymore. Hasnt been for years. Hence the reason we need this bill to be submitted and amended to include RCAs. I was a sub for 12 years. Now I’m 41 and my retirement JUST began. Contact your congressmen and request their support for bill HR 5389.

Christopher Paradise

19 years from now, when my happy ass is eligible for retirement, I’m hoping they offer me an early out. Considering I’m on the first pay chart, I’m sure they will want me gone. I figure by then most carriers will be making minimum wage. ?

Meta Bonnell

I retired 3 years ago. Please make this retroactive so I can have my 30 years and not have a 5% per year under 30 penalty anymore.

Jeremy Kinnunen

Make all cca’s and rca’s into career employees.

Matthew Chavez

CCAs maybe. RCAs largely don’t fit full time criteria. Maybe apply it by designation when they average 32 hours per week in a year.

Rose Smith

Mathew the CCAs and RCAs are doing way more than 32 hours per week in a year, it is just the carriers that need to retire won’t, do to this rule

April Vinyard

Idk how it is where you are but, all the subs in my area more than qualify for full time status. People dont understand how we can work 50 hours a week, six days a week and NOT be considered full time.. ?

Kenneth D Feeney

Matthew Chavez I was an RCA for 12 years, 10 on an aux route that exceeded 35 hours for 7 of those years. Dept of Labor says if you work 35 hours per week you’re full time. USPS doesn’t see it that way. Been a regular for 2 years now. I’d love to have the aux route time count.

Chris Mooney

How are the subs getting to work that much? I get anywhere near 35 hrs and the district is emailing my PM about why I’m working so much ?

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