Rumor of the Day: Interim Retirement Payments to be Canceled by OPM?

With proposed changes to federal pay and benefits swirling in Congress, rumors start and spread quickly. One that recently surfaced: OPM is canceling interim retirement payments. Here is the answer from the agency.

New Federal Retirement Rumor

In comments from readers on a FedSmith article, several readers wrote comments about a new rumor. Here is one of the comments that highlights the gist of the fear quickly spreading among some readers who were probably planning on retiring in the near future:

“Yesterday I was talking to my Benefits Officer and she very nicely told me that OPM has decided that in order to get packages completed faster they are stopping all new retirement checks of the partial payment for the next 3 to 4 months. She told me that and hoped that I could last that long without any income until at least April or May. One other person that is retiring with me next week was also told the same thing by his Benefits Officer. How can they just decide something like this at the last minute.”

With proposed changes to the federal retirement system being considered by Congress throughout 2012, there is fertile ground for new rumors such as this one. This was the first time we had about heard this from any reader. Since several people raised the same issue within a short time, we wanted to find out if it is true and to advise readers.

Good News for Future Retirees

As regular readers of this site are well aware, John Grobe is a regular author of numerous articles on federal sector retirement. He stays on top of retirement issues and conducts training seminars around the country on this topic so he is often our first source of new information (and often one of the first to hear and confirm or dispel new rumors pertaining to federal retirement).

He indicated he was not aware of any change in OPM policy on issuing interim payments. But, as a thorough person who does not like to dwell on rumors and innuendo, he promptly contacted a retirement expert at the Office of Personnel Management.

Here was the response from OPM:

“Not true. Interim pay will always be an option and remain in use.” 

So, while we have no idea of the source of the information that a benefits officer reportedly relayed to one or more of our readers, the rumor is, fortunately, apparently not true.

About the Author

Ralph Smith has several decades of experience working with federal human resources issues. He has written extensively on a full range of human resources topics in books and newsletters and is a co-founder of two companies and several newsletters on federal human resources. Follow Ralph on Twitter: @RalphSmith47