Calculating Your High Three Salary

July 14, 2014 12:13 PM
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Q: Does OPM base the CSRS retirement calculation on an employee’s high-three annual BASE PAY or LOCALITY PAY when determining the annual retirement payment?

A: The high-3 average salary for both CSRS and FERS employees is based on the annual rate of Basic Pay plus the Locality Adjustment, or the Adjusted Basic Pay.

These items are found on your SF-50 (Notification of Personnel Action) in blocks 20A, 20B, and 20C, respectively.
Some special employees (such as Law Enforcement Officers) may be able to include any Other Pay shown in block 20D in the high-3 computation, but most employees can use only the Adjusted Basic Pay (20C).
For more information about calculating the high-3 average salary, please refer to my articles on this topic: and

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About the Author

Ehren Clovis retired from federal service after a career as a Benefits Specialist. She dealt with the employees of many federal agencies, and acquired broad knowledge and experience with federal benefits, including the special retirement provisions for federal Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs). Now she presents retirement and benefits training for federal employees through Federal Career Experts, Inc., and counsels individual clients through her home business, Federal Benefits On Call.