The Worst Retirement Application Mistakes Federal Employees Can Make

These are some of the most common mistakes that can delay processing federal employees’ retirement applications.

You’ve made it to the final stretch of your federal career and you are about to cross the finish line. The last thing you want to do is to trip right before hitting the tape.

Filling out your retirement application is one of the last things you do as a federal employee, and it can have a massive impact on the beginning of your retirement. Long story short: mistakes on your retirement application package delay when you get your full pension.

Here are the most common retirement application mistakes that create processing delays.

Multiple Mistake Makers

It is critical to make sure you fill out your part of the application correctly, but your payroll/HR offices also have their parts to play, and it is common for them to make mistakes as well.

However, it is important for you to focus on what parts you can control, such as getting these offices a complete and on-time application. That will help lower the chances of them making mistakes when processing your retirement packet. 

Missing Information

While it might sound silly, one of the biggest sources of problems is when federal employees’ retirement applications are missing information. For example, sometimes a field is left blank that should be filled out.

Take your time when filling out your application to make sure everything is filled out correctly. 

Missing Documents

It is very common that supporting documents are needed along with your application. 

Here some some examples of common documents that are needed depending on your situation:

  1. Marriage Certificate
  2. Divorce Decree
  3. Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) Election Page

Make sure you have confirmed with your HR office that it has all of the supporting documents that are needed. If something is missing then it is often very time-consuming for the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to track it down when it is processing your retirement application after you retire.

Your Elections are Forever

One of the most important functions of your retirement application is to make elections about your benefits. For example, you elect whether or not to leave a survivor benefit for your spouse on your pension or whether or not to keep Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) into retirement. And for the most part, these elections are permanent with very few (if any) options to change them later so you want to make sure you are picking the ones that make the most sense for you. 

Control the Controllables

You can’t control every aspect of your retirement but there is a lot that is in your control. It is best to put 100% of your focus on what you can control and not worry too much about what you can’t control. 

About the Author

Dallen Haws is a Financial Advisor who is dedicated to helping federal employees live their best life and plan an incredible retirement. He hosts a podcast and YouTube channel all about federal benefits and retirement. You can learn more about him at Haws Federal Advisors.