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Department of the Army
Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Civilian Personnel, G-1
South Central Region, Civilian Human Resources Agency
Fort Gordon Civilian Personnel Advisory Center
271 Heritage Park Lane, Bldg. 35200
Fort Gordon, GA 30905-5000
Tel: 706-791-3840
DSN: 780-3840
Fax: 706-791-5595
Job Information Center
Hours: 0730-1600 (M-F)
Appropriated Fund Employees
Hours: 0730-1630 (M-F)
Non-Appropriated Fund Employees
Hours: 0730-1600 (M-F)

Fort Gordon Civilian Personnel Advisory Center

Welcome to the CPAC electronic information resource for personnel issues.  We invite you to use the many tools available to assist employees and managers in making personnel decisions in the fast changing human resources area.

The Civilian Personnel Advisory Center's (CPAC) goal is to provide accurate and timely advisory services in the administration of civilian personnel services in a regionalized environment.  This office is responsible for developing, promoting, and monitoring civilian personnel policies to meet the needs of management, supervisors, and the workforce and represents the installation by putting information at their fingertips.


Customer Support

CPAC Customer SupportBenefits

1. Q.  Can the FEHB be carried over into retirement if you haven't had it for 5 years?         

A.  Under normal circumstances no, but when an agency is undergoing a RIF the 5 year rule is waived to allow the employee's to carry the insurance.

2. Q.  Can I continue my health insurance if separated through RIF?

A.  You are allowed to continue your health insurance at the same premium rate for 18 months if separated through RIF.

3. Q.  Does your health insurance premium go up once you retire?

A.  No - your health insurance while employed is calculated over 26 pay periods.  Once you retire it is now calculated over 12 months.  The government still contributes their percentage towards your health insurance coverage.  In most cases you may find that the insurance is appx $10.00 cheaper annually then while employed.

4. Q.  Can you move your TSP money around after being separated?

A.  Yes, you can continue to do a TSP-30  once a month as you can as an employee or if you have your PIN number you can make changes on-line once a month.  

5. Q.  How long can you leave your money in the TSP?

A.  IRA mandatory distribution is 70 1/2 years old. Until you reach that age you can leave your money in the TSP account and have it accrue interest as it did while an employee. You are required to withdraw your account balance in a single payment, begin receiving monthly payments, or being receiving annuity payments by April 1 of the later of:
The year following the year you become age 70 1/2, or
pixelbullet The year following the year you separate from Federal service or the uniformed services.

6. Q.  Can I take my TSP money out once separated either through retirement, resignation and/or RIF?

A.  Yes - If you have less than $200.00 in your TSP account you will get an automatic distribution of that money. After informed of separation, the TSP will send you current account and withdrawal information and a tax notice. You should contact TSP directly at website: or telephone 1-877-968-3778 (toll free) or outside US and Canada 404-233-4000.

7.  Q.  What will happen to my Federal Employee's Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) after I am separated through RIF? 

A.  Once separated you will receive a notice of conversion. You will have 31 days from the date on this form to convert your FEGLI into a non-group "Whole life" policy.  This insurance is quite a bit more expensive then your current insurance because it is whole life verses term insurance.   You will be eligible for the amount of insurance you currently have without a requirement for a physical.

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Severance Pay

1. Q.   Will I be entitled to severance Pay?

A.  If you are separated under RIF and currently have a career or career-conditional appointment you will be entitled to Severance Pay.

2. Q. I have a temporary appointment, am I entitled to severance pay?

A. That depends. If you had a qualified appointment (career or career-conditional) and went from it to the temporary appointment without a break in service, you may be entitled to severance pay.

3. Q. I have a term appointment, am I entitled to severance pay?

A. If you held a qualified appointment (career or career-conditional) and went from it to the term appointment without a break in service of no more than 3 days, you will be entitled to severance pay. If not, you are not entitled to severance pay.

4. Q. I am retired military; will I be entitled to severance pay?

A.  No.

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Right of First Refusal

CPAC1.  Q. If a person is eligible for VERA, but elects to work for the contract under Right of First Refusal, is it correct to assume that he has the following options:  

a.  Leave retirement contributions in the CSRS fund and take a deferred retirement at age 60;
b.   Draw out his retirement contributions and forfeit deferred retirement;  and                         
c.   Also what happens if the contractor terminates his employment?  Will he have the option of drawing out his retirement contributions at that point? or can he retire under VERA? 

A.  (a.)  You may leave your retirement contributions in tact with OPM and make application for deferred retirement two months prior to being age 62.  This applies as long as you have 5 years of service covered under the retirement system whether it is the CSRS retirement system or FERS.

(b.)  You can make application to withdraw your retirement contributions directly to OPM after you have been separated for 30 days.  You will forfeit any rights under deferred retirement once you do that.  You may also affect in credit for that service if you were ever to be re-employed by the Federal Government.  

(c.)  You will not be able to retire under VERA authority because you are no longer employed by the Agency that has said authority.  One of the conditions under  5CFR 831.503  is that you have been employed by the requesting agency for at least 31 days prior to the date that agency requested VERA authority.  If you chose not to make application to OPM under DSR you are eligible to make application to withdrawal you retirement -  See Questions 8 & 13 under Retirement.

2. Q.   If an employee elects to take a job with the contractor under the "Right of First Refusal", do they lose their chance to take VERA/VSIP?

A.  Yes. Employee's eligible for the right of first refusal are those who did not take advantage of the
VERA/VSIP windows, but are scheduled to be separated by RIF. Once RIF letters are issued, employees are no longer eligible to take VERA/VSIP. 

3. Q. We are having some confusion over what exactly Right of First Refusal means to an employee, in the event that a contractor wins the A-76 competition.  Does the contractor have to offer all displaced employees a job?

A.  If the contractor wins, a roster of all displaced employees will be developed and given to the contractor.  When the contractor fills vacancies, he/she must offer the right of first refusal for the vacancies to the displaced candidates who qualify. There is no guarantee that there will be vacancies for all displaced candidates (both former temporary and permanent employees).  Remember that if employees accept VSIP, they are not included on the roster of employees who have the right of first refusal.  However, these former employees may accept jobs with the contractor.

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1. Q.   When will we be offered VSIP?  

A.  When VSIP is approved.

2. Q.  When will the VERA window be advertised?         

A.  When  VERA has been approved.

3. Q.   How is my time employed as a temporary counted?

A.   Time employed as a temporary employee is counted in your Service Computation Date (SCD) as far as leave & severance pay entitlement.  Depending on what retirement system you are covered under and what time-period the temporary service was determines whether it is counted towards your retirement eligibility. 

4. Q.   When the VSIP windows are opened; what will be the anticipated separation dates?

A.   The VSIP separation date for employees will be posted when VSIP is approved.

5. Q.   When is the best time for me "the employee" to separate with  VSIP?

A.   When VSIP is approved for you a  no later than separation date is provided.

6. Q.  Can I use my sick leave to meet the length of service requirement?

A.  No -  Sick leave will be counted towards your length of service and increase your annuity, but cannot be used to meet eligibility.  Sick leave only counts for those who are covered under the CSRS or CSRS-Offset retirement system.  Those employees covered under the FERS retirement system get no credit for their sick leave.  (NOTE:  Special cases exist where an employee transferred to FERS from CSRS.  The sick leave they had at the date of transfer or date of retirement whichever is less is what they receive credit for in their annuity)

7. Q.   Under the current situation will we receive 5 years to be used towards our length of service and or age so we will be eligible for VERA or won't have to incur the age reduction?

A.  No -  This is better known as the "Boxer Bill" and it has never been passed through congress.  

8. Q.  Can a employee covered under CSRS retirement take the VSIP and withdraw their money from the retirement system?

A.  Yes -  You must be separated for 30 days from the retirement system before OPM will process your application for withdraw of contributions.  Receiving the VSIP doesn't play a part in your entitlement to withdraw your "own" contributions.   You will need to complete an SF-2802 Application for refund of retirement deductions, page 1 and 2.

9. Q.  Can one transfer their Voluntary Contributions into CSRS or TSP account when they retire?

A.  No -  Voluntary contributions are not considered the same type of account as a TSP account because they are not tax deferred.  You pay taxes on the money your send to OPM.  You have the option of purchasing supplemental annuity with your contributions and/or withdrawing the money completely after separation.  Once you withdraw the money the interest it has accrued over the years is subject to tax.

10. Q.  Will an employee still have the opportunity to retire, if after receiving a job offer through PPP?

A.  This answer depends on when the employee receives the offer.  We will have to look at this on a case-by-case situation.

11.  Q.  Can an employee take VERA/VSIP and then go to work for the Contractor? 

A.  Yes, an employee may take VERA/VSIP then go work for the Contractor.  However, once accepting VERA/VSIP the employee no longer has the Right of First Refusal.

12.  Q.  If an employee elects to take a job with the contractor under the "Right of First Refusal", do they lose their chance to take VERA/VSIP? 

A.  Yes, Employee's eligible for right of first refusal are those who did not take advantage of the VERA/VSIP windows, but are scheduled to be separated by RIF.  Once RIF letters are issued, employees are no longer eligible to take VERA/VSIP.

13.  Q.  If an employee chooses not to apply under the VERA/VSIP window and is eligible for retirement can they chose to retire upon date of separation? 

A.  Yes -  If the employee doesn't apply under our VERA/VSIP window they will receive an RIF Notice of separation.  Provided they meet the minimum eligibility rules for retirement i.e., Age 50 with 20 years of service or 25 years of service and any age, they may apply under the Discontinued Service Retirement (DSR) rules directly to OPM.  This action is then considered INVOLUNTARY and the employee CANNOT receive VSIP in conjunction with this action.

14. Q.  If someone has 28 years of service and is under age 55 what happens if:  there is no VERA; there are no jobs in the commuting area; and the Government does not win the contract? 

A.  If this person above is covered under the organization which is targeted to be outsource having the VERA authority is almost a guarantee.  The Dept of Army will grant the agency VERA authority and we will most likely also have the VSIP authority as well.  Currently the VSIP  authority is delegated to the commanders until September 2001.

15.  Q.  If I received a computation stating I am eligible for retirement can I still withdraw my retirement contributions and not elect to receive a monthly annuity?

A.  Yes -  You can make application for lump-sum retirement contributions provided you have been separated from the agency for at least 31 days at the time you filed your application.  You must also not be eligible for an annuity commencing within 31 days after the date of filing i.e., You will be 61 and 11 months and have over 5 years of service. 

16.  Q.  If I decide to retire under Optional Retirement and/or VERA, how long should I expect OPM to take before I receive my first annuity check?

A.  If the Army Benefits Center (ABC) at Fort Riley has ample time (60- 90 days) to process your retirement application you should receive an interim annuity check from OPM within 30 - 60 days of your commencing date of annuity.   NOTE:  ABC will handle all retirement application after July 31st in the Southeast Region.  

17.  Q.  If I have two years of military time, is that included with years of service for retirement?

A.  Yes, if you were on board before October 1982 , you get credit for years of service; but it would not be counted in your annuity, unless; you made a deposit. If under FERS, if you do not make a deposit, you do not receive credit for years of service or the annuity; unless, you have made a military deposit for that time.

18.  Q.  If I have military time, but didn't pay into the retirement system to receive credit for that time, if I begin paying it back now , will that be included in my annuity?

A.  Yes, if you have paid it back before your separation date.  If not paid in full by the separation date, you will receive credit for the portion paid in.

19. Personal contributions to retirement systems - if left for any periods of time, will interest (of any kind) accrue?

A. If an employee separates from Federal Service with entitlement to a deferred annuity and does not request a refund of his or her voluntary contributions, interest continues to accrue on the account to the beginning date of annuity or death, whichever is earlier.

Interest on voluntary contributions through 31 Dec 84 earn 3% compounded annually.

Beginning 1 Jan 85 voluntary contributions earn a variable interest rate determined by the Department of Treasury each calendar year and is compounded annually on 31 Dec:                          

Year  Interest Rate Year  Interest Rate
1985 13.0% 1992 8.125%
1986  11.125% 1993  7.125%
1987 9.0% 1994 6.25%
1988 8.375% 1995  7.0%
1989 9.125% 1996 6.875%
1990  8.75% 1997  6.875%
1991  8.625% 1998  6.75%

A refund is the lump-sum payment to a former employee, or an employee who is no longer covered by CSRS or FERS, of the amount to his or her credit in the fund.

Amount of the refund includes payment of any and all: Retirement contributions, deposits/redeposits, military service credit deposits, voluntary contributions, and interest.

Interest on all contributions, except voluntary contributions, is paid as follows: 

Years of Service  Interest Due
1 None
More than 1 year but less than 5 years 3 % compounded annually to the date of separation.
More than 1 year and 5 or more years No interest thereafter.

A Lump-Sum Credit is the unrefunded amount of an employee's contributions to the Fund. The lump-sum credit consists of:

CPACFERS basic annuity deductions from pay; CSRS Interim plan deductions; CSRS Offset deductions; any civilian deposit or deposit for post-1956 military service; the balance after the return of excess deductions(civilian and military); interest. In general, a FERS lump-sum credit earns interest at the market rate. Interest does accrue on the FERS portion under FERS rules. Payment of a refund of FERS deductions permanently voids any retirement rights based on the period of FERS service that the refund covers. This means, the employee CANNOT repay the money in the future to reestablish credit for the refunded FERS service.

No interest is paid on a refund of FERS contributions if service covered by the contributions totals one year or less in the aggregate; or for a fractional part of a month.


20.  How long does it take to actually get your severance pay check in you hand?

A.  If the action gets to payroll timely, your severance pay will be received the next pay period.

21.  If I am under FERS and  have met my minimum retirement age and have 10 years of service and I am involuntarily separated can I retire?  Will I receive a penalty of 5% reduction in my annuity for every year under the age of 62?  

A.   Yes, your annuity will be reduced by 5% for every year you are under age 62; unless, you meet the early retirement age and years of service (20 years service/age 50; 25 years service/any age) before retiring.   If you meet early retirement, you may retire with no penalty.  

  22.  If I am under FERS and have 25 years of service and I am involuntarily separated; but I am under age 62, is there a penalty?

A.   No, because you have met the eligibility of early retirement of 25 years of service and any age.  Eligibility requirements for FERS Early Retirement is age 50 and 20 years of service or any age with 25 years of service.  

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1 Q.  Can Wage employees bump GS employees?

A.   A Wage employee may bump a GS employee if they are determined fully qualified.  This will be determined on a case by case basis.

2. Q.  What will happen to unresolved EEO cases and grievances that have filed?

A.  They will continue to be worked.

3. Q.  Are there any special provisions for handicapped employees under RIF?

A.  The RIF process is non discriminatory.  Handicapped employees would not be offered jobs for which no accommodation could be made.

4. Q.  Can you resign and get VSIP?

A.   Yes - VSIP is computed using the same rules whether you resign or retire.

5.  Q.  What happens to my annual leave when I am no longer on the roles?

A.  You will be paid for all your annual leave (even if it is over 240 hours) once your separation action has been processed.  Normally you will receive this with your last pay check or the one immediately following.

6. Q.  What will happen to an employee's on-the-job injury claim and entitlements after being contracted out?

A. If you already have an approved claim all entitlements will continue.  Once you are off the government's roles you will need to deal directly with the Office of Workers Compensation Program (OWCP) in Washington D.C.

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Priority Placement Program

1.  Q. When an employee is placed on the Priority Placement Program (PPP) and a vacancy comes up that they are qualified for - do they get referred?

A.  When an agency submits a Request for Personnel Action (SF-52) it is checked against PPP continuously until a referral list is issued (if open to internal applicants only) or until a selection is made (if opened to outside candidates).  This is why it is so important to think about your current and passed skills and have them well documented on your resume.  You may not have held such a  position, but will be qualified for it based on the Operating Manual for Qualification Standards.

2.  Q.  How long do you stay registered in the Priority Placement Program?

A.  One year (12 months) from the date of separation.

3.  Q.  Am I entitled to grade/pay retention after I go off the roles?

A.  No -  If the employee has a break in service of "1" workday or more, the grade/pay retention entitlement will stop.

4.  Q.  How long is Grade retention for?

A.  Grade retention is for 2 years from the effective date of the change to lower grade.

5.  Q.  How long are you entitled to pay retention?

A.  Pay retention is indefinite or until re-promoted to the pay held prior to the RIF.  After a two year period you will only receive 1/2 of the comparability increases until your pay can be set on a current pay scale.  You will notice that your step will be set at 00 while in pay retention.

6.  Q.  Can a TEMP/TERM employee be registered in PPP?

A.  No -  Employees must be on an appointment without time limitation and must be in the competitive service and have career/career-conditional status. They can however register in the DORS program which is a part of the Priority Placement Program. Contact your CPAC for an appointment to get registered.

7.  Q.  Can you work for the contractor and still be on PPP?

A.  Yes -  You are entitled to remain on PPP for 1 year as long as you have not turned down a valid job offer or have been picked up by another Federal Agency.  Working for the contractor has no bearing on this entitlement.

8. Q.   Can I delay registration in PPP until the timeframes comes that I can expand my area of consideration to another state? (i.e., after 60 days I can expand to South Carolina)

A.  No -  Whenever you register in the PPP you will be mandated to wait certain periods of time before you can expand your area of consideration.  Therefore, delaying your registration isn't helping you get to your desired state any faster. (See charts under Priority Placement Workforce Briefing Charts for timelines based on pay plans and grades)

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