The Service Computation Date Comes in Five Flavors
This article was originally posted on FedSmith.com by John Stohlman. John has been working with clients to help them achieve retirement success since 1987 and is designated as a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) and Chartered Federal Employee Benefits Consultant (ChFEBC®).
The Service Computation Date (SCD)
There are five different service computation dates that you should be familiar with. They are used to determine the many different aspects of your retirement.
The following is a list of which factors and benefits your service computation date or SCD can affect:
Leave accrual rate
In-grade pay increases
Retention position during a reduction in force
An Often Adjusted Date
A Federal Employee’s SCD for most purposes is the day they started their federal service. But as OPM’s personnel handbook points out, this is not always the case.
“A date, either actual or constructed, that is used to determine benefits and is generally based on how long the person has been in Federal Service.”
Anytime a law, regulation, or policy uses the words “constructed” and “generally based,” that usually means there is a little work involved, as you can see in the next few examples.
For Life Insurance Payout and Career Tenure
The first SCD is the SCD CIV. This date is essentially the day you started working for the Federal Government. If you are a FERS employee, this date is used to calculate your life insurance payout formula.
Your SCD CIV is also used to determine when you achieve career tenure. Achieving career tenure makes it easier to return to federal service if you leave for a period of time. It takes three years of “substantially continuous” service to achieve this status.
Leave Accrual Rate and Retirement Eligibility
The SCD, which is found on your leave and earnings statement, pertains to your leave accrual rate.
Depending on how much creditable service you have, your leave accrual could be either four, six, or eight hours per pay period, depending on the length of your federal service.
Your personal statement of benefits only has an estimate of your retirement SCD. To determine your actual SCD for retirement purposes, you will need to look at your SF-50 Notice of Personnel Action.
John goes on to cover the other 3 SCDs: Reductions in Force, Military members and TSP Vesting on his FedSmith article. If you'd like to learn more about the SCD and those topics, you can read the rest of John's article on here.
For over 30 years, federal employee retirement planning has been a key focus of Medallion Financial Group. We recognize that FERS retirement benefits have extra layers of complexity, such as the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), 401K, Pension plan, FEGLI and more. It’s easy to get lost in a sea of bad advice when so few people understand the basics. We help with the basics and beyond to enable our clients to get the education and advice they need to retire with confidence.
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