What is a service computation date? In general, a service computation date (SCD) determines a federal employee’s eligibility for a specific benefit or program.
4 Different Types of Service Computation Dates
How is a service computation date determined? It depends on the type of benefit. There are four different service computation dates for federal employees:
- Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)
- Reduction in force
- Federal Retirement
Leave SCD determines the amount of annual leave a federal employee earned per pay period: four, six, or eight hours. It is shown in block #31 of the Standard Form (SF) 50. This SCD includes most military service, unless the employee is retired military, even if they have not made the military deposit.
The rules of computing the leave service computation date are found in the Office of Personnel Management’s Guide to Processing Personnel Actions, Chapter 6
An example of a SF-50 form is below. Note: Only a federal employee’s leave SCD appears on the SF-50.
Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) SCD
The TSP SCD is used to determine when an federal employee became vested in Thrift Savings Plan and is required only for an employee covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). Vesting means that the TSP participant is entitled to keep Agency Automatic (1%) Contributions (and earnings) after the employee has completed a time-in-service requirement. Most individuals covered by FERS are vested in the TSP after 3 years of service. All federal civilian service time is included in the Thrift Savings Plan service computation date, but the date may not reflect a value earlier than January 1, 1984.
Reduction In Force (RIF) SCD
The RIF SCD is one of four factors used to determine a federal employee’s federal employee’s retention if there was a Reduction in Force at an agency. The RIF SCD includes all creditable military and civilian service and is adjusted with additional credit (up to a maximum of 20 years) for the employee’s performance ratings. The “adjusted” RIF-SCD is reflected on the retention register and is included in the RIF notice provided to an impacted employee.
The federal retirement service computation date includes the service that is creditable in determining if a federal employees is eligible for retirement. It is often the date of his/her first federal appointment that was covered under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS or CSRS-Offset) or FERS.. Generally, leave SCD and retirement SCD are the same unless the federal employee is retired military (such employees should consult with their human resource office to determine the retirement SCD) .
The retirement SCD is used to determine federal retirement eligibility and therefore, does not include sick leave. Sick leave is used in the retirement annuity computation, but not to determine eligibility for retirement.
Time not creditable for retirement that may affect the retirement SCD include:
- Excess leave without pay (LWOP)
- Federal service requiring a deposit that has not been paid
- Temporary service performed after 1989 (FERS only)
- Breaks in federal service in excess of three days
- Military service with an unpaid deposit
The SCD for retirement is one of the two factors that will determine when an federal employee can retire and how much of a CSRS or FERS annuity the retiring employee will receive. Individuals are therefore encouraged to verify their retirement service computation date with their personnel office.
More detailed information on federal retirement service computation dates can be found in OPM’s CSRS/FERS Handbook (Chapter C020).