By FederalSoup Staff

Apr 12, 2021

If you’re a federal employee—and approaching retirement—there are a number of documents to assemble, whether in paper or electronic form, in preparing to file for your benefits.

Yet, many people shred and delete some of the key ones they need, unfortunately. Depending on the kind document, and the retirement applicant, this can create delays and problems in processing the case. So warns a new column posted on

In fact, whether you’re a mid-career fed or someone close to turning in your retirement forms, you would do well to hang on to a number of crucial items that you either will, or might, need to get your application processed, pronto.

In the obvious department, you will want to keep a copy of your finalized retirement application, as well as your designation of beneficiary forms for your federal retirement and Thrift Savings Plan accounts.

In what to some may be the “less obvious” department, keep your SF-50 forms and forms listing any separations, changes of jobs and changes in schedules, military service records, any documentation of your high-three salaries, and any other relevant career and retirement account documentation. Even documentation of your titles and job descriptions, and performance appraisals, should be kept, the column notes.

Birth certificates, marriage and divorce papers, original Social Security cards—all should be kept, as much as possible, in an accessible, ready location.

All such material can be helpful—and possibly needed—in speeding the completion of your retirement, the column emphasizes.

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