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Office of the General Counsel

Matter of: [claimant]
Date: October 6, 2000
File Number: 00-4245

OPM Contact: Murray Meeker

On August 1, 1994, the claimant retired from his position with the xxx. The claimant asserts that while he signed a statement at the time of his retirement that he was voluntarily accepting an early retirement option without a buyout or voluntary separation incentive payment (VSIP), he signed the statement only after he had been told that, due to the lack of available funds, he would not be offered a VSIP. The claimant now asserts that, in fact, there were ample funds available for him to have received a VSIP in Fiscal Year 1994, and that other individuals who exercised the early retirement option did receive VSIPs. The claimant claims entitlement to a VSIP. For the reasons discussed herein, the claim is denied.

In its administrative report, the xxx explains that it reviews, and when accepted, forwards State requests for Voluntary Early Retirement Authority (VERA) to the xxx for approval in accordance with established guidelines; that the determination to offer VERA with or without VSIP is based on force restructuring plans and funding availability at the local level; and that the xxx requested and was granted VERA authority. In accordance with this authority, the xxx established an "open window" for voluntary early retirement for the period from xxx to xxx. It was under this authority that the claimant retired. The administrative report continues that, during this period, there were no employee separations that included VSIP buyouts.

While the administrative report does not specifically address the question as to whether the xxx had funds available for VSIPs, the report does explain that the decision to grant VSIPs is made at the local level, and that a VSIP is not an employee entitlement. We agree. The decision to grant a VSIP is a determination that is made at the discretion of the State and, even if funds were available, this availability would not establish that the claimant was entitled to a VSIP. The claimant has failed to establish that the State abused its discretion.

This settlement is final. No further administrative review is available within OPM. Nothing in this settlement limits the claimant's right to bring an action in an appropriate United States Court.

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