Reading your SF-50 to determine your service and appointment type
If you don’t know which service you’re in or your appointment type, you can refer to your SF-50 (Notification of Personnel Action).
How to find your SF-50 for current federal employees
Many agencies use OPM’s electronic Official Personnel Folder (eOPF) tool, which is an online system for managing personnel documents.
For example, you can find OPM’s eOPF at https://eopf.opm.gov/opm/, and you can find the Social Security Administration’s eOPF at https://eopf.opm.gov/ssa/. You can usually only access the eOPF tool from your agency’s internal network.
Not all agencies use the eOPF tool. Ask your Human Resources department if you’re not sure where to find your SF-50.
How to find your SF-50 for former federal employees
If you recently left your federal job, contact your former agency personnel office. If it’s been more than 30 days since you left, you need to contact the Federal Records Center, http://www.archives.gov/frc/. The FRC is the depository for official personnel folders of former federal service employees.
Send your request to:
National Archives and Records Administration
Civilian Personnel Records
1411 Boulder Boulevard
Valmeyer, IL 62295
Include the following in your request:
- Full name (the one you used during your federal employment)
- Social security number
- Date of birth
- A list of all federal agencies where you an employee, with addresses, and dates of your employment (to the extent known)
The Privacy Act of 1974 [5 USC 552a] and the Office of Personnel Management require a signed and dated written request for information from the Federal Records Center. They will NOT accept requests for information from personnel, or any other type of records, by telephone or e-mail.
How to read your SF-50
Your appointment type
Tenure - Block 24
On your SF-50, look for Block 24 named “Tenure”. You may see a 0, 1, 2, 3 or asterisk.
- A 0 indicates that you may be in the Senior Executive Service or appointed by the President subject to Senate confirmation. You may also be in a group that is not defined in The Guide to Data Standards.
- A 1 indicates that you’re a permanent, career employee and have completed three years of service.
- A 2 indicates that you’re a career-conditional employee. You’re in a permanent position, but you haven’t completed three years of service yet and may still be in your probation period.
- A 3 indicates that may be on a temporary or term appointment.
- An asterisk indicates that you were appointed through a specific hiring authority that deviates from the above.
Ask your Human Resources department for more information if you’re unsure about what’s in your Tenure block.
Your service type
Position occupied - Block 34
Look at Block 34 named “Position occupied”. You may see a 1, 2, 3, 4 or asterisk.
- A 1-Competitive Service indicates you’re in the Competitive service.
- A 2-Excepted Service indicates you’re in the Excepted service.
- A 3-SES General indicates you’re in the Senior Executive service.
- A 4-SES Career Reserved indicates you’re in the Senior Executive service.
If you have an asterisk or questions about Block 34, ask your Human Resources department to tell you the service type.
The Department of Defense and other agencies have exceptions to these rules. For example:
- If you have Tenure: 0 and Position occupied: 1, you’re a current temporary employee.
- If you have Tenure: 3 and Position occupied: 1, you’re a current term employee.
If you see a combination of numbers you don’t understand, ask your Human Resources department.