Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS)

Federal
Retirement 101

Determining Your Full Pension

Looking ahead to retirement and planning for your future can be fun! When calculating your full FERS retirement benefit, first determine your “high-3” salary average — figured by taking the three consecutive years of your highest pay. Multiply that by 1.0 percent, then multiply this by the number of years of creditable service:

High-3 average x 0.01 x years

Note that if you have served at least 20 years and plan to retire at age 62 or after, you may use a 1.1 percent multiplier of your high-3 average pay.

Reduced Pension Minimum Retirement Age (MRA)

With just 10 years of service, you are eligible for a retirement annuity at the Minimum Retirement Age. If you choose this option but have fewer than 30 years of service, reduce your planned benefit using the Age Reduction formula below.

Age Reduction – First, specify your projected retirement date, then the date you will turn 62. The Age Reduction formula will reduce your MRA annuity by 5 percent per year (or 5/12 of 1 percent for each month) in which your retirement date precedes your 62nd birthday.

Note: you may delay the commencement of your annuity to reduce or eliminate this age reduction.

What’s the Difference Between Postponed and Deferred Retirement

Postponed Retirement: If you are fully eligible for an immediate MRA +10 annuity but elect to delay your retirement to reduce or eliminate the age reduction, this would be a postponed retirement.

Example: A 56-year-old federal employee with 20 years of service who chooses to postpone the start of his annuity until he is age 60 is able to avoid the Age Reduction.

Deferred Retirement: If you are not yet fully eligible for a retirement annuity, you may apply for a deferred retirement when you reach the Minimum Retirement Age or meet other eligibility requirements.

Example: A 50-year old woman with 18 years of federal service could apply for a deferred retirement when she reaches her MRA of 57 years old.

Important note on benefit start dates: If you should decide to postpone the start date of your annuity, note that your FEHB and FEGLI coverage will terminate. However, once you begin receiving your annuity, you can reinstate this coverage if you met the eligibility requirements to continue coverage into retirement when you left federal employment. This does not apply to a deferred retirement because you would not be eligible for an immediate annuity when you left federal service.

Special Retirement Supplement

Up through age 62, you may be eligible for a paid annuity taken as a Special Retirement Supplement if you meet any of the following conditions:

  • You retire after the MRA with 30 years of service; or
  • You retire at age 60 with 20 years of service; or
  • Upon involuntary or early voluntary retirement (age 50 with 20 years of service, or at any age with 25 years of service) after the U.S. Office of  Personnel Management determines that your agency is undergoing a major reorganization, reduction-in-force (RIF), or transfer of function. You will  not receive the Special Retirement Supplement until you reach your MRA.

The Special Retirement Supplement is impacted by a couple of factors

If you transfer from the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) to the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), you must have at least one full calendar year of FERS-covered service to qualify for the supplement.

Your Special Retirement Supplement will be reduced or stopped if you have earnings from wages or self-employment that exceed the Social Security  annual exempt amount, which was $17,640 in 2019.

Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS)

Determining Your Full Pension: Your CSRS annuity is based on your number of years of civil service (which includes unused sick leave if you retire on an immediate annuity) and “high-3” average pay. The high-3 average pay includes locality pay and annual premiums for standby duty and availability if applicable. Your basic annuity cannot be more than 80 percent of your “high-3” average pay, unless the amount over 80 percent is due to crediting your unused sick leave.

How CSRS is Calculated

  • 1.5 percent of your “high-3” average pay, multiplied by up to 5 years of service
  • 1.75 percent of your “high-3” pay, multiplied by 5-10 years of service; and
  • 2.0 percent of your “high-3” pay, multiplied by years of service 10+

Potential CSRS Reductions: Your benefit would be reduced under any of the following conditions:

  • If you retired before age 55 (unless you retire for disability or under the special provisions for law enforcement officers, air traffic controllers, and firefighters);
  • If you didn’t make a deposit for service performed prior to October 1, 1982, during which no deductions were taken from your pay (non-deduction service after that date is not used in the computation of benefits if the deposit is not paid);
  • If you didn’t make a redeposit of a refund for a period of service that ended before October 1, 1990; or you provide for a survivor annuitant.
  • If you are married, your annuity will be reduced automatically to provide the maximum survivor annuity for your spouse, unless you and your spouse jointly agree to provide a lesser amount or none at all. Your spouse’s survivor annuity would be 55 percent of your basic annuity or any lesser amount you both agree to.

The Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program: You are eligible for health benefits as a federal employee, unless your position is excluded by law or regulation. Your agency applies these rules and will determine your eligibility. However, people in part-time or intermittent employment, temporary appointments, and specifically-named positions may receive special provisions.

Visit the Office of Personnel Management’s website for information on health benefits or contact us to learn more.

Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance (FEGLI)

FEGLI helps protect you and your family with several life insurance coverage plans. Most federal employees qualify for FEGLI, which is a group term life insurance program that offers a basic coverage level, or one of three options to increase your coverage. Unless you fit into one of several exceptions, you are automatically covered by basic life insurance with premiums deducted from your paycheck (unless you waive the coverage).

Most Common Forms to Update Beneficiaries

CSRS: SF-2808 https://www.opm.gov/forms/pdf_fill/sf2808.pdf

FERS: SF-3102 https://www.opm.gov/forms/pdf_fill/sf3102.pdf (Designation of Beneficiary for contributions not already paid for retiree)

Unpaid Compensation Designation: SF-1152 https://www.opm.gov/forms/pdf_fill/sf1152.pdf

FEGLI: SF-2823 https://www.opm.gov/forms/pdf_fill/sf2823.pdf

TSP: https://www.tsp.gov/PDF/formspubs/tsp-3.pdf

CERTIFIED SUMMARY OF FEDERAL SERVICE

FERS: https://www.opm.gov/forms/pdf_fill/sf3107.pdf (complete pages 9-10 and submit to your HR department)

CSRS: https://www.opm.gov/forms/pdf_fill/sf2801.pdf (complete pages 17-18 and submit to your HR department)

Life Insurance Election: https://www.opm.gov/forms/pdf_fill/sf2817.pdf

TSP Increase Forms: https://feducate.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/tsp-increase-form.pdf