A special retirement supplement may be paid in addition to your FERS annuity benefits. It represents what you would receive for your FERS service from the Social Security Administration and is calculated as if you were eligible to receive SSA benefits on the day you retired.
If you retire voluntarily on an immediate annuity that is not reduced for age, you may receive the FERS supplement. You may also receive it if you retired involuntarily before attaining your Minimum Retirement Age (MRA) or voluntarily because of a major reorganization, reduction-in-force, or an early retirement. However, in those three instances, you would not be eligible for the special retirement supplement until you reached your MRA.
If your annuity has a Civil Service Retirement System component, you can still receive an annuity supplement. However, you must complete one full calendar year of service subject to FERS computation rules.
If you will have a deferred benefit or an immediate MRA+10 benefit, you are not eligible for a special retirement supplement.
Eligibility for the annuity supplement continues until the earlier of:
- the last day of the month before the first month for which you would be entitled to actual Social Security benefits; or
- the last day of the month in which you reach age 62.
The supplement is computed as if you were age 62 and fully insured for a Social Security benefit when the supplement begins. The Office of Personnel Management first estimates what your full career (40 years) Social Security benefit would be. Then it will calculate the amount of your civilian service under FERS and reduce the estimated full career Social Security benefit accordingly. For example, if your estimated full career Social Security benefit would be $1,000 and you had worked 30 years under FERS, it would divide 30 by 40 (.75) and multiply the result by your estimated full career Social Security benefit ($1,000 X .75 = $750). The result would be your special retirement supplement, prior to any reductions.
Like Social Security benefits, your retirement supplement is subject to an earnings test. It is reduced if you earn more than the exempt amount of earnings (called the minimum level of earnings) in the immediately preceding year. Your supplement is reduced by $1 for every $2 of earnings over a set level ($12,000 in 2005) for those ages 62-64. It is possible that your supplement could reduce to $0. However, your FERS basic benefit will not be reduced. If you are receiving a supplement, you must report your earnings to OPM. You will receive instructions on how to report your earnings when it is required.
There is no reduction until after the first calendar year you receive the special retirement supplement. Then, your earnings during that first calendar year are compared to the Social Security minimum level of earnings for the same year. Your monthly annuity supplement in the second calendar year is then reduced by 1/12 of the excess earnings. Excess earnings are 50 percent of the amount by which your earnings exceed the Social Security minimum.
Your FERS basic benefit is not considered earnings. Your earnings for any year will consist of the sum of wages for service performed in the year, plus all net earnings from self-employment for the year, minus any net loss from self-employment for the year.