Reviewing CSRS Retirement Eligibility

The portion of the federal workforce covered by CSRS is shrinking steadily as those employees hit retirement eligibility. Eligibility is not just a matter of age, however, it’s a matter of age and years of service.

If you are a CSRS employee, you can retire on an immediate unreduced annuity with the following combinations of age and service:
* 62 with 5
* 60 with 20
* 55 with 30

If your agency is offering early retirement opportunities under the Voluntary Early Retirement Authority (VERA), you can retire with the following combinations of age and service:
* 50 with 20
* at any age with 25

If you retire before age 55, your annuity will be reduced by 2 percent for every year (1/6 of 1 percent per month) that you are under age 55. That applies to relatively few CSRS retirees these days, since that system was closed to new enrollees as of 1984.

Regardless of your age at retirement, you will be entitled after retirement to receive any cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) that are added to CSRS retiree annuities.

With one exception, the rules governing CSRS Offset employees are the same as those for regular CSRS employees. Here’s the exception. At age 62 your CSRS annuity (or at retirement, if later) will be reduced by the amount of Social Security benefit you earned while a CSRS Offset employee.

That reduction will occur whether or not you apply for a Social Security benefit, so be sure to apply for Social Security at 62 or at retirement, if later.