Expert's View

Reg Jones

This is a transitional period with a new administration and a new Congress looking at potential changes in a host of areas, potentially including federal employment and retirement benefits.

To help everyone better understand what’s at stake in that discussion, I thought it would be a good idea to address the most common questions about federal retirement annuities and the health insurance and life insurance benefits available to retirees.

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In my humble opinion (IMHO, for those of you who prefer that version) these are:

What are the age and service requirements for a CSRS employee to retire and what is the annuity worth?

What are the age and service requirements for a FERS employee to retire and what is the annuity worth?

What are the requirements for me to carry my FEHB coverage into retirement?

What are the requirements for me to carry my FEGLI coverage into retirement?

Over the next four weeks we’ll look at each in turn, starting with the first.

If you are a CSRS employee, you can retire when you have one of the following combinations for age and service:

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Age 60 with 20 years of service, or age 55 with 30 years of service.

However, the age and service rules are changed if your agency is undergoing such things as a reduction-in-force or a reorganization and you have received a formal notice that your job may be affected by that action.

If that’s the case, you can retire early with the following combination of age and service: Age 50 with 20 years of service or at any age with 25 years of service.

Regardless of the way in which you meet the eligibility criteria for retirement, your annuity will be computed using a formula that includes the average of your highest three consecutive years of pay (your high-3) and your years of creditable service:

1.5 percent X your high-3 x 5 years of service, plus

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1.75 percent X your high-3 X 5 years of service, plus

2.0 X your high-3 X all remaining years of service

In addition to your annuity, you will also be entitled to annual cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) each January. The first adjustment will be proportional to the amount of time you were on the annuity roll by that point; those afterward will be for the full amount as determined by an inflation index.

Immediate Retirement – CSRS & CSRS Offset

To the Maximum and Beyond under CSRS

FERS & CSRS: What Happens to Your Annuity if You Come Back?

CSRS & FERS: Is Buying Back Military Time Worth it?

Pandemic Bill Becomes First Vehicle for Possible Federal Workplace Changes

TSP Investors Handbook, New 7th Edition