Federal Employees Retirement System – Will Look After You!

Federal Employees Retirement SystemLiving in the United States of America, when you work for the Government all your life, your Government is going to look after you! Through your Federal Employees Retirement Serviceannuity, of course.

When you finally retire after a lifetime of service, the Government pays you back with the chance to relax and enjoy yourself after your retirement. However, before you finally retire, it is very important that you know exactly of the benefits you are going to get from your employers, so that you can plan your leisure accordingly.

Knowing the amount you are going to get after retirement can help you plan for a future when you are not going to have any active income, but you should also be able to maintain your current lifestyle.

Start thinking about your Retirement Way Ahead

A week before you retire is not the right time to think about the inevitable! Way before you are actually about to retire, you need to know all the details of your Federal Employees Retirement Service, especially about the amount you can expect from your Government for the rest of your life.

This will help you to tie up any loose strings of your life, i.e. mortgage, college tuitions, car loan payment, and make an estimate of your lifestyle after retirement.

What is the Federal Employees Retirement System?

The Federal Employees Retirement System, or the FERS, is the system that makes sure your retirement days are relaxing and free from worries. As of January 1, 1987 the FERS had planned effective retirement annuity of all Federal employees hired after December 31, 1983.

This is a simple, three-tiered concept, consisting of the following benefits:

  • Social Security Benefits,
  • Basic Benefits and
  • Thrift Savings Plans.

1. Social Security Benefits

Under the nationwide program of the Old-Age Survivors and Disability Insurance (OASDI), Federal Employees are entitled to earn a portion of their old income that they are unable to work for in the future. This means that, if you retire due to your age or a disability, you are still going to earn (although a portion of it) your deserved income. This is a part of your social Security Benefits.

These benefits are available to every Federal Employee if they retire at the age of 62 or if you become completely disabled during your job. You will also receive a hefty lump sum on your death upon retirement on these bases, and your surviving family will also receive monthly benefits for an allotted time. However, to be eligible for this benefit, you need to pay your Social Security taxes for the time required by the state.

2. Basic Benefits

Every federal employee is eligible for basic benefits if they’re also covered by FERS or if they have transferred from CSRS, which is the Civil Service Retirement System. Any employee who has been employed by the Government for at least 5 years are eligible for this benefit, as are employees who have retired after 18 months of service due to disability.

Basic benefit is calculated the same way as any other retirement annuity in the United States, based on the “high-3 average pay” of a person, i.e. the average of a person’s basic pay over 3 consecutive years of their lives when they had been paid the most during their service.

Your surviving spouse is the chief recipient of your annuity after your death, or if you have passed away while in service. However, the marriage has to be of 9 months or more to be eligible for basic benefits; your surviving children will receive the annuity until they are 18 years old or if they continue to be a student until they are 22 years old.

3. Thrift Savings Plan

Finally, the thrift Savings Plan of your retirement system, which gives you the opportunity to save a portion of your earnings while you are in service. While you are working for the Government, you can save a portion of your monthly or yearly income to receive later; you can control this amount by saving more or less of your income than others.

You will also be able to invest this amount or keep it in a fixed savings deposit, and you can also determine the manner you want your money to be paid out when you need it later. All employees of the US Government who are eligible for FERS can take part in the Thrift Savings Plan.

It is a voluntary benefit service that can be available at any time during your service, even at the beginning of your career. You can also take a loan from your own Thrift Savings Plan if you have more than $1,000 saved in it; you can apply for both a General Loan and a Residential Loan.

You cannot withdraw from this savings Plan until a specific number of years, or until you separate yourself from your Federal Career, i.e. until you leave your job. If your savings is less than or equal to $3,500 when you leave your job, the entire amount will be paid to you in a single transfer. Alternately, you can choose any other payment option for your saved amount.

Federal employee minimum retirement age:

Whenever you decide to retire,your age will determine your retirement options. Based on your age and your birth year, you can fall in one of three retirement options: immediate, deferred or early.

However, in some of the cases, you must reach the Federal Minimum Requirement Age or MRA to receive any kind of benefits from your retirement plan. You can see all the different types of Minimum Retirement Age (MRA) in the table I have produced below.

Minimum Retirement Age for Federal Employees

SerialBorn InMRA Is
1Before 1948
55 Years
2194855 Years 2 months
3194955 Years and 4 months
4195055 Years and 4 months
5195155 Years and 8 months
6195255 Years and 10 months
71953 through 196456 Years
8196556 Years and 2 months
9196656 Years and 4 months
10196756 Years and 6 months
11196856 Years and 8 months
12196956 Years and 10
131970 and After57 Years

Immediate or Postponed

You will be eligible for an immediate or postponed retirement plan if you meet at least one of the following criteria: i.e. if you are of 62 years old and have been in service for at least 5 years, if you are 60 years old and have been in service for at least 20 years, if you fulfill the Minimum Retirement Age (MRA) and have been in service for at least 30 years and finally, if you fulfil the MRA and have been in service for at least 10 years.

SerialAgeYear of Service
However, for the last MRA requirement, you benefit plan can be reduced.


You will be eligible for a deferred retirement plan if you happen to leave Federal Service, for any number of reasons, before you meet the Minimum Retirement Age (MRA). If this is the case, you won’t be automatically eligible for an immediate retirement plan, but a slightly different deferred one.

To be eligible for this retirement plan, you’ll need to have completed at least 5 years in the civilian service. The remaining requirements are explained in the table below.

SerialAgeYear of Service
For the last requirement, your benefits might be reduced unless your receipt has been delayed to lessen the reduction in age.


You will be eligible for the Early Retirement plan if you have faced both involuntary and voluntary separation from your force from one of the most major organizations of the United States of America. This plan is also available in there has been a reduction in force.

To be eligible for the Early Retirement plan, you need to be a least 50 years of age and have been in service for a minimum or 20 years, or if you have been in service for at least 25 years at any age of your life.

SerialAgeYear of Service
2Any Age25
**Reduced benefit refers to when you retire at Minimum Retirement Age (MRA) but with at least 10 years spend in service (any time less than 30 years). For this, your benefit will be reduced by 5/12’s of 1% for any number of months you have left under the retirement age of 62. Of course, this is unless you have spent 20 years in the service and you are under 62 years of age.
This can be avoided if you just postpone the date of your annuity.

For any other Employees

Firefighters, Air Traffic Controllers and Law enforcement officers are eligible for their retirement benefits at the age of 50 after at least 20 years or service, or during any time of their life before 50, with 25 years of service. Their annuity is also calculated based on their “high-3 average pay” throughout their lifetime.

Military technicians retire with a generous annuity after 25 years of service at the age of 50. Part time employees of the United States Government receives their benefit based on the rates received by the full-timers of their profession.

Members and other employees of the Congress also officially retire at the age of 50, after at least 20 years of service (or, 25 years of service at any age). Their “high-3 average pay” is undoubtedly higher than any other employees of the Federal Government.

The United States Government ensures that her employees are not left in despair or need even after their retirement.Through the FERS, Federal Employees can maintain their lifestyle after retiring from their jobs, both from their own savings and from annuity received from the government.

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