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FERS Retirement Advice

Congress created the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) in 1986, and it became effective on January 1, 1987. Since then, new Federal civilian employees who have retirement coverage are covered by FERS.

FERS is a retirement plan that provides benefits from three different sources:

  1. Basic Benefit Plan
  2. Social Security
  3. Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)

Your agency will contribute funds towards your Social Security as well as your Basic Benefit Plan. In addition, a share will be withheld from your pay as a payroll deduction. Following retirement, these contributions will be allocated to you monthly as annuity.

If you decide to leave the Federal Government before retirement, the Social Security and TSP you have amounted will follow you to your next job. The Basic Benefit Plan will not.

Eligibility

There are four categories of benefits in the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) Basic Benefit Plan:

Eligibility is determined by your age and number of years of creditable service. In certain situations, you must reach the Minimum Retirement Age (MRA) to receive retirement benefits. Use the chart below to figure your Minimum Retirement Age.

If you were bornYour MRA is
Before 194855
In 194855 and 2 months
In 194955 and 4 months
In 195055 and 6 months
In 195155 and 8 months
In 195255 and 10 months
In 1953-196456
In 196556 and 2 months
In 196656 and 4 months
In 196756 and 6 months
In 196856 and 8 mo
In 196956 and 10 mont
In 1970 and after57

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Immediate Retirement

A FERS immediate retirement benefit is one that starts within 30 days from the date you stop working. You may qualify for an immediate retirement benefit if you meet one of the following age and service requirements. The chart below illustrates a federal retirement timeline based on your age and years of service.

AgeYears of Service
625
6020
MRA30
MRA10

If you retire at the MRA with at least 10, but less than 30 years of service, your benefit will be reduced by 5 percent a year for each year you are under 62. If you have 20 years of service you are eligible to receive benefits once you reach the age of 60.

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Early Retirement

The FERS early retirement benefit is available in certain involuntary separation cases and in cases of voluntary separations during a major reorganization or reduction in force. To be eligible, you must meet the following requirements:

AgeYears of Service
5020
Any Age25

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Deferred Retirement

If you leave federal service before you meet the age and service requirements for an immediate retirement benefit, you may be eligible for FERS Deferred Retirement benefits. Deferred Retirement refers to a delayed payment of benefit until certain criteria are met. To be eligible, you must have completed at least 5 years of creditable civilian service. You may receive benefits when you reach one of the following ages:

AgeYears of Service
625
MRA30
MRA10

If you retire at the MRA with at least 10, but less than 30 years of service, your benefit will be reduced by 5 percent a year for each year you are under 62. If you have 20 years of service you are eligible to receive benefits once you reach the age of 60.

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Disability Retirement

In order to be eligible for Disability Retirement in the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) you have at least 18 months of service.

AgeYears of Service
Any Age18 months

You must have become disabled while employed in a position subject to FERS because of a disease or injury for useful and efficient service. The disability must be expected to last at least one year. Your agency must certify that it is unable to accommodate your disabling medical condition in your present position and that it has considered you for any vacant position in the same agency at the same grade/pay level, within the same commuting area, for which you are qualified for reassignment.

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Let MyFEDBenefits Help

Whether you are filing for federal retirement under FERS or CSRS the process can be daunting. Contact a MyFEDBenefits Federal Benefits Specialist today to discuss how we can help you navigate retirement. We will answer any questions you may have as well as assist you with putting the right plan in place to achieve a comfortable retirement.

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