Frequently Asked Questions

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The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the personnel and payroll office in your agency will work together to process your claim. Processing can take many months, but you can help ensure it’s completed closer to your retirement date by submitting your application in advance and ensuring your Official Personnel Folder (OPF) is complete.

If you pass away, your surviving spouse will receive monthly annuity payments for life, unless they remarry before age 55. If you were married 30 years or more your spouse can remarry before 55 and still receive payments, as long as they remarried after January 1st, 1995.

Only a small portion of your monthly pension is paid by your earlier contributions; between 2% and 5% for FERS and 5% to 10% for CSRS. The balance of your pension, 90% to 98%, is taxable.

The Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) replaced the CSRS program January 1st, 1987. Employees in the CSRS plan at that time had the choice of staying in CSRS or transferring to FERS. Any new eligible Federal civilian employees from that date forward are covered by FERS. Benefits are delivered through a Basic Benefit Plan, Social Security and the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). Social Security and TSP benefits can be transferred to a new job if you leave the Federal Government before retirement. Like CSRS employees, FERS employees pay a monthly payroll contribution, and at retirement receive a monthly benefit for life.

The Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) is a benefit program for civilian employees of the Federal Government that provides retirement, disability and survivor benefits. The program was replaced in 1987 by FERS, but there are still employees on the CSRS plan. CSRS employees make a contribution from each payroll check for the plan, and at retirement receive monthly benefits for life.

Active Federal employees can retire from just part of their job responsibilities, but continue performing other job functions like mentoring and knowledge-transfer.

You may elect to provide a lifetime survivor annuity to someone with an insurable interest in you. That means someone who would reasonably suffer a financial disadvantage in the event of your death. For survivor benefit election purposes, an insurable interest is presumed to exist if you name as beneficiary of the insurable interest, like: a spouse, ex-spouse, fiance, or common-law partner, or certain blood or adopted relatives. Others may also qualify as persons with an insurable interest.

A Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) is a defined contribution investment program for Federal employees and the military that works a lot like a 401(k). Contributions are made with pre-tax dollars, and your agency will also contribute.

We offer both in-person and web-based retirement finance training.
To learn more about web-based training, click here.
To discuss designing a custom in-person training plan for your agency, click here.

You can choose! If you want in-person training in your area or for your agency, please Contact Us. We can arrange the training that best fits your needs.

Social Security benefits are based on lifetime earnings which are adjusted or to account for changes in average wages since the year they were earned. The calculation only uses your 35 top-earning years.

Retirement eligibility is based on your age and the number of years of creditable service you’ve performed. In some cases you have to reach your Minimum Retirement Age (MRA) which varies depending on the year you were born. Visit to learn more:

FERS employees can retire at age 62 with 5 years of service, 60 with 20, or at minimum retirement age (MRA) with 30. You can also retire under MRA+10 but your annual benefit will be reduced 5% for every year you’re under age 60 at retirement. The annuity starts the month following the month in which you retire. If you retire before October 31st, for instance, your annuity will begin in November.
CSRS employees can retire at age 62 with 5 years of service, 60 with 20, or 55 with 30. You don’t have to retire before the first day of the month; you can retire up to the third day of the month and still receive your annuity for that month. That month’s annuity will be prorated for the days you wait.
For annuity purposes, OPM divides the year into 12 30-day months so your monthly annuity payments will be the same. They don’t increase or decrease based on the actual length of a particular month. So, to prorate your first month, the one, two, or three days you wait to retire will be subtracted from 30.

Unused Sick Leave under both CSRS and FERS can be used to increase your total creditable service for computing your annuity. FERS employees who retired before 2014 only received credit for half their sick time.

You can keep your existing health benefits under the following conditions:

1. You’re enrolled in a Federal health care insurance plan when you retire
2. You’ve been continuously covered by a Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHB) program, TRICARE, or Civilian Health and Medical Program for Uniformed Services (CHAMPUS) plan for 5 years immediately before retiring; throughout your Federal employment since your first enrollment opportunity; or continuously for full periods of service beginning with the enrollment that started before January 1, 1965, and ending with the date on which you become an annuitant, whichever is shortest.
Your annuity payments start within 30 days

If you’re retiring under FERS Minimum Retirement Age Plus 10 (MRA+10), your life insurance and health care coverage will be suspended until your annuity starts.

Yes, so long as you were enrolled in FEGLI for the five years leading up to your retirement, or from your earliest opportunity to enroll. But remember, FEGLI gets more expensive as you get older, so you may save if you buy coverage from a private sector provider.

That just might be the most important question to ask. And the answer depends on more than just your age. It’s important to have a real understanding not only of what daily living is going to cost you during retirement, but how much things like health insurance, transportation, and medications might cost. You should know how much of your retirement income will be taxable, and at what rate.
There are some exercises you can do to get a sense of what those answers might be, and we can show you how to do that in our training courses. But you should also look for a financial advisor who understands the Federal retirement system, and can help build a real retirement plan designed just for you. Find out how we can help.


Contacts us today to find out how easy and effective training can be.

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