Posted on Thursday, 13th June 2019 by

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There are many things to consider when determining your FERS retirement benefits. If you meet certain requirements, you will receive a Special Retirement Supplement which is paid until you reach age 62. This supplement is similar to the Social Security benefit earned while you were employed by the Federal government. However, since the formula for the Special Supplement assumes a working life of 40 years, each year of FERS service is worth one-fortieth of the estimated Social Security benefit. The FERS Supplement is often significantly less than the Social Security benefit you will receive at age 62. The supplement ends at age 62 even if you elect to wait to apply for Social Security benefits.

Request a  Federal Retirement Report™  today to review your projected annuity payments, income verses expenses, FEGLI, and TSP projections

Steps to Computing the Annuity Supplement

The FERS supplement provides a level of income before age 62 similar to what the retiree will receive at age 62 as part of a Social Security benefit, if eligible for Social Security at that age. The formula for calculating the supplement is complex and they use your complete creditable service earnings history to determine your benefit.

  • A complete earnings history is compiled using the employee’s basic civil service pay under FERS and deemed wages for years of employment.
  • The earnings history is updated for inflation.
  • The supplement is calculated using the same formula that Social Security uses to compute a Social Security benefit, including the maximum reduction for early retirement under Social Security.
  • The result of the previous step is multiplied by a fraction to approximate the proportion of a full career Social Security benefit earned under FERS.

You may be eligible for a Special Retirement Supplement if you retire:

  • After the Minimum Retirement Age (MRA) with 30 years of service;
  • At age 60 with 20 years of service; or
  • Upon involuntary or early voluntary retirement (age 50 with 20 years of service, or at any age with 25 years of service) after OPM determines that your agency is undergoing a major reorganization, reduction-in-force (RIF) or transfer of function. You will not receive the Special Retirement Supplement until you reach your MRA.

If you transfer to the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) from the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), you must have at least one full calendar year of FERS-covered service to qualify for the supplement.

Retirees that have earnings from wages or self-employment that exceed the Social Security annual exempt amount ($17,640 in 2019) will see their Retirement Supplement either reduced or stopped.

You can request a Personalized 27-page Retirement Planning Report that includes a summary of your retirement benefits and income sources including the Social Security Supplement payment if warranted. Their federal retirement specialists may be able to answer all of your questions and concerns.


Helpful Retirement Planning Tools / Resources

Disclaimer:Opinions expressed herein by the author are not an investment or benefit recommendation and are not meant to be relied upon in investment or benefit decisions. The author is not acting in an investment, tax, legal, benefit, or any other advisory capacity. This is not an investment or benefit research report. The author’s opinions expressed herein address only select aspects of various federal benefits and potential investment in securities of the TSP and companies mentioned and cannot be a substitute for comprehensive investment analysis. Any analysis presented herein is illustrative in nature, limited in scope, based on an incomplete set of information, and has limitations to its accuracy. The author recommends that retirees, potential and existing investors conduct thorough investment and benefit research of their own, including detailed review of OPM guidance for benefit issues and for investments the companies’ SEC filings, and consult a qualified investment adviser. The information upon which this material is based was obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but has not been independently verified. Therefore, the author cannot guarantee its accuracy. Any opinions or estimates constitute the author’s best judgment as of the date of publication, and are subject to change without notice. The author explicitly disclaims any liability that may arise from the use of this material.

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2 Responses to “FERS Supplement Update – Are You Eligible”

  1. Sandra Yvonne Kingery Says:

    Hello, I started working at the IRS Center, Ogden, UT, the fall of 1969, when I was 18, and quit the spring of 1970. I began working at Ent AFB, Colorado Springs, CO, fall of 1970, and quit spring of 1976.
    I am now 68. I have not kept the federal government abreast of my current addresses, with respect to this through the years. Am I eligible for any benefits?
    Thank you.

  2. Dennis Damp Says:

    If you had 5 years of federal civil service creditable service you may be eligigble for a defered retirement benefit if you didn’t withdrway you retirement contributions when you left federal service. Contact OPM and they will be able to help. It would also be helpful if you had any of your paystubs or personnel actions from that time. It is difficult getting through to OPM by phone. What I do is dial their number, 888-767-6738. If its busy, I hang up and immediately click on redial, I typically get through in several minutes using this technique. Expect long wait times, I’ve waited on hold for up to 45 minutes.