Q: Some lawmakers propose that CSRS and FERS employees contribute more to the cost of their pensions, specifically 50 percent of the cost. As a CSRS employee, I contribute 7 percent of my base pay to the retirement system. My pay stub reflects the dollar amount of that contribution. It also shows the federal government pays in the same dollar amount. If CSRS employees and the federal goverment each chip in the same amount to the pension fund every pay period, aren’t we already paying 50 percent of the cost? Can you explain why we should be contributing as much as 12.5 percent of our salary as some lawmakers say we should?
A: While you and your agency are contributing the same amount to the retirement fund, that total doesn’t cover the cost. In part, that’s because of the increased life span of retirees. On average, the money that was contributed to pay for those annuities runs out before the benefits end.