Annuity contribution limit for CSRS employees


Q. I’m told employees stop getting the government contribution to their retirement at 41 years, 1 month, of service, but can get a lump sum when they retire. This doesn’t quite make sense to me. Is there any other option? I will reach this much service time in February 2012. I am age 67, in the Civil Service Retirement System, and plan on continuing to work.

A. Here’s the story. When a CSRS-covered employee has worked for 41 years and 11 months, he’s earned the maximum annuity based on actual service that’s allowed under law: 80 percent of his high-3. Although retirement deductions continue to be taken from his pay, they will be returned to him, with interest, and he will have the option of accepting the payment or using it to buy additional annuity that isn’t subject to the 80 percent limit. Note: Credit for unused sick leave also isn’t subject to the 80 percent limit.


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Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to

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