CSRS and break in service


Q: 1. Early retirement at age 51 and 23 years of service — If RIF, what will be offered to me for my retirement plan? 2. CSRS versus FERS — started with government on May 8, 1985; I started with CSRS and my agency changed me to FERS, because I was informed I should have been hired with FERS. 3. Quit government — Oct. 1, 2010, through April 7, 2011; worked as a contractor. How many years and months of service should I have reflected on my OFP records? 4. Promoted to GS-13-5 in 2009 — when should I expect another step increase?

A: When you entered the government in 1985, you were placed in an interim system – CSRS and Social Security. When FERS became effective Jan. 1, 1987, you were automatically transferred to FERS because you had fewer than 5 years of CSRS-covered service. Since you are a FERS employee, if you were eligible for early retirement, your annuity would be calculated using the following formula: 0.01 x your high-3 x your total years and full months of service. (If you didn’t receive a refund of your retirement contributions when you left government, you would receive credit for all the time you’ve worked for the government. If you took a refund, you wouldn’t get any credit for that time unless you repaid the amount, plus accrued interest.) As an early retiree, you wouldn’t be subject to the age age penalty for being under age 62. You would be eligible for the special retirement supplement when you reach your minimum retirement age, which in your case would be 56. Since you were placed in step 5 of your grade, assuming satisfactory performance, your next step increase would be due after 104 weeks.


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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 fedexperts@federaltimes.com.

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