Eligible for CSRS?

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Q. I was put under FERS when I joined the federal government as a civilian employee in 1994. At the time, it appeared to make sense given that FERS was created in 1987 and all new federal employees were put into FERS.  However, it looks like it is possible that I was eligible for CSRS when I was first hired.

I was in the military from 1981 to 1990, which included more than five years of service when FERS was created in 1987.  My federal employer probably decided that since this was military service, not civilian service, I was not eligible for CSRS.  (I paid the required fees to have that military service credited to FERS.)

Was this correct? Should I have been given the option of selecting CSRS? I have read that my military service was “creditable” as “civilian service” as defined under the Federal Erroneous Retirement Coverage Corrections Act.

A. No, you were never eligible for CSRS coverage. To have been eligible, you would have had to have five years of actual service under CSRS before Jan. 1, 1987.

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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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