Getting annuity to match working pay


Q. I am a CSRS employee. At what number of years of service do one’s take-home retirement and working pay become equal?

A. They don’t. If you work for 41 years and 11 months, you would be entitled to the maximum earned annuity, which is 80 percent of your high-3. For every month of unused sick leave (174 hours), you can add one-sixth of 1 percent to that amount (2 percent per year). If you work beyond 41 years and 11 months, any excess contributions would be returned to you with the option of buying additional annuity, which, like unused sick leave, isn’t subject to the 80 percent limit. Every $100 would buy you $7 a year of additional annuity if you are age 55 when you retire and 20 cents more for each year you are past 55. As you can see, your goal of working long enough to have you annuity match your income is unattainable.


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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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