RIF and special retirement supplement


Q. I entered the federal workforce on Dec. 12, 1983. I transferred to the FERS retirement plan on June 1988. My Air Force agency is doing a reduction in force this month. I will have 28½ years time in grade and short of three months of my high-3 grade as a GS-13 (Oct. 10, 2012).

Congress is talking about doing away with the supplemental income for everyone (That was one reason I switched from CSRS to FERS).

I am short of my 30 years of service, but I turned 50 years old in March. (So I am too young to retire.)

1) What will I receive if I get RIF?

2) What would I gain and what would I lose?

3) Can Congress take away my supplemental income because this was in my “promise of contract” for me to switch from CSRS to FERS?  It seems they cannot take this away for the federal employees who switched over.  Everyone else should not have a leg to stand on.

A. If you are separated through a reduction in force, here’s what you would gain: You’d be able to retire and receive an unreduced annuity based on your 30 years of service. By unreduced, I mean that your annuity wouldn’t be reduced by 5 percent for every year you were under your minimum retirement age.

What you’d lose are: 1) the additional years six years of service that would be used in the computation of your annuity if you worked until your MRA; and 2) you wouldn’t be eligible for the special retirement supplement until you reach your MRA.

Yes, Congress could take away the special retirement supplement because Congress can do anything it wants to, and the president could even sign such a bill. However, it’s too early to tell if either of them would do that.


About Author

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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