FERS account balance

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Q. I am rather new to civil service and am not well-versed at finding information on my FERS retirement account. I see deductions from my check on my leave and earnings statement and the current balance. However, I also see contributions made by the government on my behalf are going into my account.

The balance for my contributions is clearly found; the balance on the account to include the contributions made by the government on my behalf is not. Combined contribution amounts should make the overall amount in my account considerably more than what it shows on my LES. Please tell me how I can find out the total amount of my FERS retirement account.

A. While the government does make contributions to employee retirement accounts, the amount is never included in their pay statements because it’s irrelevant. If you were to leave government and ask for a refund, all you’d receive is your own contributions, not the government’s. And if you retired, you’d receive an annuity based on your highest three years of average salary, not what you contributed to the retirement fund. Finally, federal taxes on that annuity would be actuarially based on the amount of your contributions alone.

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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.

14 Comments

  1. Tori Atchison on

    My husband has worked for the Federal Govt since 03/23/2014. He now has to retire due to medical reasons. Is he eligible to receive any of the cumulative retirement listed under category 19?

    • I have no idea what category 19 is. However, since he has at least 18 months of service, he can apply for disability retirement and, if approved, receive a disability annuity. His personnel office can help him through the application process.

  2. I’ve been separated from Federal Service for 10 years and just turned 62. How do I find out how many credits I earned and whether I’m eligible for monthly payments? Also, I have no idea how much I contributed in the event I want to withdraw it. Thank you.

    • Were you covered by CSRS or FERS? How many years and full months of service did you have when you left government?

  3. I worked for the federal government from 1987 to 1999 under the FERS/TSP/SS plan. I rolled my TSP over to an IRA when I left but did not touch my FERS. I’m currently 52 and understand that I could receive a retirement benefit from the FERS portion as early as age 56 with a 30% reduction or a full benefit at age 62. I have an option with my current employer to purchase “years” in their system (a state retirement plan) but they require I cash out my FERS to do so. What I need to be able to find out is my current FERS balance to see how much I would have from that to use towards purchase of years in my current system?
    Thanks for your assistance.

    • I’ve never seen that before. At a guess, it’s an abbreviation or CURRENT. I so, it would apply to your current salary or current pay to date.

  4. I worked for 2.5 years in civil service and at the time I just left the balance of my FERS contributions alone as I thought I might go back to the job in the future. I have been trying to find out what the contribution balance is of my FERS Account. When I call OPM I get told there is no way to identify the balance as I am not actively in civil service and can not get it unless I with draw it. Not impressed. Not too sure that is the true. How can I find out the contribution balance and do I actually have to with draw it to do so?

  5. A friend of mine works for SS and said she accesses a site as often as she would like which tells her how much she has in her FERS account. I have had retirement estimates done in the past but have never known of a site I can go to myself. Can you help?

    • No, I can’t. I wasn’t aware that there was a site you could go to. Please ask your friend where she goes and share that information with me.

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