Retirement eligibility


Q. I am 59 years old. I receive a civil service retirement from my former spouse, approximately $24,000 per year. I work in the private sector and have paid into Social Security for 40 years.

I will be accepting a position in the federal government and plan to work for five years and pay the maximum I can into CSRS. I hope that, after five years, I am eligible for a small retirement from the government in addition to Social Security and my former husband’s retirement. Is this correct, or will there be caps to the amount that I can obtain from the government and Social Security?

A. The retirement system you’ll be in will be FERS, not CSRS. That said, you’ll be able to retire from the federal government when you have five years of service. You’ll be able to receive the CSRS former spouse annuity, the new FERS annuity, and a Social Security benefit based on all of your years of Social Security-covered employment.


About Author

Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to

Leave A Reply