Applying for CSRS years after a RIF


Q. My husband and I were both hit with reductions in force (RIFs) in 1997 due to base realignments, and while I managed to return to civil service, he did not.  Both of us were on CSRS, and I am still covered by CSRS.

Is there any way we can accurately determine what his CSRS benefits would be in advance of applying for retirement?  And how do we apply for CSRS retirement when there’s been such a long break in service?

A. Assuming that he had at least five years of service and didn’t receive a refund of his retirement contributions, he’d be entitled to an annuity at age 62. To figure out what he’d receive, use the following formula:

.015 x his high-3 x 5 years of service, +

.0175 x his high-3 x 5 years of service, +

.02 x his high-3 x all remaining years and full months of service.

His high-3 would be the average of  his highest three consecutive years of basic pay when he left government. If he doesn’t know the exact amount, he’ll have to estimate what it would be.

Two months before he reaches age 62, he should complete a copy of Standard Form 2801 (available at and send it to the address on the form.


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