Block 19


Q. The definitions on the web for block 19 “cumulative retirement” only defines it, which to me has absolutely no meaning since it does not also state what happens to that amount once you do retire. Is that an initial retirement “seed money” or what? What happens to it?

A. That’s a record of your contributions to the retirement fund. It only becomes important if you 1) resign from the government and ask for a refund of your contributions or 2) retire. In the latter case, it will be included in a formula used to determine how much of your annuity will be tax free. See IRS Publication 721 for an explanation of how that is done.


About Author

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


  1. I hired on to the Federal Government after 31 December 1983 when CSRS ended and before 1 January 1987 when FERS began. I was thus hired during the so-called “CSRS-Interim” period for the retirement system. I was a new hire so I did not have 5 years of CSRS vested. Hence, on 1 January 1987 all retirement earned on my CSRS-Interim retirement was automatically converted to FERS retirement.

    On my current LES in block 19 there is a Cumulative Retirement amount for FERS. Does some of this amount include that from the CSRS-Interim period and is added into this amount that is in Block 19? Alternatively, is this handled a different way? Was the FERS Cumulative Retirement Amount started at zero on 1 January 1987? Or did it start with an amount that was the sum of all contributed under the CRSR-Interim?

    I have been employed at the same place for my entire career. This information is not in my eOPF files. They do not have LES statements. The OPM does not have LES statements before 1997.

    I don’t know how this Cumulative Retirement was handled during the conversion and how to check it.

    • The deductions taken from your CSRS-Interim pay were identical to those later taken from your FERS pay when that system went on line.

  2. Dear Reg Jones,

    Thanks for that very clear answer and quick reply. That makes sense.

    Perhaps I can ask another question in a clearer and more straightforward way.
    When I look at the LES Block 19 Cumulative Retirement FERS:$xxxx does this amount include the amount contributed from the CSRS-Interim period as well as the FERS. Or does it only show the amount contributed after the FERS system started. Also, is there a way to check on this for accuracy? I have only been at one institution in the Federal Government so I should have only been with one pay center my entire career.


    • It should include both. However, the only way to find out for sure is to check with your agency’s payroll office.

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