Retirement benefits


Q. I am a CSRS retiree. How much of my retirement for the first few months come from what I paid in and how much from the retirement fund?

A. Whether you are a CSRS or a FERS retiree, 100 percent of the money you receive in your annuity will come from your own contributions to the retirement fund. Only when that money runs out will you begin receiving the government’s money.


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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


  1. I thought actuarial tables were used to spread the post-tax employee contribution over the employee’s projected lifespan. This portion is tax-free income, no?

    • Two different laws are at work here. One law says that a retiree will receive his own contributions first. Only when those run put will he begin receiving the government’s money. The other law, which came later, says that for tax purposes, the retiree’s contributions -which have already been taxed – will be spread out according to his projected life span. That portion is tax free.

      • So if I die after receiving all my contributions but before the tax free portion runs out, what happens to the tax credits for the remainder?

        • Nothing. There aren’t any credits. Actuarial projections at every age level are developed for an entire population. Some people live shorter lives and some longer.

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