FERs annuity supplement

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Q. I read this statement: “Eliminate the FERS annuity supplement for eligible employees retiring 2018 and beyond.” Does this refer to fiscal 2018, starting in October 2017; or calendar year 2018, starting in January 2018?

A. If this were to become law, it would apply to all employees retiring after Dec. 31, 2017.

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About Author

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

81 Comments

  1. Lori Kunellis on

    I felt so much better after reading your response to the question above. Then I ran across an article today in Government Executive at http://www.govexec.com/pay-benefits/2017/07/house-gop-takes-cue-trump-targets-federal-retirement/139532/?oref=govexec_breaking_alert said that “Trump planned to increase employee retirement contributions by 1 percentage point annually for six years and do away with annuity payments for everyone retiring after Oct. 1, 2017”. I am planning on retiring on December 29, but could leave September 30 only if absolutely necessary. How can one know for sure which date (Oct 1 or Jan 1) would be the actual effective date for this change?

    • You can’t know for sure. However, there’s a yawning gap between what presidents propose and what eventually happens. If such a change were to become law, you’d know it in time to retire before it became effective.

    • Keep this in mind if your last day of work is September 30th than your first day of FERS retirement is October 1, 2017 and if you retire December 29, 2017 your first day of FERS retirement is January 1, 2018. Remember Reg answered ” If this were to become law, it would apply to all employees retiring after Dec. 31, 2017″

  2. Jimmy, your comments only further confuse me. The change, should it happen, would affect those retiring ON or AFTER October 1 2017 or ON or AFTER January 1, 2018, so, if my retirement date is September 30, 2017 or December 29, 2017 before the change takes effect, it won’t affect me. Thank you.

      • Thank you for all of your responses. Your knowledge and honesty on all topics of importance to federal employees is appreciated.

        • Lori, have you decided when you’re walking away? This has definitely gave me the answers I’ve been looking for.

          • Hi Steve. My 5-year plan has been to retire on December 29 at 56 with 32 years, 10 months of service. However, if this mess were to pass and be effective Oct 1, I would no doubt retire on September 30. With the severe understaffing and mounting workloads, I honestly don’t think I could handle the stress for another 6 years. It’s just not in my DNA.

            If you’re Firefighter Steve (below), thank you for your service. Just my 2-cents though on your comment about when to leave. If you wait until Jan 8 to retire, you won’t get an annuity check until March. If you leave by December 31, while you would not earn annual or sick that pay period, and would lose one week’s pay, you would at least get your first annuity check in February. Difficult decision. Good luck in your retirement!

      • Reg, I would like to clear up for myself and others the actual retirement date. Under FERS, regardless which day I choose to be my last work day, the 1st of the following month is my official retirement date. For example: December 29, 2017, my first day officially retired would be January 1, 2018. Is this correct?

  3. I’m a federal firefighter with 31 years on the job. I feel like I’m being forced out, and can’t afford to lose the supplemental. Just like Lori’s comment I’m concerned. If I wait until December to retire (last pay period ends I believe is January 8th) Anytime during that week before the pay period ends I will be ok?

    • Since no law has been passed that would set a time after which it would be effective, there’s no way to answer your question. Keep tuned in and, if the law were to pass – leave before it becomes effective.

      • I am exactly the same as Steve, firefighter 31 years on the job and I am 50 years old so
        I have the same questions. I have a question about the process of implementing the budget. So the way I understand it is that it passed yesterday. Now is it final as is or does it now have to be tweaked and adjusted? The SRS is a huge part of our retirement, if it is taken from us if we stay past 2018 probably 30% of my department will retire. I would imagine it will be the same in other areas as well. Just want t o be prepared.

  4. I retired as a federal firefighter in Jan 2012 and have been working as a fire Inspector for the state of Wis since and i am 56 years and after that i know i can only make 16920 dollars and keep srs i f i work 1 extra year i know i would lose my srs but if i do does my srs automaically reinstate after i work that extra year or do i lose my srs forever

    • If you exceeded the earnings limit in one year and were under age 62 when they fell below the limit in the following one, the SRS would be reinstated.

  5. Jeffrey Sewell on

    I don’t mean to kick a dead horse, but just so I understand this SRS, I am a retiring BOP employee, and I put in my retirement paperwork for a date of DEC 31, 2017, will I be OK with receiving my SRS, or should I move up my retirement date. I can go as soon as September 29, but was trying to get the max on my A/L payout.

    • You are asking me to predict the future, which I can’t do. You’ll just have to keep your eyes and ears open.

  6. Anthony Spadaccini on

    The “Fake Annuity Supplement”…. Never paid out; but offered to The Federal Work-Force. What Can be more Fake than that

    • What are you talking about? The special retirement supplement has been paid – and is still being paid – to tens of thousands of former FERS employees who retired on an immediate annuity before age 62 and haven’t had earnings from wages or self employment that exceeded the annual Social Security earnings limit.

  7. I retired Dec 31, 2013 on an early out with 32yrs and 8mos at age 51. I have been waiting since then (2013), for the FERS supplement. I will turn 56yrs old in March of 2018. Back in 2014, OPM staff promised me that I would get my first supplemental check on April 1, 2018. Just the thought that in the summer of 2017, I find out there will be or could be no FERS supplement after January 2018, just feels like such a major betrayal. It’s so wrong and completely unfair.

    • If such a change in law were to occur, ti’s likely that it would apply only to those who retire after the law is passed.

  8. I’m a law enforcement employee with the BOP planning to retire on Dec.31, 2017. Is my retirement effective date Dec.31 2017, or Jan 1, 2018? Getting conflicting answers. Thanks

  9. I like most of you, am on the ‘edge’. I am 57 with 30+ years service. The SRS is a big part of my retirement plan. The ‘unknowns’ are the hardest. I wasn’t made aware of the proposed changes until last week. The thought of leaving my job in the next few months is frightening, but even more frightening is the thought of losing $1218 9my SRS) a month for the next 5 years. I have done a plethora of research, and as “Jimmy” states, these are proposed changes. The Republican Subcommittee (RSC) has submitted their proposal, and it passed the House on 27 July 17. The Senate still has to vote. If passed, the effective date ‘could’ be 1 Oct 17 and become the NDAA 2018. Based on ‘loose’ wording in the proposal, these changes ‘could’ be implemented in CY 2018. That would mean, that if all recommendations are passed, I would need to retire NLT 31 Oct 2017. This would give me a retirement date of 1 Nov 2017, and my 1st annuity check on/about 1-2 Dec 2017. Again, there could be some phased in timelines, there could be some changes in some/all the proposals; etc. Personally, I’m not willing to gamble with $1218 a month (my SRS). My organization has many folks like myself that will depart in mass exodus. Is that really what Congress/President intended? I honestly do not think the impacts of this were part of the consideration. Most federal employees don’t even know about the SRS. Also, most are not affected due to prior military; not enough years to retire; etc. It is folks like me, that are right now ready, that are effected the most. Hope this helps???

    • Thanks for sharing your this with us. These are uncertain times, and it’s better to be prepared than to be blindsided.

      • Reg, since you didn’t correct Deedie, I am more confused than ever. Isn’t Retiring on October 31, the actual retirement date, with the first day of your annuity beginning November 1????? How would retirement on October 31, translate to retirement beginning on November 1, and the annuity beginning on December 1???? I’m an Air Traffic Controller, and unless it’s different for us, none of that makes sense.

        I was always told that if you retire on or near the last day of one month, your annuity begins the first day of the very next month.

        Lastly, I’ve gotten 2 different answers about retirement on sept 30, vs. the supplement elimination. The BOC advisor said if your annuity starts October 1, then you’d lose the supplement, if it also began October 1. Almost everyone else says, if you retire sept 30, you got out before it was eliminated, and therefore are safe from losing it. What is your opinion? If I’m in jeopardy, I’m going to leave August 31, so a timely answer would be greatly appreciated!!

        • When I wrote that response, I was basing it on an expected effective date of January 1, 2018. No one knows if the current proposal will become law and, if it does, what the effective date would be. Normally, such a law would apply to someone retiring on or after a specific date. If that were the case, someone retiring on October 31 (or December 31) would be exempt from the provision affecting the special retirement supplement.

          • That helps… if the actual date of retirement is ON or AFTER the date that it goes into effect, then September 30 sounds like it would be safe either way (a worst case October 1 implementation, or a January 1,2018 effective date).
            Thank you very much.

    • I’m not sure how you determined your dates; however, it is my understanding that IF it does pass, and IF it were to be effective January 1, 2018, I will still be able to retire, as planned, on December 29, 2017, and still receive the supplement. It would only affect those who retire on or after January 1, 2018. IF it were to be effective October 1, 2017, I would retire September 30, 2017, and still receive the supplement, as I would have retired before it became effective. At least this is my understanding from everything I have read up to this point.

      I, like everyone else, have been paying close attention to every article published since it all started, and will be the first one out the door if it passes. All we can do it sit and wait.

      • Lori, it would be better for you to separate (retire) on 31 December, as you will get a couple of days more pay. Your annuity will start the first day of the month following your retirement. This is true whether your retirement date is on 15 December or 31 December.

        • Thanks, but I don’t think changing my date to the 31st (adding Saturday and Sunday) will make any difference in my annuity. If it did, it wouldn’t make that much difference.

        • In addition, 1 month of pension equals 30 days. If you have extra sick days leave saved up, this would solve this problem. For example, you have 30 years and 29 days total actual service and 1 day represented by sick leave. This would equal 30 years and 1 month of pension annuity.

  10. I too am waiting for the outcome. I although, submitted my package to retire on 30 September. I wanted to make sure I would not loose this supplement. You need to give ample time for the processing of your package, so if it’s not submitted, they might not have enough time to process it.

    You can always pull your package if the bill does not pass

  11. Greetings to All of you… My name is Molly and my 51 year old husband Steve (32 years Federal FF) left a comment a few weeks ago. We are so completely confused about this whole mess, and NOBODY in the Retirement world that he can talk to has any answers and has even played ‘clueless’ to this very subject!!!! But, the one thing we are clear on is getting your Retirement papers in NOW so you are ready if you have to jump!!

    We do have a question about the ‘yawning gap’ that Reg mentioned a while back… What does this mean exactly??? Please advise.

    We really appreciate all of the post… PLEASE keep voicing any updates that come your way. We promise to do the same.

    • Currently, if a FERS employee retires before age 62, he receives a special retirement supplement, which approximates the amount of Social Security benefit he earned while a FERS employee. If the SRS were to be eliminated, it would create an income gap that would be hard to fill. No one knows if the proposal to eliminate the SRS will become law nor, if it does, when it would become effective.

  12. I receive owcp payment and ssdi how will it affect my open later at 62 yrs old. I told ssi to stop my checks. I am scared of overpayments.I will pay my Medicare out of pocket. I did immediate retirement from federal service. I was on owcp at the time. They however approved my disability retirement from my job.

  13. The ABC-C website does have a form titled ‘Date of Retirement Change or Withdrawal’. It is a one page form and you need to attach the first page of your retirement application. You can mail or fax the form to ABC-C at Ft. Riley.

      • I work for the Army and have submitted my application for a retirement date of 31 December. If the special retirement supplement is eliminated starting on 1 October then I’ll fax in my change of retirement date to 30 September. My situation is complicated because we are in Germany and will retire here.

  14. very worried about the SS supp getting taken away. I am planning to retire next May. It just seems unreal to me that they would think about taking it away from people who are within a year or 2 or retirement. If they need to take it away, eliminate it from new hires!!!

    • I agree, However, we’ll just have to see if anything happens on this front. A budget proposal is only that; not a fact.

  15. Will you be posting the outcome of this? Not sure when they are coming back into session, and even if this will be a topic with all other matters taking precedence.

  16. Is there any possibility they could pass this bill with a retroactive effective date? I plan on retiring on November 3. If they are still deliberating at that time, could they pass a bill, perhaps in December, with an October 1 effective date? That would leave me out of a job and out of a third of my planned retirement income. Is there a link to where we could read the exact language of these proposals?

  17. Since this was announced yesterday, “Congress would extend the nation’s borrowing limit and fund government operations until mid-December”

    I can assume we now have until mid December before the thought of the SRS being eliminated, if at all. So next thing to consider, if you don’t plan on retiring EOM September, since the budget has been extended, you will need to retire EOM November 2017.

    Am I interpreting this correctly?

  18. I don’t think the two are connected. Actually in this case gridlock would be our friend, because if the government were shutdown there would be even less time to work on legislation. Right now Congress has around 44 days scheduled through December. That isn’t much time and they have a lot of higher priorities than making changes to the federal retirement system.

  19. I have set my retirement date as Dec 30, but that means my effective date will be Jan 1. Do I risk being kneecapped by SRS being eliminated in 2018? Should I set an earlier retirement date to be safe, like Dec 20?

    • Unfortunately, my crystal ball is broken, so I can’t answer your question. You’ll just have to be vigilant and set your retirement date based on what is included in any upcoming legislation and – more importantly – passed by the Congress.

  20. I too am patiently waiting for what is happening. We don’t even know if this bill is going to be passed in December. I plan on retiring 31 March, but if the bill passes between now and that date, I will be changing my retirement date to whatever the effective date will be.

  21. Am I correct to assume that since we past the end of the fiscal year on 9/30/2017, that they can not make this law retroactive? My plan is to retire 12/31/2018, so the further I can get down the road the better.

  22. What I just read…
    The House passed a 2018 budget resolution that sets the stage for Congress to make billions of dollars in cuts to federal retirement.
    The resolution includes “reconciliation instructions,” which charges the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to develop legislative proposals to reduce the federal deficit by $32 billion over 10 years through reforms to civil service pensions which include
    • Higher employee contributions to the federal defined benefit pension plan;
    • An elimination of supplemental payments to employees who retire before age 62;
    • A switch to a defined contribution pension plan for new federal employees.
    If the House passes the budget resolution, which it is expected to do Thursday, it would allow Republicans to advance a tax reform bill through the reconciliation process.

    • With a set retirement date of 12/23/2017 (SF-52 has already been cut), I, too, am more than a little concerned about the actual date of retirement (12/23/2017) versus effective date of retirement (12/24/2017 / next day – or 01/01/2018 / placement on annuity roll?) when it comes to a possible SRS elimination for those who retire “in January 2018 or later”.

      I realize this is a “wait and see” situation. But, I would hate to see the SRS become unavailable because an “effective” date of 01/01/2018 was used instead of an “effective” date of 12/23 or 24/2017. After a rewarding career of federal (LE) service, winding down the last few months on pins and needles kind of saps the enjoyment of prepping for that ride off into the sunset!

    • Reg, please correct me if this is wrong … but I think some people are confusing the “retirement date” with the “annuity commencement date”. The retirement date is the last day you work and is the date you specify on your retirement application form. Your annuity becomes effective at some point later (according to the rules for FERS or CSRS that I won’t repeat here). Unfortunately, since the annuity becomes effective at this later date some sources erroneously call the effective date of the annuity an “effective retirement date”. This is incorrect. There is no effective retirement date other than the one you specify on your application (they are one and the same). With regard to any law that might pass, this is the date that will mater. The date specified on your retirement application form will have to precede the date at which repeal of the SRS is effective.

  23. Readings Dori’s comment on 10/5, does this mean the FERS supplement elimination has now passed and it is set in stone? I’m still not sure of the process, but want to make sure I retire on the date as to not lose the supplement. Is the elimination now law? Thanks.

  24. When you say will not pass judicial review, can broken retirement promises, not grandfathered, be subject to challenge in court ? The old CSRS guys use to tell us they asked everyone to switch to FERS, few let their CSRS plan go, and they Grandfathered the non takers, they happily went out the door with their great retirement. I Can’t believe they are not considering Grandfathering us in all the news reports I read.
    My Retirement date 30 Sept 2018. I have 37 years in and my company is paying sign on bonuses for new hires but Goverment wants to cut that promise printed in the retirement booklets they handed us. I look for potential attorneys prepping a class action suit should this pass. Wrote my Union, they are not planning any major fight, I wrote my senator and told him I will watch his vote and vote against him if I lose this. Write your senators everyone. They are so close in the senate, a few rebellious republicans can kill this. I doubt the House can, to many Republicans against keeping the promise the United States made to us.

    • Any law can be challenged in court. Some are more likely to be struck down or modified than others. Laws that eliminate benefits and are applied retroactively are less likely to survive judicial scrutiny.

  25. Will this proposal affect those of us who retired at the beginning of 2017? I was told that ALL FERS retirees were going to lose the SRS. I find this hard to believe because now that I’m 10 months into retirement that almost $1200 a month will be pulled out from under me, forcing me to, more than likely, find a job. I’m 57 and I really don’t think McDonald’s is a good place to work.

    • Proposals don’t affect anybody. Since a bill hasn’t been introduced, much less passed, there’s no point in speculating about what it might contain. If it does get introduced, make sure to let your members of congress know what you think.

  26. Does this recent news from today make any permanent changes for the FERS supplement elimination? It is all so confusing.

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The House on Thursday gave a significant boost to President Donald Trump’s promise to cut taxes, narrowly passing a GOP budget that shelves longstanding concerns over federal deficits in favor of a rewrite of the tax code that Republicans promise will jump-start the economy.

    The 216-212 vote permits Republicans to begin work on a follow-up $1.5 trillion tax cut and move it through Congress without fear of blocking tactics by Democrats. The tax bill is the top item on the GOP agenda, would be Trump’s first major win in Congress — and, Republicans hope, a much-needed boost for the party’s political fortunes on the eve of next year’s midterm elections

  27. When they transferred the system from CSRS to FERS, which is not as generous, it was stated that FERS will be a three tier retirement system: federal retirement, social security and TSP.
    As I see it that is the offer and we (FERS participants) have accepted this “contract.” So if the supplement is eliminated then that is a breach of contract. The argument can be made that it is not Social Security however it stands “in place” of SS until one reaches the age of 62 when it terminates. This is still the third leg of the three tier system that FERS participants have accepted as a contract. Early retirees are still retired even if they aren’t 62.

    • Your analysis is flawless. Unfortunately, contracts can be broken. Let’s hope that good sense – and pressure from those who would be affected – will keep that from happening.

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