Retirement contributions


Q. I worked for the federal government for 10 years and just recently decided to withdraw my FERS retirement contributions after leaving this past April. I’ve been told from friends that my refund may only be $2,000 to $3,000. Can this be right after working 10 years?

A. That sounds a little low. To find out how much you’ve contributed to the retirement system, look at the Cumulative Retirement Contributions box on your last pay slip. If you no longer have it, you can approximate the amount by multiplying an estimate of your Basic pay over those 10 years by 8/10ths of 1 percent.


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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


    • I can think of two reasons. 1) He might need the money now. 2) He’s so young that it would be 40 years before he’d be entitled to an annuity based on that service.

  1. If you leave your FERS contributions in, you can file for retirement when you are 62. You would get 10% of your high 3 salary average for the rest of your life. For example, if your high 3 average was $60,000, you would get $6,000 per year ($500 per month). That will add up over time to much more than your refund.

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