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.


  1. I will be retiring May 31 with 35.6 years service time. The post office has started to add the special supplement to our retirement statements available online, when using the calculations #years /40 X ss@62 its not anywhere close to what the post office estimates it on my statement can you explain what i am doing wrong?

    • See what you get if you use the recommended formula. Multiply your estimated Social Security benefit at age 62 by your total years of FERS service. Then divide the product by 40.

        • Only actual FERS service is used when determining the FERS special retirement supplement. Active duty service for which a deposit has been made is not included in that calculation.

      • If you are entitled to the special retirement supplement, OPM will automatically add it to your annuity unless you have earnings from from work or self-employment that exceed the annual Social Security earnings limit..

        • As it relates to Law Enforcement service, the first 20 years count as 34 years (20*1.7). If you work 20 years, do you use 20 or 34 years for FERS years in the calculation?

          • You use the following formula:
            1.7 X the average of your highest 3 consecutive years of Basic pay (your high-3) x 20

  2. In January, I will turn 60 years of age, and I will have 21 years and 9 months actual time as a FERS EMPLOYEE . I am also a military early retiree, and I have 9 months accumulated sick leave. 1. will my sick leave be factored in the retirement calculations to determine number years? 2. My military retirement is under the $14,000 annually. So, if my est. ss benefit is $1,595 monthly X 21 (sick lv) / 40 = 837.37 SRS PAYMENT. What say you.

    • 1. Your unused sick leave will be added to your actual service and used in the computation of your annuity.
      2. Your Special retirement supplement will be based solely your actual service. Unused sick leave won’t be included in that computation.

  3. the postal service only uses the ssi you paid only with the postal service ,not if you worked before you where in the FERS system I have the same problem .$300 less of pay

    • As required by law, the special retirement supplements paid to FERS retirees are based solely on the Social Security deductions taken from their pay while working for the U.S. government. If an employee worked for several agencies – including the U.S. Postal Service – all those years of contributions to Social Security would be included when determining the amount of the special retirement supplement.

  4. Gregory Bitterman on

    They do use what you paid but in the formula but only on your base wage. Overtime, bonuses and premium pay is not used in the calculation.

  5. Fers supplement calculation….
    Is it years of actual service or is it
    Years of actual service plus the paid out sick leave months?

    • It’s years of actual FERS service. It doesn’t include unused sick leave or active duty service for which a deposit has been made.

    • The FERS Supplement is calculated using the following formula:

      Social Security Benefit X Total Years of FERS Service ÷ 40

      “Total years of FERS service” means the number of years you were covered by FERS rounded to the nearest whole number.

  6. Does anyone know how to estimate a SSI benefit reduction at 70 if we cease working at age 60? The SSI website assumes we continue working to 67, where they provide an estimate at 70. If we stop working 7 years earlier, does that reduce the estimated benefit shown on MySocSec at age 70, and if so, by how much? I assume we could still assume 7% growth per year of the benefit at 62, but maybe not.

    Also, if we retire end of April, at age 60, when can we expect the FERS suppl to kick in? Is that built into the pension which i assume starts about end May of the year of retirement? Can we assume 8 months of FERS suppl if we retire end April, for the year of retirement? Thanks!

    • You’ll find the directions on how to compute your Social Security benefit at any age at http://www.ssa.gov/benefits/calculators. You will be entitled to the special retirement supplement when your annuity begins. It won’t show up in any interim payment you receive while your annuity is being finalized; however, you’ll receive the full amount with back pay when it is.

  7. I retire in 11 months. I have 4.2 years of military (I bought back my military time), 7 years of regular Postal Service, and 20 years of “6C” Federal Law Enforcement. Do you know if all of the time counts towards the social security supplement or just the time under “6C”? If I count all of it together, the supplement comes to 31.2/40=.78*2128=$1659.84. If I count just “6C” time, it is $1064. This is a big difference and I’d like to know if a fairly close number for that. Thank you for any insight you can provide!

    • The special retirement supplement will be based solely on your years of service as a federal civilian employee where retirement deductions were taken from your pay. Active duty service for which you made a deposit doesn’t count.

  8. Kevin Stiffarm on

    I don’t understand why the military time, paid with a deposit, is not creditable for the special retirement supplement. I thought the reason we pay the deposit is to cover the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) periods of service during which we either did not contribute to the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund or for which we received a refund of our retirement contributions. I read through all of Chapter 51 noted above and I was unable to find any reference that military service is not included in computation. It does mention that in order be eligible for the supplement, you must have at least 1 full calendar year of civilian service creditable under FERS computation rules, however, military service cannot be used in this 1 year.

  9. If I retire and take FERS Social Security Supplement at age 60, will that impact my full social security amount at age 62?

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