Q. What is the reasoning behind why FERS retirees don’t receive a COLA increase until age 62 and CSRS retirees receive it proportionately in the year after they retire?

A. According to Capitol Hill staffers who had a hand in drafting the FERS law, it was intended to mirror the retirement systems used by large private sector employers. While there were enough votes to assure the passage of this piece of legislation, there weren’t enough to change any part of the system already in place for CSRS employees.


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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. Omar Hechavarria on

    What is the reason why CFR 842.503 (a)(1)
    Says that; 30 yrs of service grants you the entitlement of Supplemental Income,
    And OPM denied me ? Other conditions don’t apply to me. I just left the service 2 yrs prior to MRA with 30+ yrs

    • Only those who retire on an immediate annuity are eligible for the special retirement supplement. You’ll find the definitions for age and service that would entitled an employee to an immediate annuity at 5 CFR 842.202, 203 and 204. Only those employees who retire on an immediate annuity with the following combinations of age and service meet that requirement:
      62 with 5
      60 with 20
      MRA with 30
      MRA with 10, but with a 5 percent penalty for every year they are under age 62

      No one who resigns and later applies for a deferred annuity is entitled to the special retirement supplement.

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