Deferred retirement and annuities


Q: I started my federal career Oct. 16, 1983, and had a break in service of three months in 1987, which caused me to have a new service comp date of Jan. 21, 1984. However, I remained a Civil Service Retirement System employee until voluntarily changing to Federal Employees Retirement System in May 1998. I resigned from federal service in June 2004. I left my retirement money in, but withdrew all my Thrift Savings Plan money, which I rolled into an IRA. In reading through all the literature available, it is my best reasoning that I will be entitled to approximately 25 percent of my high-3 for my years under CSRS, and 6.6 percent for my years under FERS, and that I will be able to receive these benefits at age 60 with no reduction. Can you confirm this or enlighten me as to the proper formula for figuring out my potential pension?

A: As long as you had 20 years of service and left your contributions in the retirement fund, you would be able to apply for a deferred retirement at age 60. The formula used to calculate the CSRS component of your annuity is as follows:

  • 0.015 x your high-3 on the day you left government x 5 years of service, plus
  • 0.0175 x your high-3 x the next 5 years of service, plus
  • 0.02 x your high-3 x all remaining years and full months of service.

The formula used to compute the FERS component of your annuity is simpler:

  • 0.01 x the same high-3 you used above x all years and full months of service.

As you noted, there would be no reduction in either component of your annuity.

— Reg Jones


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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

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