Q. I entered into federal service in 1983 under CSRS and left in 1986 after three years in order to go into graduate school. I was told I could leave my retirement money in the CSRS system and come back in later and I would be able to continue as before with that system. When I came back into federal service in 1991 I was presented with a refund check and told essentially
“sorry, but you’re in FERS now”. Is this correct? Didn’t they change the rules while I was gone?
A. What you were told at the time was correct. However, when the Federal Employees Retirement System became effective on Jan. 1, 1987, the rules changed. From that day forward, any employee with fewer than five years of service under CSRS — whether current or returning — has been automatically converted to FERS.