CSRS vs. FERS retirement


Q: I resigned in 1994, withdrew my retirement of $20,000 from CSRS. At that time, my SCD was January 1974. Came back to civil service in 1996. At that time, I was given the choice of CSRS or FERS. I chose FERS. My SCD was recalculated to January 1977 with 10 years frozen service. I have two questions: Am I required to pay back the withdrawal in order for the 20 years (1974 to 1994) to count toward retirement? And what exactly is frozen service? Will it affect my retirement years? Right now,based on my SCD,I have 33 years. I’m concerned that if I don’t pay the $20,000 back, I really only have 23 years. I’m 54 years old.

A: Since you took a refund of your retirement deductions after February 28, 1991, you will have that time credited in determining your eligibility to retire. However, it won’t be used in computing the CSRS component of your annuity unless you redeposit the amount that was refunded to you, plus accrued interest. If you don’t, the only annuity to which you’ll be entitled will be the one based on your FERS service.


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