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. Why is my amount listed so low—currently only $5000 ish after 8 years. Just concerned that HR is taking the right amount out and figuring the number correctly. Thank you for your assistance.

    • Your retirement contributions only equal 0.08 percent of your basic pay. Depending on your salary, that figure you cite could be the right amount. If it isn’t, you’ll need to check with your payroll office.

  2. So if I’m about to retire and the number in block 19 is $6,000 what does that mean? How will it be distributed when I retire?

  3. Apparently, nobody wants to answer the question. Maybe instead of suggesting taking several classes to understand it, someone should just post an example with a multitude of glorious disclaimers. Everyone is asking what that 0.8 pct or whatever , what is that approximately at a normal retirement. Should not be hard to answer with a simple number. “If you were like so and so, it turned into xyz per month. Period. Start of disclaimers … On and on ….”

    • Unless an employee is planning to resign from the government and asking for a refund of his retirement contributions, the amount of those contributions is irrelevant. That’s because retirement benefits aren’t based on the amount deducted from an employee’s pay. Instead, they are based on fixed formulas, one for CSRS and one for FERS.

  4. I believe the above statement by REG JONES is true. If you retire it has no bearing other than to show what you have contributed over the years. If you have ever changed Pay Centers that number is not carried over to the next Pay Center and added on to their LES. It is not cumulative. I have no idea my Total Contributions over the last 39 years because I have had at least 4 different Civilian Payroll Centers (Air Force & Army) during my career. I did request my current AF Civilian Personnel Center to show me those total contributions but they would not. IDK why.

    If you do not plan on retiring then keep copies of your final LES from the previous Pay Centers if they should ever change.

  5. You get a certain percentage per month based on your highest 3 paid years. It depends on time served and age. The FERS is what you contributed to this retirement system. It does not impact what you receive.

    • Curious … if what an Individual contributes does not impact what you receive then it stands to reason that someone whom contributes nothing will receive the same as someone whom contributes lets say $100,000.00 ?

      • All employees contribute a percentage of their income to the retirement fund. The more they earn, the more they contribute. That’s the way defined benefit plans work. Anyone contributing nothing would receive nothing.

        • Elaine Scaife on

          Who determines how much the employee contributes, the employee or HR using a percentage of the employees salary? This was not clear to me. Can I contribute more?

          • If you are referring to retirement contributions, the amount is determined by your basic pay and is automatically deducted from it. If you are a FERS employee, you cannot contribute more. If you are a CSRS employee, you could deposit money in the Voluntary Contributions Program. Then when you retired that money (plus interest) would be used to increase the amount of your annuity. Alternatively, you could ask for a refund of your VCP contributions at any time; however, that would preclude you from reinvesting in the program at a later date.

    • Here’s the formula that would be used to calculate your FERS annuity:
      .01 X your high-3 X your years of service
      Assuming that $150,000 represents your three highest consecutive years of basic pay:
      .01 X $150,000 x 20 = $30,000

    • $37,500 should be your annual payment, so divide that by 12 to get your monthly payment ($3,125). Note that this amount will also be taxed so you won’t receive the full amount each month.

    • Shouldn’t that be 0.011, since over 20 years is 1.1%?

      So, 0.011 (1.1%) x $150,000 x 25 (years) = $41,250/year
      And if you divide that by 12 months (for your monthly payment), you get: $3,437.50/month

      • No, because the writer was only 60 years old. The 1.1 percent multiplier is only used when the retiree has 20 years of service and is 62 years old.

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