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Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS)

Congress created the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) in 1986, and it became effective on January 1, 1987. Since that time, new Federal civilian employees who have retirement coverage are covered by FERS.

FERS is a retirement plan that provides benefits from three different sources: a Basic Benefit Plan, Social Security and the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). Two of the three parts of FERS (Social Security and the TSP) can go with you to your next job if you leave the Federal Government before retirement. The Basic Benefit and Social Security parts of FERS require you to pay your share each pay period. Your agency withholds the cost of the Basic Benefit and Social Security from your pay as payroll deductions. Your agency pays its part too. Then, after you retire, you receive annuity payments each month for the rest of your life.

The TSP part of FERS is an account that your agency automatically sets up for you. Each pay period your agency deposits into your account amount equal to 1% of the basic pay you earn for the pay period. You can also make your own contributions to your TSP account and your agency will also make an additional matching contribution up to 4%. These contributions are tax-deferred. The Thrift Savings Plan is administered by the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board.

How do I plan for FERS retirement?

How is my FERS annuity calculated?

What are my retirement options within FERS?

What creditable service does FERS include?

FERS Retirement Eligibility

Types of RetirementAgeYears of Service
Optional (Voluntary)MRA
60
62
30
20
5
Early Out (Voluntary)50
Any
20
25
Discontinued Service (Involuntary)50
Any
20
25
DisabilityAny18 months

MRA = Minimum Retirement Age

Year of BirthMinimum Retirement Age (MRA)
Before 194855
194855 and 2 months
194955 and 4 months
195055 and 6 months
195155 and 8 months
195255 and 10 months
1952-196456
195656 and 2 months
196656 and 4 months
196756 and 6 months
196856 and 8 months
196956 and 10 months
1970 and After57

Service Requirements for Unreduced Benefits

  • 30 years* of creditable service (svc) and retire at Minimum Retirement Age (MRA)
  • 20 years* of creditable svc and retire at age 60 or at age 50 under special retirement provisions
  • Separates from a position subject to FERS coverage
  • FERS annuity supplement may be payable

*minimum 5 years of creditable civilian service is required

Service Requirement for Reduced Benefits

  • 10 years of creditable svc (5 of which are civilian) and retire at MRA
  • Separates from a position subject to FERS coverage
  • Permanent reduction in annuity

FERS Retirement Package Checklist

FormForm DescriptionForm Application

SF-3107

Application for Immediate Retirement

All employees must complete all sections of SF-3107. You may use the fillable form to enter your information. Then print the form and sign it.

SF-3112

Documentation in Support of Disability Retirement Application

  • Application Statement of Disability
  • Supervisor's Statement
  • Physician's Statement

Only employees who are retiring from employment based on a disability must complete this form.

  • Employee must complete and sign.
  • Employee must get supervisor to complete and sign.
  • Employee must get physician to complete and sign.

SF-2818

Continuation of Life Insurance Coverage

Employees who are covered by Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) must complete this form.

W-4P

Withholding Certificate for Pension or Annuity Payments

All employees must complete this form for the appropriate tax year.

FLTCIP BLLCHG

Federal Long-Term Care Insurance (FLTCIP) Billing Change Form

Employees who are currently enrolled in the FLTCIP who would like OPM to automatically deduct the premium from their annuity payment must complete this form for billing changes and do the following:

  • Notify the Long-Term Carrier at 1-800-582-3337 of your effective retirement date. Ask the carrier to bill you directly until you notify them of your Annuity Claim Number (CSA) from OPM.
  • When you receive your CSA, complete section "Change to Payroll/Annuity Deduction" on the form (including your CSA number) and submit the form to the provider noted on the form.

 

Unused Sick Leave Credit for FERS

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2009 changed the way unused sick leave is credited under the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS).

The NDAA provides that FERS employees receive service credit toward the annuity computation based upon a percentage of the sick leave balance at retirement or death, which depends on the date the entitlement to the annuity began:

50 percent in the case of an annuity entitlement based on a separation from service from October 28, 2009 through December 31, 2013; and 100 percent in the case of an annuity entitlement based on a separation from service occurring on or after January 1, 2014.

CBP employees who are covered under FERS and elect to retire any day effective now through December 31, 2013 can expect to receive credit for half of their unused sick leave balance towards their retirement benefit. Employees who retire on or after January 1, 2014, can expect to receive service credit for their entire unused sick leave balance.

CBP employees covered under FERS may choose to voluntarily retire on any day of the month; however, they should keep in mind that their annuity will commence the first day of the following month. For example, if an employee chooses to retire anytime during the period of January 1 - 31, 2014, his/her annuity will commence on February 1, 2014. This employee could expect to receive his/her first interim annuity payment approximately 60 days from the date of retirement.

Additional information concerning credit for sick leave can be found in the following links:
Fact Sheet: Sick Leave (General Information)
National Defense Authorization Act Retirement Changes Benefits Administration Letter 10-101

FERS Military Service Credit Deposit

If you were on active duty in the military and received an honorable discharge, your military service is potentially creditable under FERS.

In 1957, military service became covered by Social Security. Because of this, you may be able to credit your active-duty military service in calculating your FERS benefit, but you must make a deposit covering active-duty military service after 1956. This deposit is called the Post-56 Military Deposit. Making the Post-56 Military Deposit allows you to get credit for your post-1956 active-duty military service under both Social Security and FERS.

Active-duty military service performed before 1957 is creditable under FERS without making a deposit.

Active-duty military service performed after 1956, known as Post-56 military service, is creditable under FERS only if you make a deposit.

The amount of the Post-56 military deposit under FERS is 3 percent of your military earnings, plus interest. Interest begins accruing October 1, 1989, or three years after your retirement coverage begins, whichever is later.

If you transferred to the Federal Employees Retirement System from the Civil Service Retirement System, your military service and deposit will be treated according to Civil Service Retirement System rules.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Military Deposit?

A military deposit is a payment made to the retirement fund to have the honorable, active military service you performed after December 31, 1956, credited in the computation of your annuity.

Why Make a Deposit?

As a FERS employee, you may receive credit for post-1956 military service under FERS rules only if you deposit with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) a sum equal to three percent of the military basic pay you would have earned during the period of military service, plus interest. A deposit is necessary to use post-1956 military service both for retirement eligibility and for annuity computation purposes.      

Who can make a Deposit?

Military service is subject to FERS deposit rules if:

  • You were automatically subject to FERS on January 1, 1987.
  • You were automatically covered by FERS upon conversion from a position excluded from FERS to a position covered by FERS.
  • You were automatically covered by FERS upon re-entering service after January 1, 1987.
  • You elected FERS coverage sometime after June 30, 1987, and had less than five years of civilian service (not counting any civilian service covered simultaneously by both Social Security and CSRS after December 31, 1983) before the effective date of the election.
  • You may make a deposit for any full period of military service prior to separation from CBP.
  • If you delay in making the military deposit until the time you separate for retirement, the deposit must be made in full to CBP before Office of Personnel Management (OPM) completes the final adjudication of your annuity. The final adjudication of your annuity will be delayed.

How much will it cost?

The amount of the deposit is three percent of the basic pay earned during the period(s) of service, plus interest. You are responsible for providing the basic pay documentation. The CBP Payroll Branch will use the basic pay to determine the deposit due.       

Computing the Interest

The FERS law provides a two-year, interest-free grace period on deposits. After the two-year period, interest is assessed and compounded annually on the balance due in the deposit account as of the day before your Interest Accrual Date (IAD). The IAD sets the date from which interest will start accruing on the initial amount of military deposit you owe. Below are the IAD rules:

  • For employees first employed prior to January 1, 1987, interest started to accrue on January 1, 1989.
  • For employees first employed on or after January 1, 1987, interest started to accrue two years from the date the individual was first employed subject to FERS. If military service was performed after date of first employment and after January 1, 1987, interest started to accrue two years from the date the employee returned to a position subject to FERS.
  • For employees who elect FERS coverage sometime after June 30, 1987, if they have less than five years of civilian service (not counting any civilian service covered simultaneously by both Social Security and CSRS after December 31, 1983) before the effective date of the election, interest begins to accrue two years from the date of transfer to FERS.

NOTE: Because interest accrues annually, there is, in effect, a three-year, interest-free period if the deposit is paid in full before the first IAD. However, interest will accrue during the year following the two-year grace period on any amount not deposited before the first IAD. The variable interest rate is determined yearly by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

 How to make a Military Service Credit Deposit

  • You should request the "Application to Make Service Credit Payments for Civilian Service," SF-3108, from the CBP Payroll Branch, or download the form from the OPM Web site or CBPNet.
  • You must complete only the front of the SF-3108 and return it to the CBP Payroll Branch along with a copy of your DD-214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, or equivalent record to verify your service. If a copy of your DD-214 is not available, you must obtain a copy from the military records center by submitting the "Request Pertaining to Military Records," SF-180, to the appropriate address. The addresses are listed on the back of the form.
  • You must provide documentation of military basic pay to the CBP Payroll Branch. To obtain this information you must complete the "Estimated Earnings During Military Service," RI-20-97, and send it to the appropriate address. The addresses are listed on the back of the form.
  • Once your SF-3108 has been received the CBP Payroll Branch will complete OPM Form 1514, "Military Deposit Worksheet" or an equivalent if using an automated process. CBP Payroll Branch will notify you of the amount due, procedures for paying the deposit, and options for making payments.
  • All payments must be paid directly to CBP.
  • You must make payment(s) as instructed by the CBP Payroll Branch (e.g., personal check, money order, etc.). Payments may be made in a lump sum or installments. Generally the installment payments must be at least $50.

Mailing Address:
Customs and Border Protection
NFC-Telecom Drive, Ste. 100
Indianapolis, IN 46278

Please email PAYROLL-MILITARYLEAVE@cbp.dhs.gov for matters related to military deposits.

For more information, contact the CBP Payroll Branch at (317) 298-1305.

FERS Service Credit Payment (Redeposit)

What is Redeposit Service?

If you leave Federal service for more than 30 days, you may request and receive a refund of the retirement contributions you have paid into the FERS retirement system. When you receive this refund the period of service represented by the refund is now called Redeposit Service.

Who can make a Redeposit?

A FERS employee who receives a refund of FERS (only) retirement contributions may not make a redeposit. A FERS employee who receives a refund of Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), CSRS Interim, or CSRS Offset retirement contributions may make a redeposit, but only under certain conditions.

  • If you applied for the refund of CSRS, CSRS Interim, or CSRS Offset contributions prior to automatic coverage or transfer to FERS, you may make a redeposit.
  • An employee who transfers to FERS with eligibility for a CSRS annuity component may make a redeposit for CSRS service that is included in the CSRS annuity component.
  • If you do not have a CSRS annuity component, you may make a redeposit for SRS/CSRS Offset service only if you applied for the refund of contributions before you transferred or became covered by FERS. FERS redeposit rules apply.

Why make a Redeposit?

The basic FERS redeposit rule is simple: "no redeposit, no credit." If you do not pay the redeposit, you will not receive any credit for your service towards retirement eligibility or annuity computation. Remember, FERS retirement contributions cannot be redeposited; CSRS, CSRS Interim, or CSRS Offset retirement contributions that are now creditable under FERS may be redeposited if you applied for the refund before you transferred or became covered by FERS.

Who are employees with a CSRS annuity component?

You will have a CSRS annuity component if you elected to transfer to FERS and you had at least five years of creditable civilian service under CSRS and/or FICA (Social Security) prior to electing FERS.

How much will it cost?

The amount of the redeposit equals the amount of the refund received, plus accrued interest beginning the date the refund was paid.

The amount due is 1.3 percent of basic pay earned during the period of service plus interest.

How much is the interest?

FERS Redeposit Service is subject to interest, based on when the service was performed. Interest accrues annually on the outstanding balance, compounded annually, as follows:

  • 4 percent interest before January 1, 1948.
  • 3 percent interest from January 1, 1948 through December 31, 1984.
  • Variable interest rates apply after December 31, 1984 (see variable interest rates at OPM).

How to make a deposit?

FERS Redeposit Service is subject to interest, based on when the service was performed. Interest accrues annually on the outstanding balance, compounded annually, as follows:

  • You should request the SF-3108, "Application to Make Service Credit Payments for Civilian Service," from the Indianapolis Hiring Center (IHC) or download the form from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Website
  • Complete the front of the form and submit it to IHC at the address below.
  • IHC will complete the remainder of the form and mail it to OPM.
  • OPM computes the amount of the deposit (including interest) and will provide you payment instructions and an official bill.
  • You can pay the redeposit in full or in installments of at least $50.
  • Payments must be made directly to OPM. You cannot pay the deposit through payroll deductions, but you can arrange for electronic fund transfer from your bank account to OPM.
  • OPM will send an updated statement every time a payment is made.
  • Redeposits may be made before or after retirement, but must be completed before the final adjudication of a retirement claim. If the redeposit is not paid in full before the retirement claim is finalized, OPM will send you a refund of the incomplete redeposit.

NOTE: When you submit your retirement application and you are within six months of retiring, OPM will send you a letter informing you of the opportunity to make the deposit before final processing of your retirement application.

Mailing Address:
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Attn: Indianapolis Hiring Center
Intech 2, 6650 Telecom Dr., Suite 100
Indianapolis, IN 46278

For more information, please contact HRM Customer Response Interactive Services at (317) 715-3000.

FERS Service Credit Payment (Deposit)

What is Deposit Service?

Deposit Service is a period of Federal civilian employment during which no retirement contributions were withheld from your pay. It is also called "Non-Deduction Service.“

Who has Deposit Service?

If your work history includes non-permanent service under an appointment excluded from retirement coverage you have "Deposit Service." Examples are:

Relationship between FERS Retirement Annuity and Workers Compensation

FERS - Revised Annuity Employees

Significant changes have been made to the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS). A new system of coverage, known as the Federal Employee Retirement System - Revised Annuity Employees (FERS-RAE), has been established under Public Law 112-96, Section 5001, of the "Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012." This new system of coverage, FERS-RAE, generally applies to those who are first hired in a Federal appointment on or after January 1, 2013, and who would previously have been covered by FERS.

The new FERS-RAE coverage increases the amount of employee retirement contributions. FERS-RAE employees will pay an additional 2.3 percent of their salary into the retirement system. The increase raises retirement contributions from .08 to 3.1 percent for regular employees, and from 1.3 to 3.6 percent for special category employees (Law Enforcement/Customs and Border Protection Officers). This increased employee contribution does not increase or decrease your retirement annuity.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection employees who are subject to the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), the Civil Service Retirement System-Offset, or Federal Insurance Contribution Act-only coverage and who have an opportunity to elect to transfer to FERS, will be subject to FERS, not FERS-RAE, if they elect to transfer to FERS.

All Federal employees will be excluded from FERS-RAE coverage and will continue to pay the old contribution rate of .08 percent if on December 31, 2012, they:

  1. were covered under FERS; or,
  2. performed civilian service which is creditable or potentially creditable service under FERS (e.g. an employee may have been covered under another retirement system from which service credit may be transferred to FERS, such as CSRS, CSRS-Offset, Foreign Service, Federal Reserve, or Central Intelligence Agency Retirement Systems); or,
  3. were not covered under FERS and not performing civilian service which is creditable or potentially creditable service under FERS, but had performed at least five years of civilian service creditable or potentially creditable under FERS, including service subject to CSRS or CSRS-Offset.

FERS – Further Revised Annuity Employees

Additional changes have been made to the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). A new system of coverage, known as the Federal Employees Retirement System-Further Revised Annuity Employees (FERS-FRAE) was established under Section 401 of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 that was signed into law on December 26, 2013. This new system made another significant change to FERS for employees first hired in a Federal appointment on or after January 1, 2014.

The new FERS-FRAE coverage increases the amount of employee retirement contributions. FERS-FRAE employees will pay an additional 1.3 percent of their salary into the retirement system. This increase raises retirement contributions from 3.1 to 4.4 percent for regular employees and from 3.6 to 4.9 percent for special category employees (Law Enforcement/ Customs and Border Protection Officers). This increase in employee contributions does not increase or decrease your retirement annuity.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection employees who are subject to coverage under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), the Civil Service Retirement System-Offset, or Federal Insurance Act-only and who have an opportunity to elect to transfer to FERS will be subject to FERS, not FERS-FRAE.

Under the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) interim guidance, Federal employees first hired on or after January 1, 2014 will pay the current FERS-Revised Annuity Employees retirement contributions until OPM provides additional guidance on the retirement coverage rules. Once OPM provides the additional guidance, employees covered under the new FERS-FRAE will be required to retroactively pay the extra 1.3 percent retirement contributions into the retirement system.

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