Employees actively employed on or after January 1, 1984, are covered under the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS)1. A defined benefit program, and defined contribution plan, it is secured by the political commitment of the United States federal government. Therefore, any changes to this system need to be done with legislation.

Retirement benefits are awarded when necessary age and years worked requirements are met. FERS instituted a Minimum Retirement Age (MRA) an employee must reach in order to retire with 30 years. If an employee decides to leave prior to meeting their age or years of service requirements, every pension check will receive a subsequent 5-percent reduction per year. FERS recipients are allowed to give their spouse 25 or 50 percent of their pension when they pass, at a reduced pension rate. This form of spousal support protects the spouse from the loss of income generated in the event of the federal employee’s death.

Retirement pension benefits are based primarily on the following criteria:

  • High-three average pay: This is the highest three years of average annual pay produced by an employee’s basic pay during any three consecutive years.
  • Length of service: This is the time a federal employee has actively contributed to the pension program.

The FERS retirement system is meant to be a three-tiered approach to retirement. In an effort to shift the burden and responsibility of funding retirement from the government to the employee, the federal government greatly reduced the federal pension and began a “401(k)” program—with matching—called the Thrift Savings Plan. Additionally, they added an extra tax for Social Security participation. These three sources of income were meant to create a solvent retirement if employees take full advantage of each source. To determine your eligibility to retire and your FERS pension amount, click here.


Receive Your Federal Benefit Workbook

Please fill out the form to the right with your information to receive your personalized federal benefit workbook.  This workbook will help you understand when you are eligible to retire, compute your monthly pension, show you how Social Security works and explain the options available to you with FEGLI and TSP.

By providing your information, a licensed insurance representative may contact you.