Program DescriptionCongress 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 your contributions for 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.
General Program RequirementsEligibility is determined by your age and number of years of creditable service. In some cases, you must have reached the Minimum Retirement Age (MRA) to receive retirement benefits. There are four categories of benefits in the FERS Basic Benefit Plan:
- Immediate: If you retire at the MRA with at least 10, but less than 30 years of service, your benefit will be reduced by 5 percent a year for each year you are under 62, unless you have 20 years of service and your benefit starts when you reach age 60 or later.
- Early: The early retirement benefit is available in certain involuntary separation cases and in cases of voluntary separations during a major reorganization or reduction in force.
- Deferred: If you retire at the MRA with at least 10, but less than 30 years of service, your benefit will be reduced by 5 percent a year for each year you are under 62, unless you have 20 years of service and your benefit starts when you reach age 60 or older.
- Disability: You must have become disabled, while employed in a position subject to FERS, because of a disease or injury, for useful and efficient service in your current position. The disability must be expected to last at least one year. Your agency must certify that it is unable to accommodate your disabling medical condition in your present position and that it has considered you for any vacant position in the same agency at the same grade/pay level, within the same commuting area, for which you are qualified for reassignment.
Your Next StepsThe following information will lead you to the next steps to apply for this benefit.
Application ProcessTo apply for benefits from the Federal Employees Retirement System you must submit a retirement application, Standard Form 3107.
If you have been separated from federal service for more than 30 days, submit your application to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM):
U.S. Office of Personnel Management
Retirement Operations Center
Post Office Box 45
Boyers, PA 16017
For more information about the application process, please visit the Planning and Applying page.