“Greetings, I think I have an understanding of FERS postponed retirement, but there is one point that I have been unable resolve. I am by all measures eligible to retire now – I am 61 years old with over 42 years of service (I bought back 21 years of military time). My question – If I were to separate NOW (before I am 62), but elect to postpone drawing retirement until AFTER I turn 62, will my annuity calculation use the 1% multiplier or will my annuity calculation use the 1.1% multiplier? In my case (if my math is correct) the difference between the 1% and 1.1% multiplier is about $6K a year. I have an opportunity to take a private sector job, so I will have an income if I postpone receiving my annuity for 6 to 9 months. I just want a better understanding of how this might affect the amount of my annuity in the long term. My wife is also a FERS employee and plans to work for another five years before retiring. Our plan is to transfer FEGLI and insurance to her in the interim. Your time and insight is very much appreciated. ” – Jon.
When it comes to determining your retirement eligibility within the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS), several key factors contribute to the determination of your retirement benefits:
Minimum Retirement Age (MRA) under FERS:
In the United States, under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), the minimum retirement age (MRA) signifies the age at which federal employees can retire and access specific benefits, including immediate annuities. The MRA varies based on your birth year, typically within the range of 55 to 57. It’s important to note that your MRA is determined by your birth year and is unrelated to the year you began federal service.
Here’s a breakdown of the MRA based on birth year for FERS employees:
- If you were born before 1948, your MRA is 55 years old.
- If you were born in 1948, your MRA is 55 years and 2 months old.
- If you were born in 1949, your MRA is 55 years and 4 months old.
- If you were born in 1950, your MRA is 55 years and 6 months old.
- If you were born in 1951, your MRA is 55 years and 8 months old.
- If you were born in 1952, your MRA is 55 years and 10 months old.
- If you were born in 1953 or later, your MRA is 56 years old.
It’s possible to retire before reaching your MRA; however, doing so may result in a reduction of your retirement benefits.
Creditable Service (Credible Service):
Another essential component for determining your eligibility for retirement benefits under FERS is your creditable service. Creditable service encompasses the years, months, and days of your federal employment that count towards calculating your retirement benefits. To establish your eligibility for retirement, you must consider how many credible years of service you have accrued in FERS. It’s important to identify your Retirement Service Computation date, which is typically found on your Certified Summary of Federal Service, rather than your Service Computation Date, which is used for calculating sick leave.
High Three (High-3) under FERS:
The third component in calculating your retirement benefits under FERS is identifying your “high three” years. Your high three refers to the three consecutive years during which your earnings were the highest. For most individuals, these years typically occur toward the later stages of their career, potentially including their final three years. However, this is not a fixed rule; your high three can vary if you’ve changed positions or experienced changes in salary, including pay reductions.
How those numbers determine your pension benefits
If you retire at age 62 or later with at least 20 years of eligible service, a factor of 1.1% is used rather than 1%.