Where do I apply?
You’ve finally decided it’s time to retire. Maybe this day came sooner than expected, or maybe it couldn’t come soon enough. You’ve heard about the supplemental income given to FERS retirees who retire with enough creditable service before 62 to bridge the gap between retirement and being eligible for Social Security. So where do you go to apply for it?
The simple answer is you don’t. When you go to fill out your SF 3107 to apply for immediate retirement and start receiving your FERS pension, OPM will automatically apply the FERS supplement to your pension. You will see it as a line item on the annuity adjustments that get sent out every year.
How do I calculate what my FERS Supplement will be?
As a reminder, in order to be eligible for the FERS Supplement, you have to retire with the eligibility of immediate retirement. This includes retiring at your Minimum Retirement Age with 30 or more years of creditable service or retiring at age 60 or older with 20 or more years of creditable service
Other ways to qualify for the FERS Supplement include retiring upon involuntary or early voluntary retirement (age 50 with 20 years of service, or at any age with 25 years of service). This would only qualify if your agency is undergoing a major reorganization, reduction-in-force (RIF), or transfer of function. You will not receive the FERS Supplement until you reach your MRA. Also, retiring with Special Provisions (such as a firefighter, LEO, air traffic controller, and more) and be either 50 years old, or have 25 years of service would qualify you for the FERS Supplement
Great, so now that I qualify, how much will I receive? The formula for this is;
(Years of Creditable Service / 40) x Your Age 62 Social Security Benefit
Let’s look at an example. Let’s assume that Sue just turned 58, and wants to retire on her 60th birthday. She’s worked as a federal employee for the last 20 years, and she just received her Social Security benefit estimate for age 62, and it will be $1600 per month. Knowing this info, we can plug it into the formula above, but add a couple of years since she plans on retiring 2 years from now.
(22 Years of Creditable Service / 40) x $1600 Age 62 SS benefit = $880 FERS Supplement
In this case, Sue would be receiving an extra $880 per month on top of her regular FERS pension. This benefit would accrue when she retires at age 60 and last until she turns age 62. At that point, the FERS Supplement would end, and she would have the choice of taking Social Security at 62 or delay it to have the benefit increase over time.
With regard to the FERS Supplement, years of creditable service do not start accruing until age 21. Because of this, your FERS Supplement will almost always be lower than what your gross Social Security benefit will be at age 62.
If you are unsure of what your Social Security benefit will be at age 62, or you haven’t received a Social Security statement in the mail in a while, it will be important to go to ssa.gov’s website and request an estimate. A few years back, the Social Security Administration decided they weren’t going to mail out annual estimates anymore except to people over the age of 62 and who did not have an online account set up on the Social Security website. By going online and creating an account, you will be able to retrieve your estimates so that you can plan your retirement as well as plan your FERS Supplement using the formula above.
How do I stop my FERS Supplement when I’m 62?
Just like how OPM is the one to include your FERS Supplement with your pension, they also are responsible for turning it off once you turn 62. We’ve never had a case where someone continued receiving their FERS Supplement after age 62, and we have our guesses as to why!