Federal Employee's CSRS & FERS Federal Civil Service Retirement
& Financial Planning Resources
CSRS Annuity Menu
Your basic annuity is computed based on your length of service (which
includes unused sick leave if you retire on an immediate annuity) and "high-3"
average pay. The high-3 average pay includes locality pay and annual premiums
for standby duty and availability if applicable. Other pay such as
differentials, overtime, allowances and others are not included.
To determine your length of service for computation, add all your periods of
creditable service, and the period represented by your
unused sick leave, then eliminate from the total any fractional part of a
month. Your "high-3" average pay is the highest average basic pay you earned
during any 3 consecutive years of service. Generally, your basic annuity cannot
be more than 80 percent of your "high-3" average pay, unless the amount over 80
percent is due to crediting your unused sick leave.
Your yearly basic annuity is computed by adding:
- 1 1/2 percent of your "high-3" average pay times service up to 5
- 1 3/4 percent of your "high-3" pay times years of service over 5
and up to 10; and
- 2 percent of your "high-3" pay times years of service over 10.
Your basic annuity will be reduced if:
- you retire before age 55 (unless you retire for disability or
under the special provisions for law enforcement officers, air traffic
controllers, and firefighters);
- you didn't make a deposit for service performed prior to October
1, 1982, during which no deductions were taken from your pay (non-deduction
service after that date is not used in the computation of benefits if the
deposit is not paid);
- you didn't make a redeposit of a refund for a period of service
that ended before October 1, 1990; or (d) you provide for a survivor
If you are married, your annuity will be reduced automatically to provide the
maximum survivor annuity for your spouse, unless you and your spouse jointly
agree to provide a lesser amount or none at all. Your spouse's survivor annuity
would be 55 percent of your basic annuity or any lesser amount you and your
spouse agree to. Your annuity would be reduced by 2 1/2 percent of the first
$3,600 in basic annuity and 10 percent of the remainder of your basic annuity.
Review the information on electing a survivor's
annuity and issues that you should consider before electing a reduced
Your annuity is increased periodically by cost-of-living increases that occur
after you retire. Your initial cost-of-living increase will be prorated based on
how long you have been retired when that cost-of-living increase is granted.
Redeposit of CSRS contributions
For those who left federal service earlier in their career, cashed out their
retirement account, and then returned your time still count towards years in
service but your annuity will be reduced if you don't redeposit what you
withdrew earlier in your career.
To estimate the interest charges for deposits covering employment on or after
10/1/1982 and redeposit of refunds applied for on or after that date, are
subject to an interest rate of 3 percent per year through December 31, 1984.
After that date, annual interest is based on market rates.
To redeposit your contributions with interest you will need to complete a
SF 2803 form. Download this form and
complete Part A. Your agency must complete Part B using your official personnel
(OPF) data. Print out the form and the instructions will explain what the
interest charges are and how they are calculated.
You can explore all of your retirement options and benefits on this site and
I suggest signing up for our free monthly retirement planning email newsletter.
In additional to redepositing this amount visit our FAQ
page for a list of what you need to do starting one year before you leave and a
summary of what to expect from OPM the first three months after you leave. You
will also find helpful articles on how to
prepare for retirement.
Previously, individuals retiring under CSRS who were employed on a part-time
basis during their final three years of service have had their annuities
computed using two different high-three average salaries. The annuity
calculation for service performed on or after April 7, 1986, utilizes what is
referred to as a “deemed high-three” average salary which is computed using the
full-time equivalent rates of pay for the high-three period. The
annuity calculation for service performed before April 7, 1986, utilizes a
high-three average salary based upon the highest rates of pay actually received
by the individual, which may be for a period prior to the final three years of
service. In other words, under law prior to this amendment, one high-three
average salary was based on the pay actually received and the other based on pay
the individual would have received assuming they worked full-time (the deemed
Section 1903 provides that the “deemed high-three” average salary will be
utilized for all service, regardless of when performed. Section 1903 does
not change the other provisions applicable to calculation of annuities involving
part-time service. The amendment applies only to annuities based on a
separation from service occurring on or after October 28, 2009.
Everyone planning their retirement needs to know
how much they will have
to live on in retirement and how much their
spouse’s survivor benefit will be. This comprehensive spreadsheet
accuratley project the CSRS annuity and survivor benefit for the next 40
years. This spreadsheet accurately determines your projected monthly and
annual annuity, based on a selected growth rate, with and without survivor
benefit for forty years and your projected survivor’s annual and monthly
The spreadsheet also provides a list of annual COLAs going back to 1975
and provides the average 2, 5, 10 and 38 year COLA growth to give you an
idea of what to use in your estimate. When I ran my numbers back in 2004 I
used 2.5% and that came very close to the actual grow rate for that period.
The most recent 10 year average that includes the two years that we didn’t
receive an increase was 2.6% for those in the CSRS program. The average over
the past 38 years is 4.1%. During the past 38 year period we had COLAs
ranging from as low as 0% for two years to as high as 14.3% in 1980!
You can download and use the
Projected Annuity Calculator to project your annuity growth for you and
your spouse. This spreadsheet is tailored to CSRS employees that elect full
survivor’s benefits however with a few minor modifications and manual
calculations FERS employees will also be able to use the spreadsheet. For
FERS employees the projected annuity without survivor benefit will be the
same; just enter your annuity estimate, enter your age, year of retirement,
what you consider to be a realistic growth rate, and the spreadsheet will
calculate your annuity for the next 40 years! The column reserved for your
annuity with survivor benefits will be slightly lower since the maximum
spousal benefit is 50% for FERS, not the 55% for CSRS. Also, the full FERS
annuity will cost the retiree a little more because FERS employees pay 10%
of their annuity for a full survivor’s benefit where CSRS pay just under
10%. FERS COLAs are also
weighted and adjusted down when the COLA exceeds 2%.
Because the CSRS plan is only offered to government employees (not the
general public) it is an employer-sponsored plan, unlike Social
Security and IRAs. This topic general comes up with IRA use and therefore the
best information I found on the topic is on page 13 of:
Tax information about the federal retirement programs is available at:
http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p721.pdf . You should seek the guidance of a
professional tax preparation specialist or the IRS for specific tax
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