Helping Federal Employees and Annuitants Understand Their Benefits

 

Social Security Benefits for FERS Retirees

FERS Social Security



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Updated 3/10/2015

FERS Retirees Are Eligible to Collect Social Security and a Supplement if They Retire Early.

FERS employees who retire After their Minimum Retirement Age (MRA) with 30 years of service will receive a Special Retirement Supplement which is paid as an annuity until you reach age 62 and become eligible for Social Security.

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Social Security programs provide:

Retirement Planning Assistance

  • Monthly benefits if you are retired and have reached at least age 62, and monthly benefits during your retirement for your spouse and dependents if they are eligible;
  • Monthly benefits if you become totally disabled for gainful employment and benefits for your spouse and dependents if they are eligible during your disability;
  • Monthly benefits for your eligible survivors; and
  • A lump sum benefit upon your death.

To become eligible for benefits, you and your family must meet different sets of requirements for each type of benefit. An underlying condition of payment of most benefits is that you have paid Social Security taxes for the required period of time.

The amount of monthly benefits you receive is based on three fundamental factors:

  • Average earnings upon which you have paid Social Security taxes, which are adjusted over the years for changes in average earnings of the American work force;
  • Family composition (for example, whether you have a spouse or dependent child who may be eligible for benefits); and
  • Consumer Price Index (CPI) changes that occur after you become entitled to benefits.

Benefits are subject to individual and family maximums.

Special Retirement Supplement

 

If you meet certain requirements, you will receive a Special Retirement Supplement which is paid as an annuity until you reach age 62. This supplement is somewhat similar to the Social Security benefit earned while you were employed by the Federal government. However, since the formula for the Special Supplement assumes a working life of 40 years, each year of FERS service is worth one-fortieth of the estimated Social Security benefit.  Therefore, the FERS Supplement is often significantly less than your Social Security benefits. The supplement ends at age 62 even if you elect to wait to apply for Social Security benefits.  

You may be eligible for a Special Retirement Supplement if you retire:

  • After the Minimum Retirement Age (MRA) with 30 years of service;
  • At age 60 with 20 years of service; or
  • Upon involuntary or early voluntary retirement (age 50 with 20 years of service, or at any age with 25 years of service) after the U.S. Office of Personnel Management determines that your agency is undergoing a major reorganization, reduction-in-force (RIF) or transfer of function. You will not receive the Special Retirement Supplement until you reach your MRA.

If you transfer to the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) from the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), you must have at least one full calendar year of FERS-covered service to qualify for the supplement.

If you have earnings from wages or self-employment that exceed the Social Security annual exempt amount ($9,120 in 1998), your Special Retirement Supplement will be reduced or stopped.

If you have active military time, and are eligible to collect Social Security at age 62,
your annuity will decrease unless you buy back your military time.

 

FERS Supplement Impact on Earnings  

 

If you retire with a FERS supplement and go back to work in retirement your supplement is subject to the same Social Security earnings rules. Basically, if you are receiving a supplement and earn more than $14,160 a  year in 2010 you would have to give back $1 for every $2 you earn over this limit.  CSRS employees that worked 40 quarters or more in the private sector and collect Social Security at age 62 are also subject to these same income limitations until they reach full retirement age, currently age 66. 

 

Calculating the Social Security Supplement

 

To estimate your Social Security Supplement use the Free CSRS and FERS Retirement Software available from Decision Support Software. The software includes an easy-to-use supplement calculator and integrates the supplement into your overall federal retirement analysis.   

 

 

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