Helping Federal Employees and Annuitants Understand Their Benefits


CSRS Retirement Eligibility

 Civil Service Annuity


There are five categories of benefits under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS). CSRS Eligibility is based on your age and the number of years of creditable service and any other special requirements. In addition, you must have served in a position subject to CSRS coverage for one of the last two years before your retirement. If you meet one of the following sets of requirements, you may be eligible for an immediate CSRS retirement benefit. An immediate annuity is one that begins within 30 days after your separation.

CSRS Header

CSRS Eligibility Menu


Sign Up For Our FREE Federal Retiree E-mail Newsletter

CSRS Eligibility Chart

Type of
Special Requirements
Optional 62 5 None
60 20
55 30
50 20 You must retire under special provisions for air traffic controllers or law enforcement and firefighter personnel. Air traffic controllers can also retire at any age with 25 years of service as an air traffic controller.
Any Age 25 Your agency must be undergoing a major reorganization, reduction-in-force, or transfer of function determined by the Office of Personnel Management. Annuity is reduced if under 55.
50 20
Any Age 25 Your separation is involuntary and not a removal for misconduct delinquency.
50 20
Disability Any Age 5

You must be disabled for useful and efficient service in your current position and any other vacant position at the same grade or pay level within your commuting area and current agency for which you are qualified. Must be prior to retirement, or within one year of separation, except in cases of mental incompetence.


Deferred Annuity:

If you leave Federal service before you meet the age and service requirements for an immediate retirement benefit, you may be eligible for deferred retirement benefits. To be eligible, you must have at least 5 years of creditable civilian service and be age 62.

NOTE: Use the first business day of the month following your 62nd birthday for the commencing date on your application. All benefits are retro-active to that date. If you neglected to apply at age 62 you will receive a lump sum payment for the time between the commencing date and the date you apply. For example, if you apply at age 65 you would receive a lump sum payment for 3 yrs.

To collect your deferred civil service annuity you will have to complete OPM form 1496A (Revised May 2012) and send it to the address listed on the form. The form has 9 pages of detailed instructions and general information about eligibility and payments, print it out for detailed guidance. Contact OPM directly if you need assistance or to obtain a copy of this form with your service dates. The first part of the form is completed by OPM and includes a summary of your federal service. To estimate the amount of the CSRS annuity and/or the amount of the refund of the retirement contributions go to the CSRS annuity page. There is no reason to delay applying for the civil service annuity beyond age 62. If you withdraw the funds, consider placing the money in a Roth or Traditional IRA with potential for growth.  If you decide on the CSRS annuity - the annuity will not increase by waiting beyond the date you are first eligibility for the annuity.

OPM advises that to apply for deferred retirement benefits, wait until 60 days prior to your 62nd birthday and then contact OPM for an “Application for Deferred Retirement”.  OPM can be reached by calling toll-free 1 (888) 767-6738, or writing to: Office of Personnel Management, PO Box 45, Boyers, PA 16017.  

All requests need to include your name, other names used while employed, current mailing address, Social Security number, date of birth, dates of service, and, the retirement system you contributed to, if known.  If you choose to use e-mail, please keep in mind that there are risks associated with sending personal information over non-secure networks on the Internet.  Contact OPM for assistance.

Related Links:

Return to Eligibility
Go to Annuity