Eligibility

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Eligibility for Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) retirement benefits is determined by your age at retirement, your number of years of creditable service, what type of retirement you choose and in some cases, other special requirements. There are several categories of retirement. In all cases, you must have served in a position subject to CSRS coverage for one of the last two years before you take retirement. This article discusses eligibility issues requirements for each type of retirement.

Retirement Categories and Eligibility

 

Optional Voluntary Retirement

This retirement category enables you to obtain immediate retirement annuity benefits. There are no special requirements other than your age and number of years of creditable service. Here are the age and years of service requirements for this retirement option:

Age                         Years of Service
62                           5
60                           20
55                           30

Early Optional Retirement

To be eligible for this retirement category, your agency must be undergoing a major reorganization, reduction-in-force, or transfer of function determined by the Office of Personnel Management. Your annuity is reduced if you are under age 55. Here are the age and years of service requirements for this retirement category.

Age                  Years of Service
50                    20
Any age           25

Special Provision Retirement

This is a special retirement category for air traffic controllers, law enforcement officers, firefighters, nuclear materials couriers, Supreme Court Police and Capitol Police. Here are the age and service requirements for eligibility:

Age                  Years of Service
50                    20
Any age*         25

*Only air traffic controllers can retire at any age with 25 years of service as an air traffic controller.

Discontinued Service Retirement

In this case, your separation from service must be involuntary and not a removal for misconduct or delinquency. The age and service requirements for eligibility for this retirement category are as follows:

Age                  Years of Service
50                    20
Any Age           25

Retirement for Disability

To be eligible for a disability-related retirement, 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. You must have been disabled prior to your retirement, and the disability should be expected to last for more than one year. Eligibility for this retirement benefit can be at any age, with at least 5 years of service.

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 obtain your deferred annuity you will have to complete  OPM’s Form 1496A athttp://www.opm.gov/Forms/pdf_fill/OPM1496A.pdf,  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. Contact OPM directly for any further assistance you may need.  There is no reason to delay applying for the annuity beyond age 62. You should wait until 60 days prior to your 62nd birthday before you submit your application. 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.

FERS Retirement Benefits Eligibility

Eligibility for Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) retirement benefits is determined by your age at retirement, your number of years of creditable service, and in certain circumstances, what type of retirement you chose when first becoming eligible.. In some cases, you must have reached the Minimum Retirement Age (MRA) to receive retirement benefits. This article discusses eligibility issues.

Minimum Retirement Age
Your minimum retirement age depends on when you were born. Here is a schedule for determining your MRA:

If you were born Your MRA is
Before 1948 55
In 1948 55 and 2 months
In 1949 55 and 4 months
In 1950 55 and 6 months
In 1951 55 and 8 months
In 1952 55 and 10 months
In 1953 through 1964 56
In 1965 56 and 2 months
In 1966 56 and 4 months
In 1967 56 and 6 months
In 1968 56 and 8 months
In 1969 56 and 10 months
In 1970 and after 57
Requirements for Retirement
The requirements for retirement under FERS are as follows:

You must be at least this age: You must have at least this many years of service:
MRA* 30
62 5
60 20
MRA* 10
50
Any age
20
25

*The earliest a FERS employee may retire with “immediate” optional retirement benefits is when he or she reaches the Minimum Retirement Age (MRA).

Immediate Retirement

An immediate retirement benefit is one that starts within 30 days from the date you stop working.  If you meet one of the following sets of age and service requirements, you are entitled to an immediate retirement benefit:

Age Years of Service
62 5
60 20
MRA 30
MRA 10

If you retire at your MRA with at least 10, but less than 30 years of service, your benefit will be reduced by 5% a year for each year you are under 62, unless you have 20 years of service and your benefit starts when you reach age 60 or later.

Early Retirement

The early retirement benefit is available in certain involuntary separation cases and in cases of voluntary separations during a major reorganization or reduction in force.  To be eligible, you must meet the following minimum requirements:

Age      `           Years of Service
50                                20
Any Age                       25

Deferred Retirement

Deferred retirement refers to delayed payment of benefits until certain criteria are met, as follows:

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 completed at least 5 years of creditable civilian service. You may receive benefits when you reach one of the following ages: age 62 with 5 years of service; your Minimum Retirement Age and 30 years of service; or your Minimum Retirement Age and 10 years of service.

Disability Retirement

You are eligible for disability retirement at any age as long as you have at least 18 months of service. There are, however, special requirements for disability retirements, as follows:

1. The employee must have become disabled for useful and efficient service in his or her current position, because of a disease or injury in your current position.

2. The disability must be expected to last at least one year.

3. The employee’s Agency must certify that it is unable to accommodate his or her disabling medical condition in his or her present position and

4. The employee’s Agency has considered the employee for any vacant position in the same agency at the same grade/pay level, within the same commuting area, for which he or she is qualified for reassignment.

Post-Federal-Service FERS Annuity

Many people leave federal service for the private sector and often forget about their FERS contributions and annuity. If you worked for the civil service or postal service for at least five years before leaving federal service, and didn’t withdraw your funds, you can either collect a FERS annuity as early as age 60 with 20 years of service or at age 62 with 5 years of service, or accept a lump-sum payment.  The annuity is computed as a regular FERS annuity.