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CSRS Information Types of Retirement

 

Overview

OPM works with your Agency's personnel and payroll office to process your annuity claim. Regardless of the type of retirement, there are actions your personnel office must take in order to process your retirement claim. You can help reduce delays in processing by submitting your application in advance and by making sure your Official Personnel Folder (OPF) is complete. If you submit your paperwork early, your personnel and payroll offices will be able to complete their action before your retirement date.

Disability

Considerations when applying for disability retirement.

Early Retirement

Early retirement outlines Minimum Retirement Age (MRA) and annuity computations as well as Discontinued Service.

Voluntary Retirement

Voluntary Retirement eligibility is based on your age and the number of years of creditable service and any other special requirements.

Deferred Retirement

If you are a former Federal employee who was covered by the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), you may be eligible for a deferred annuity at age 62. Use OPM Form 1496A, Application for Deferred Retirement, to apply for deferred retirement benefits under the Civil Service Retirement System.

Disability

When to Consider Applying for Disability Retirement

You should consider applying for disability retirement only after you have provided your employing agency with complete documentation of your medical condition and your agency has exhausted all reasonable attempts to retain you in a productive capacity, through accommodation or reassignment.

Eligibility Requirements for CSRS Disability

You must meet all of the following conditions to be eligible for disability retirement:

  • You must have completed at least five years of creditable Federal civilian service.
  • You must, while employed in a position subject to CSRS, have become disabled, because of disease or injury, for useful and efficient service in your current position. (Useful and efficient service means fully successful performance of the critical or essential elements of the position-or the ability to perform at that level-and satisfactory conduct and attendance.)
  • The disability must be expected to last at least one year.
  • Your agency must certify that it is unable to accommodate your disabling medical condition in your present position and that it has considered you for any vacant position in the same agency, at the same grade or pay level, and within the same commuting area, for which you are qualified for reassignment.
  • You, or your guardian or other interested person, must apply before your separation from service or within one year of your separation. The application must be received by OPM within one year from the date of your separation. This time limit can be waived only in instances involving incompetency.

Applying for Disability Retirement

To apply for CSRS disability retirement

  • Complete SF 2801, Application for Immediate Retirement, and
  • SF 3112, Documentation in Support of Disability Retirement.

If you are still employed or have been separated from your employing agency for 31 days or less

Your employing agency may help you complete these forms and if you are still on the agency payroll, will forward the completed forms to OPM.  However, it is your responsibility to obtain all the information necessary for OPM to make a decision on your claim.  This includes providing all of the required forms and documentation. 

If you are covered by the CSRS Offset Retirement System

You must document that you applied for Social Security disability benefits after you separted from your agency.  OPM cannot pay you a disability retirement without this information.

If you have been separated from Federal service for more than 31 days

Your application for disability retirement must be received by OPM within one year after the date of your separation.  If you have been separated from Federal service for more than 31 days, your former employing agency may no longer have your personnel records and may not be able to recover them in time to process your disability retirement application and submit it to OPM within the one-year time limit.  Therefore, you should submit your application directly to OPM rather than to your agency.

  • Ask your former supervisor and employing agency to complete SF 3112B, SF 3112D and SF 3112E and give them to you so you can send them to OPM.
  • If you think you will not have the completed package in time to meet the one-year time limit, send OPM the completed SF 2801 and SF 3112A, along with the name, address and telephone number of the person(s) you have asked to complete the remaining forms.

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Periodic Medical Exams to Keep Your Disability Benefit

When we approve your application for disability retirement, we may determine that based on your medical condition you willperiodically have to provide us with current medical information in order to continue receiving benefits.

Paying for periodic medical exams

You are responsible for paying for any medical exams that are needed. If you do not fulfill the request for evidence of continuing disability, it is likely that your benefit payments could be suspended until your continuing eligibility is established.

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Changing Your Retirement to Disability Retirement

You can submit an application for disability retirement within one year after your separation from employment provided you did not elect the alternative form of annuity with a lump sum payment equal to your retirement contributions. Y ou and your former employing agency must submit evidence that shows you became disabled while employed in a position subject to FERS coverage, and you and your agency must provide evidence that you were unable to perform useful and efficient service because of disease or injury in the position you retired from.   Your former agency will also have to certify that it could not reasonably accommodate your condition.  Moreover, you must not have declined an offer of reassignment to a vacant position in the commuting area at the same grade or pay level and tenure.

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Termination of CSRS Disability Benefit

If you are under age 60, your benefit will stop if:

  • You are found to be medically recovered from your disabling condition;
  • In any calendar year your income from wages and self-employment is at least 80 percent of the current rate of basic pay from the position you retired from (also known as restoration to earning capacity); or
  • You are reemployed in the Federal service in a position equivalent to what you held at retirement (also called “administratively recovered”).

Reinstatement of Disability Benefit if it Stops

  • If your disability benefit stopped because you were found recovered either medically or administratively, your benefit can resume only if the disability recurs and you do not exceed the 80 percent earnings limitation.
  • If your disability stopped because you exceeded the earnings limitation, your benefit can resume effective the first of the year after you no longer exceed the 80 percent earnings limit.

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Disability Retirement Computation

You are entitled to an “earned” annuity computed under the CSRS general formula. However, the law guarantees a minimum annuity to employees who retire because of disability. The guaranteed minimum applies if you are under age 60 when you retire and your earned annuity based on your actual service is less than this minimum.

The guaranteed minimum is the lesser of the following:

  • 40 percent of your “high-3 average salary”, or
  • the regular annuity obtained after increasing your service by the time between your retirement and your 60th birthday.

Exception

The guaranteed minimum does not apply if you are receiving military retired pay and/or compensation from the Veterans Administration in lieu of all or part of the military retired pay.  However, if your earned annuity plus your military benefit (or compensation) is less than what it would have been under the guaranteed minimum, the annuity is increased to bring it up to that level.

Reductions in Disability Annuity

Your basic annual disability annuity will be reduced for:

Survivor Benefits

If you are married, your benefit will be reduced for a survivor benefit, unless your spouse consented to your election of less than a full survivor annuity. It will also be reduced if a former spouse survivor benefit is required by a court order.

Unpaid Service

If you have creditable civilian service performed before October 1, 1982, during which no retirement deductions were withheld from your salary and for which you have not paid a deposit, your annuity will be reduced. The annual reduction is 10 percent of the total deposit due. Nondeduction service performed on or after October 1, 1982, cannot be used to compute your annuity unless the deposit is made in full.

Refunded Service

If you had creditable civilian service for which you took a refund, but did not pay a redeposit, the service cannot be used in the computation of your annuity.

CSRS Offset

If you had service that was subject to withholding for both the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and Social Security, you are subject to a reduction in your annuity if the Social Security Administration (SSA) can pay you a benefit based on the portion of your Federal service which was under both systems. This is called “CSRS Offset” service.

Cost of Living Adjustments for CSRS Disability Retirees

Your disability annuity will be increased by cost-of-living (COLA) increases that occur after you retire. Your first COLA increase will be prorated based on how long you have been retired when that COLA is granted.

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Entitlement to Other Benefits-Effect on CSRS Disability Benefit:

Social Security Benefits

If you had service that was subject to withholding for both the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and Social Security, you are subject to a reduction in your annuity if the Social Security Administration (SSA) can pay you a benefit based on the portion of your Federal service which was under both systems.  This is called “CSRS Offset” service.

Receipt of disability benefits from the Office of Personnel Management and total or partial disability benefits from the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP) at the same time

Generally, you must decide which benefit is most advantageous for you and elect to receive that one.  If you decide you want to receive Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP) benefits, payments from the Office of Personnel Management will be suspended.  However, if your OWCP benefits stop, you can ask us to pay your CSRS disability benefit.  You can receive an OWCP “Scheduled Award” and the Office of Personnel Management benefits at the same time.

Contact us to tell us if you are awarded workers' compensation benefits and see if you need to make an election between benefits.

Refer to the Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP) site for additional information about workers' compensation benefits.

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Early Retirement

Early Optional Retirement

If your agency undergoes a major reorganization, reduction in force, or transfer of function, and a significant percentage of the employees will be separated, or will be reduced in pay, the head of your agency can ask the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to permit early optional retirement for eligible employees.

If your agency gets approval to permit early optional retirements, eligible employees will be notified
of the opportunity to retire voluntarily.

Discontinued Service Retirement Because of an Involuntary Separation

The term “involuntary separation” means any separation against the will and without the consent of the employee, other than “for cause” for misconduct or delinquency.  The most common cause of an involuntary separation is a reduction in force.  Another frequent cause for an involuntary separation is when the location of an office or unit is moved to an area outside the commuting area of the old worksite*.  Employees who decline reasonable offers of other positions are not eligible for discontinued service annuities.

*Exception:  If, when you accepted your current position, you were placed under a general mobility agreement whereby you would be subject to geographic reassignment, you would not be eligible for discontinued service annuity rights if your position is moved to an area outside the commuting area.

If your agency

  • makes you a reasonable offer and you choose to decline the offer and resign, you will not qualify for discontinued service retirement, or
  • separates you by adverse action procedures for not complying with a directed reassignment to a position that is a “reasonable offer”

your separation would not be qualifying for discontinued service.

Reasonable Offer

  • Written offer of another position in your agency and commuting area for which you are qualified, and
  • Which is no more than two grades or pay levels below your current grade or pay level.

Commuting Area

Geographic area that usually constitutes one area for employment purposes. It includes any population center (or two or more neighboring ones) and the surrounding localities in which people live and reasonably can be expected to travel back and forth daily in their usual employment.

Eligibility Requirements for Early Optional Retirement and Discontinued Service Retirement Because of an Involuntary Separation

CSRS Annuity Formula
AgeYears of Service
Any 25

At least 5 years of your service must be civilian service, and you must have been employed under the Civil Service Retirement System for at least 1 year out of the last 2 years preceding retirement.

Annuity Computation

Here is how the CSRS annuity formula is calculated:

CSRS Annuity Formula
Years of ServiceWhat You Receive
First 5 years of service 1.5 percent of your high-3 average salary for each year
Second 5 years of service Plus
1.75 percent of your high-3 average salary for each year
For all years of service over 10 Plus
2 percent of your high-3 average salary for each year.

Reductions in Annuity

Your 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).  Your annuity will be reduced by one-sixth of 1 percent for each full month (2 percent a year) you are under age 55.
  • 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;
  • You provide for a survivor. 
    • To provide a full survivor benefit for your current or former spouse, your annuity will be reduced by 2.5 percent of the first $3,600, plus 10 percent of the annuity over $3,600.
    • To provide a survivor annuity for a person who has an “insurable interest” in you, your annuity would be reduced from 10 to 40 percent, depending on the difference in your age and the age of the person named.

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Voluntary Retirement

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 a voluntary immediate retirement benefit.  An immediate annuity is one that begins within 30 days after your separation.

Voluntary Retirement Information
Type of RetirementMinimum AgeMinimum ServiceSpecial Requirements
Voluntary (Optional) 62 5 Subject to CSRS coverage for one of the last two years before your retirement
60 20 Subject to CSRS coverage for one of the last two years before your retirement
55 30 Subject to CSRS coverage for one of the last two years before your retirement
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.
Subject to CSRS coverage for one of the last two years before your retirement
Any Age 25
50 20 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.
Subject to CSRS coverage for one of the last two years before your retirement
Any Age 25

View the Computation page for information about how the annuity amount is computed.

Deferred Retirement

If you are a former Federal employee who was covered by the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), you may be eligible for a deferred annuity at age 62.

Age and Service Requirement for Deferred Retirements

You are eligible for a deferred annuity if you meet the following age and service requirements:

Deferred Annuity Requirements
Type of RetirementMinimum AgeMinimum ServiceSpecial Requirements
Deferred 62 5 years of civilian service
  • Covered by the Civil Service Retirement law for at least 1 year out of the last 2 years preceding the final separation on which your entitlement is based.
  • Did not receive a refund of retirement deductions covering your final period of service

Health Benefits and Life Insurance Coverage

If you receive a deferred annuity, you are not eligible to continue any health benefits and life insurance coverage you had while employed.

Commencing Date of Deferred Retirement

The deferred annuity commences on your 62nd birthday, no matter when you apply for it.

Survivor Benefits

If you are married when your annuity begins, it will be computed with a reduction to provide maximum survivor benefits (55% of your unreduced annuity) for your spouse upon your death. You can elect to provide a partial survivor benefit (less than 55% of your unreduced annuity) or no survivor benefits; however, you must get your spouse’s consent to elect either of these options. You can also elect a survivor annuity for a former spouse or an insurable interest survivor benefit.

Computation of Deferred Benefit

Your deferred annuity is based on the length of service and high-3 average salary in effect when you separated from Federal service. In the years between the date of separation and age 62, the average salary is not adjusted by any intervening cost-of-living adjustments. Your accrued and unused sick leave balance at the time of your separation is not creditable for eligibility or computation purposes in a deferred retirement.

Applying for Deferred Benefit

Form to Use

Use OPM Form 1496A, Application for Deferred Retirement, to apply for deferred retirement benefits under the Civil Service Retirement System.

When to Apply

Send your application to OPM approximately 60 days before your 62nd birthday.   Send your completed application to:

U.S. Office of Personnel Management
Retirement Operations Center
Post Office Box 45
Boyers, PA 16017

If You Die Before Applying for a Deferred Annuity

No survivor annuity is payable to a former employee’s spouse, former spouse, or children if the former employee has title to a deferred annuity but dies before reaching age 62, or reaches age 62, but dies before filing an application for CSRS retirement.  The only benefit payable in either case would be a lump-sum payment of the former employee’s retirement contributions, without interest.

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