Unless you choose FERS, there is no additional cost to you. If you choose FERS, you will only incur additional costs if you decide to make additional TSP contributions (known as make-up contributions). These are contributions that you could have made if you had been correctly covered by FERS. Of course, you're the one who chooses how much additional contributions you want to make.
FERS stands for the Federal Employees Retirement System. FERS became effective in 1987 and most new Federal civilian employees hired after 1983 are automatically covered by FERS. FERS is a three-tiered retirement plan. The three components are the:
Most FERS employees pay 0.8% of basic pay for FERS basic benefits. The agency contributes 10.7% or more to FERS. The FERS basic benefit provides retirement, disability, and survivor benefits and may be reduced for early retirement or to provide survivor protection.
The FERS basic benefit is computed based on your length of service and the highest average basic pay you earned during any 3 consecutive years of service (know as the "high-3" average pay). Generally, the FERS basic benefit is 1% of your high-3 average pay times your years of creditable service.
FERS employees can currently contribute up to 11% of basic pay to the Thrift Savings Plan. An automatic Government contribution adds 1% of basic pay to every FERS employee's TSP account. The Government adds up to another 4% of basic pay, depending on how much the employee chooses to contribute.
Look at any of your Standard Form 50s (Notifications of Personnel Actions). There's a block that shows your retirement plan. It's Block 30 on all current SF-50s. You'll see a code followed by an acronym that represents your retirement plan. Most Federal employees are in one of four possible retirement plans. They are:
Civil Service Retirement System
Code 1 or 6
Civil Service Retirement System and Social Security
Code C or E
Social Security Only
Federal Employees Retirement System
Code K, L, M, or N
"FICA" indicates Social Security coverage on your SF-50. For example, your retirement coverage as it appears on the SF-50 may be CSRS and FICA instead of CSRS Offset or FERS and FICA instead of FERS.
If your agency does not use Standard Form 50s, you can find your retirement plan on the form it uses to notify you of personnel actions.
FERCCA is the Federal Erroneous Retirement Coverage Corrections Act. It is a law that addresses the long-term harm to retirement planning created when employees are put in the wrong retirement plan.
The earliest a person can start receiving Social Security retirement benefits is age 62. Your Social Security retirement benefit is reduced if you begin receiving them before your full retirement age.
Full retirement age has been age 65 for many years. However, beginning with people born in 1938 or later, that age will gradually increase until it reaches 67 for people born after 1959.
Year of Birth
Full Retirement Age
We believe that the number of employees in the wrong retirement plan is very small. Agencies have discovered and corrected many retirement coverage errors. However, we are certain some employees still are in the wrong retirement plan.
If you have not worked for the Federal Government continuously since 1983, or you have had changes in appointment types and retirement plans, then you may want to ask your agency to review your retirement coverage to ensure that it is correct.
It depends on what your retirement coverage error was and how long you were in the wrong retirement plan. FERCCA may provide you one or all of the following:
TSP stands for the Thrift Savings Plan. The TSP is an important benefit designed to help you save for your future. The TSP is comparable to a private-sector tax-deferred 401(k) plan. You can participate in the TSP if you are covered by FERS, CSRS, or CSRS Offset.
The TSP offers all participants:
The TSP is especially important for FERS employees because it is one of three parts of your retirement coverage. Beginning July 1, 2001, FERS employees can contribute as much as 11% of basic pay each pay period, up to the IRS annual limit. (The IRS limit for 2001 is $10,500.) As a FERS employee, you can receive 2 types of agency contributions to your TSP account, which together can equal as much as 5 percent of your basic pay.
CSRS employees do not receive any Government contributions in their TSP accounts. However, CSRS employees can still take advantage of the TSP to provide a source of retirement income in addition to your CSRS retirement benefit. Beginning July 1, 2001, CSRS employees can contribute up to 6% of basic pay each pay period.
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