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Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS)

FERS began in 1987 and was a replacement retirement system for CSRS. The components of the FERS retirement are a defined contribution plan, defined benefit pension, and Social Security. FERS employees can contribute $18,000 to their TSP if under age 50. FERS employees can contribute up to $24,000 per year to the Thrift Savings Plan if age 50 or older. Employees under age 50 can contribute up to $18,000 annually. Unlike CSRS, employees covered under the Federal Employee Retirement System can receive TSP matching contributions. The annual limit for TSP matching contributions is 5% of the employee's salary. To receive the full employer match, employees must save a minimum of 5% into the TSP each pay period. FERS employees contribute 0.8% of salary towards FERS and 6.2% to Social Security. In recent years, FERS has gone through several changes including the development of FERS-RAE program which requires new Federal employees to contribute a higher percentage of their salary towards their FERS benefits. Special planning considerations include:

  • CSRS vs. FERS: Older isn’t necessarily better.
  • TSP contributions and matching
  • FERS Annuity Supplement
  • FERS Transfers
  • Social Security optimization
  • Withdrawals from TSP before age 59.5 if retired at age 55 or older.