Rules of the retirement supplement

OPM Special Retirement Supplement (FERS Supplement) fact sheet

A Reader Writes:

I am 53 years old with 18 years of service. I understand that I can retire under the Federal Employees Retirement System at age 55, when I will have 20 years of service. I also understand that if I postpone the startup of my annuity until I reach age 60, there will be no reduction in my annuity.

Will I also be eligible for a Special Retirement Supplement if I postpone starting up my annuity?

Milt Replies:

You would not be eligible for the Special Retirement Supplement in either case. Postponing the start of your annuity will not change the provision of law under which you retired -- the minimum retirement age plus 10 (MRA+ 10) provision. To qualify for the supplement, you must meet the minimum age requirement for an unreduced annuity at the time you retire.

The Special Retirement Supplement, or FERS Supplement, is an approximation of the portion of a Social Security benefit earned while under FERS. For retirees eligible for this benefit, it substitutes for the Social Security part of their total FERS benefit until age 62, when most people become eligible for Social Security.

To be eligible for this Special Retirement Supplement, you must have at least one full calendar year (Jan. 1 to Dec. 31) of FERS coverage and retire after 30 years of service at your minimum retirement age, after 20 years of service at age 60, or under certain special retirement provisions.

The Special Retirement Supplement is included in your monthly annuity payment as administered by Office of Personnel Management. The supplement does not receive any cost-of-living adjustments (up through age 62) and can be reduced or terminated if you work after retirement and earn more than the allowable amount. At age 62, the supplement ends, and if you are eligible and apply for the benefit, you can begin to receive Social Security benefits paid and administered by the Social Security Administration.

Zall is a retired federal employee who since 1987 has written the Bureaucratus column for Federal Computer Week. He can be reached at milt.zall@verizon.net.

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