Learn about the age, service requirements and considerations affecting the various types of retirement.
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.
Early retirement outlines Minimum Retirement Age (MRA) and annuity computations as well as Discontinued Service.
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.
You must meet all of the following conditions to be eligible for disability retirement:
- You must have completed at least 18 months of Federal civilian service which is creditable under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS).
- You must, while employed in a position subject to the retirement system, have become disabled, because of disease or injury, for useful and efficient service in your current position.
- 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, 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 thereafter. The application must be received by either OPM or your former employing agency within one year of the date of your separation. This time limit can be waived only if you were mentally incompetent on the date of separation or within one year of this date.
- You must apply for social security disability benefits. Application for disability retirement under FERS requires an application for social security benefits. If the application for social security disability benefits is withdrawn for any reason, OPM will dismiss the FERS disability retirement application upon notification by the Social Security Administration.
Applying for FERS Disability Retirement
You must complete the following forms:
- SF 3107, Application for Immediate Retirement, and
- SF 3112, Documentation In Support of Disability Retirement
- If you are under age 62, documentation that you have applied for social security disability benefits after you separated from your agency.
If you have been separated from Federal service for 31 days or less
Your employing agency will help you complete these forms and will forward the completed forms to OPM. However, it is your responsibility to obtain all of the information necessary for OPM to make a decision on your claim. This includes providing all of the required forms and documents.
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.
U.S. Office of Personnel Management
Retirement Operations Center
Post Office Box 45
Boyers, PA 16017
- 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 3107 and SF 3112A, along with the name, address and telephone number of the person(s) you have asked to complete the remaining forms.
Periodic Medical Exams to Keep Your Disability Benefit
When OPM approves your application for disability retirement, OPM may determine that based on your medical condition you will periodically 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.
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. You 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.
If you change to disability retirement, you will lose your special retirement supplement. This supplement is not paid to individuals who retire on disability.
Termination of FERS 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.
Disability Retirement Computation
FERS disability benefits are computed in different ways depending on the annuitant’s age and amount of service at retirement. In addition, FERS disability retirement benefits are recomputed after the first twelve months and again at age 62, if the annuitant is under age 62 at the time of disability retirement.
FERS Disability Computation if
- Age 62 or older at retirement, or
- Meet the age and service requirements for immediate voluntary retirement
You receive your “earned” annuity based on the general FERS annuity computation, as follows
FERS Disability Computation if
- Under age 62 at retirement, and
- Not eligible for immediate voluntary retirement
However, you are entitled to your “earned” annuity, if it is larger than this amount.
However, you are entitled to your “earned” annuity, if it is larger than this amount.
1 percent of your high-3 average salary for each year of service
If your actual service, plus the credit for time as a disability annuitant equals 20 or more years:
1.1 percent of your high-3 average salary for each year of service
Total Service used in the computation:
• will be increased by the amount of time you have received a disability annuity
Average Salary used in the computation:
• will be increased by all FERS cost-of-living increases paid during the time you received a disability annuity.
Reductions in Disability Annuity
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. If the total of the survivor benefit(s) you elect equals 50% of your benefit, your annuity is reduced by 10%. If the total equals 25%, the reduction is 5%.
Unpaid Service if “earned” annuity paid
If you have a CSRS component in your annuity, the CSRS portion of your benefit will be reduced by 10% of any deposit owed for CSRS non-deduction service performed before October 1, 1982, unless the deposit was paid before retirement.
Cost of Living Adjustments for FERS Disability Retiree
If you are under age 62, and your annuity was computed using 60% of your high-3 average salary, COLA’s are not payable for the first 12 months. COLAs which occur after this 12-month period are payable. If you are age 62 at retirement or if you meet the age and service requirements for an immediate FERS annuity, all cost-of-living adjustments occurring after the commencing date of annuity are payable.
Entitlement to Other Benefits-Effect on FERS Disability Benefit
Social Security Benefits
If you are under age 62 and your annuity benefits were computed using either 60% or 40% of your high-3 average salary, the Office of Personnel Management will reduce your monthly annuity by all or a portion of your Social Security benefits. While you are receiving an annuity computed using the 60% computation, OPM must reduce your monthly annuity by 100% of any Social Security disability benefit to which you are entitled. While you are receiving an annuity computed using the 40% computation, your monthly annuity will be reduced by 60% of any Social security disability benefit to which you are entitled. This reduction only applies for months in which you are concurrently entitled to both FERS and Social Security benefits.
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 FERS 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 (external link) (OWCP) for additional information about workers
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.
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.
- 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.
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
(At least 5 years must be civilian service)
• Age 62 or Older With Less Than 20 Years of Service
Reductions in Annuity
In addition to the regular reductions for survivor benefits, unpaid service and refunded service, your annuity would be subject to the following age reduction:
- If you retire under the MRA+10 provision
- If you have 10 or more years of service and retire at the Minimum Retirement Age (MRA), your benefit will be reduced by 5/12 of 1% for each full month (5% per year) that you were under age 62 on the date your annuity began. However, your annuity will not be reduced if you complete at least 30 years of service, or if you complete at least 20 years of service and your annuity begins when you reach age 60.
- If you postpone the beginning date of your annuity, the age reduction will be reduced or eliminated.
- The age reduction applies to both the Civil Service Retirement System and the Federal Employees Retirement System components of your annuity, if you transferred to FERS and part of your annuity is computed under the CSRS provision.
- If you retire under the discontinued service or early optional retirement provision with a CSRS Component
- If you retire on a discontinued service retirement or early optional retirement because your agency was undergoing a major reorganization, reduction-in-force or transfer of function, and part of your benefit was computed under CSRS rules, the CSRS portion will be reduced if you are under age 55. The reduction is 1/6 of 1% (2% per year) for every month that you are under age 55 at the time of retirement.
Age and Service Requirements for Voluntary Retirement
Eligibility is based on your age and the number of years of creditable service and any other special requirements. 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.
Note: Annuity is reduced by 5% for each year the employee is under age 62.)
Determine Your MRA
MRA (Minimum Retirement Age) + 10 Retirement
If you have 10 or more years of service and are retiring at the Minimum Retirement Age, your annuity will be reduced for each month that you are under age 62. The reduction is 5% per year (5/12 of a percent per month). However, your annuity will not be reduced if you completed at least 30 years of service, or if you completed at least 20 years of service and your annuity begins when you reach age 60. You can reduce or eliminate this age reduction by postponing the beginning date of your annuity.
Postponing the Beginning Date of Annuity to Reduce or Avoid the Age Reduction
You can reduce or eliminate the age reduction if you choose to have your annuity begin at a date later than the Minimum Retirement Age (MRA). You can choose any beginning date between your MRA and 2 days before your 62nd birthday. However, you cannot begin your annuity while you are reemployed with the federal government.
If you postpone the beginning date of your annuity, you should be aware of the following
You cannot continue your life insurance coverage unless you are receiving an annuity. Therefore, if you postpone the beginning date of your annuity, your life insurance enrollment will terminate. When your annuity begins, if you meet the usual requirements for continuing coverage into retirement at separation, the life insurance coverage you had when you separated from your employment will resume.
If you postpone the beginning date of your annuity, you will be eligible to temporarily continue your health benefits coverage for 18 months from the date of separation from your employing agency; however, you must contact your agency within 60 days and pay the total premium, plus a 2% administrative charge. When your annuity payments begin, if you had Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) coverage for the 5 years of service immediately before you separated, you will again have the opportunity to enroll in a health benefits plan under the regular FEHB program, and OPM will pay the Government share of the premium.
Long Term Care Insurance
If you already have Long Term Care Insurance Coverage when you separate for retirement, but postpone the commencing date of your annuity, your coverage will continue as long as you continue to pay premiums. If you are not enrolled in the Long Term Care Insurance Program when you separate for retirement, you can apply for enrollment anytime after your separation, even if you postpone the commencing date of your annuity.
If you delay your annuity beginning date, your annuity rate will not include any cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) that occur before you begin to receive the annuity. Once your annuity begins, you will be entitled to COLAs on any portion of your annuity which was computed under CSRS rules. However, you will not receive COLAs on the FERS part of your benefit until you are 62.
If you defer receipt of your annuity and die before you begin to receive it, your spouse can still receive FERS survivor benefits.
Computation of Annuity
Your basic annuity is computed based on your length of service and “high-3” average salary. To determine your length of service for computation, add all your periods of creditable service, then eliminate any fractional part of a month from the total.
High-3 Average Salary
Your “high-3” average pay is the highest average basic pay you earned during any 3 consecutive years of service. These three years are usually your final three years of service, but can be an earlier period, if your basic pay was higher during that period. Your basic pay is the basic salary you earn for your position. It includes increases to your salary for which retirement deductions are withheld, such as shift rates. It does not include payments for overtime, bonuses, etc. (If your total service was less than 3 years, your average salary was figured by averaging your basic pay during all of your periods of creditable Federal service).
If you are a former Federal employee who was covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), you may be eligible for a deferred annuity at age 62 or the Minimum Retirement Age (MRA).
Age and Service Requirements
- You have completed at least 5 years of creditable civilian service, then you are eligible for a deferred annuity beginning the first day of the month after you reach age 62
- You have completed at least 10 years of creditable service, including 5 years of civilian service, then you are eligible for a deferred annuity beginning the first day of the month after you reach the Minimum Retirement Age (MRA)*
Determine Your MRA
If you completed at least 10 years, but less than 30 years of creditable service before you left Federal service years, your annuity will be reduced if it begins before age 62. The only exception to this is if you had at least 20 years of service and your annuity begins when you reach age 60.
Your annuity will be reduced by 5/12 of 1 percent (5 percent per year) for each month by which your benefit commencing date precedes your 62nd birthday. However, you can postpone the commencing date of your annuity to reduce or eliminate this age reduction.
Health Benefits and Life Insurance Coverage
If you receive a deferred annuity, you are not eligible to continue any health benefits or life insurance coverage you had while employed.
Retiree Annuity Supplement
Former employees who receive a deferred annuity are not eligible for the retiree annuity supplement.
Commencing Date of Deferred Retirement
Retirement With 10 or More Years of Service
The annuity begins either:
- the first day of the month after the former employee attains the MRA, or
- later date specified by the retiree, in order to reduce or avoid the age reduction
The annuity begins:
- first day of the month after the individual reaches age 62
If you are married when your annuity begins, it will be computed with a reduction to provide a maximum survivor annuity (50 percent of your unreduced annuity) for your spouse upon your death. You can elect to provide a partial survivor annuity (25 percent of your unreduced annuity) or no survivor annuity; 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 annuity.
Computation of Deferred Annuity
Your deferred annuity is based on the length of service and high-3 average salary in effect when you separated from Federal service.
Applying for Deferred Annuity
Form to Use
Use form RI 92-19 (PDF file) [962.59 KB], Application for Deferred or Postponed Retirement to apply for deferred or postponed retirement annuity under the Federal Employees Retirement System. Use form RI 92-19A (PDF file) [450.96 KB], Applying for Deferred or Postponed Retirement under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) for instructions on how to complete the RI 92-19.
When to Apply
Send your application to OPM approximately 60 days before you want your benefits to begin. Send your completed application to:
Office of Personnel Management
Federal Employees Retirement System
P.O. Box 45
Boyers, PA 16017-0045
If You Die Before Applying for a Deferred Annuity
If you have less than 10 years of creditable service or no eligible survivor, any contributions remaining in the retirement fund are paid in a lump sum (with interest) to your designated beneficiary or an individual in order of precedence as set by law.
If you have 10 or more years of creditable service for which withholdings or deposits remain in the Retirement fund (5 years of which is creditable civilian service) and your spouse was married to you at the time of your separation from Federal service, he/she would be eligible for a survivor annuity. Your surviving spouse may elect to receive a lump-sum payment of your retirement contributions in lieu of a survivor annuity.