The Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) is a defined benefit, contributory retirement system. Employees share in the expense of the annuities to which they become entitled. CSRS covered employees contribute 7, 7 1/2, or 8 percent of pay to CSRS and, while they generally pay no Social Security retirement and Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) tax, they must pay the Medicare tax (currently 1.45 percent of pay). The employing Agency matches the employee's CSRS contributions.
CSRS employees may increase their earned annuity by contributing up to 10 percent of the basic pay for their creditable service to a voluntary contribution account. Employees may also contribute a portion of pay to the Thrift Savings Plan. There is no Government contribution, but the employee contributions are tax-deferred.
Additional information may be found at http://www.opm.gov/retirement-services/csrs-information/.
Congress created the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) in 1986, and it became effective on January 1, 1987. Since that time, new Federal civilian employees who have retirement coverage are covered by FERS.
FERS is a retirement plan that provides benefits from three different sources: a Basic Benefit Plan, Social Security, and the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). Two of the three parts of FERS (Social Security and TSP) can go with you to your next job if you leave the Federal Government before retirement. The Basic Benefit and Social Security parts of FERS require you to pay your share each pay period. Your Agency withholds the cost of the Basic Benefit and Social Security from your pay as payroll deductions. Your Agency pays its part too. Then, after you retire, you receive annuity payments each month for the rest of your life.
The TSP part of FERS is an account that your Agency automatically sets up for you. Each pay period your Agency deposits into your account amount equal to 1 percent of the basic pay you earn for the pay period. You can also make your own contributions to your TSP account and your Agency will also make a matching contribution. These contributions are tax-deferred. TSP is administered by the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board. You may visit the TSP Web address for more information at http://www.tsp.gov.
Additional information on FERS may be found at http://www.opm.gov/retirement-services/fers-information/.
Federal Employees Retirement System-Revised Annuity Employees (RAE)
Public Law 112-96, Section 5001, the “Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012”, makes two significant changes to FERS. First, beginning 2013, new employees (as designated in the statute) will have to pay significantly higher employee contributions, an increase of 2.3 percent of salary. Second, new Members of Congress and Congressional employees, in addition to paying higher retirement contributions, will accrue retirement benefits at the same rate as regular employees.
FERS-RAE coverage will generally apply to any individual who receives an appointment not excluded from FERS coverage on or after January 1, 2013, and who would normally be placed in FERS. There are three exceptions to this general rule; however, the date December 31, 2012, is the key date for each of those exceptions. An individual will be excluded from FERS-RAE coverage if any of these exceptions apply:
1. The individual on December 31, 2012, was under FERS.
2. The individual on December 31, 2012, was performing civilian service which is creditable or potentially creditable service under FERS (for example, the individual may have been covered under another retirement system from which service credit may be transferred to FERS, such as CSRS, CSRS-Offset, Foreign Service, Federal Reserve, or Central Intelligence Agency Retirement and Disability System (CIARDS).
3. The individual on December 31, 2012, was not covered under FERS and was not performing civilian service which is creditable or potentially creditable service under FERS, but as of
December 31, 2012, had performed at least 5 years of civilian service creditable or potentially creditable under FERS, including service subject to CSRS or CSRS-Offset.
Additional information may be found in Office of Personnel Management Benefits Administration Letter Number 12-104 or you may visit: http://www.opm.gov/retirement-services/publications-forms/benefits-administration-letters/#url=2012.
Applying for Death in Service Benefits
The surviving spouse or family member should contact the Human Resources Office of the Agency where the employee worked. An Application for Death Benefits should be completed, Standard Form (SF) 3104 for FERS employees or SF 2800 for CSRS employees, and attach any other forms and/or evidence as the application or circumstances require. Attach a copy of the employee’s death certificate and a copy of the certificate of the marriage to the widow or widower. Give the application to the personnel office. If you are the surviving spouse or former spouse, you and the deceased person’s employing Agency should also complete an SF 3104B (FERS employees) or SF 2800A (CSRS employees), standard documentation, and elections in support of the application for death benefits when the deceased was an employee at the time of death.
A widow or widower who is claiming benefits for himself/herself and on behalf of children should file one application.
Additional information may be obtained my visiting http://www.opm.gov/retire/pre/death/index.asp