The following is a question submitted by a reader to Federal Times columnist Reg Jones, a charter member of the senior executive service and the resident expert on federal employee retirement issues.

A Fed Times reader asks:

“My question is I anticipate retiring at 65yrs and will have worked 5 years in the Federal system. I see 4.4% is taken out of my pay twice per month for RET. FERS-FRAE. Will I receive this money back through a retirement annuity when I retire at 65 yrs?”

Reg’s response:

When you retire, the good news is that your initial annuity payments will be made up entirely from the amount you had taken from your pay while working. Only then will you begin receiving the government’s money. The bad news is that only a portion of that money from which taxes were deducted while working will be creditable when you do your income tax. The amount will be determined by actuarial tables based on your age at retirement. For more information about how this is done, see IRS Publication 721, available at

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Reg Jones, a charter member of the senior executive service, is our resident expert on retirement and the federal government. From 1979 to '95, he served as an assistant director of the Office of Personnel Management handling recruiting and examining, white and blue collar pay, retirement, insurance and other issues. Opinions expressed are his own.

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