The following is a question submitted by a Federal Times readers about retirement and other issues facing the federal workforce. It is answered by Reg Jones, a charter member of the senior executive service and a Federal Times columnist since 1995.
Question: It appears that the number or multiplier for SS increases for me at age 62 whether I collect or not. I am currently not retired and only 61. Will the multiplier for the Federal Employees Retirement System increase for me when I hit 62, whether I retire or not, or do I have to be retired to get the increase?
Reg’s Response: Social Security benefits are are based on your career earnings. The more you earn and the longer you work, the higher the benefit. However, the maximum number of years used to compute that benefit is 35.
With the exception of special category employees, such as law enforcement officers and firefighters, the annuities of employee who retire at their minimum retirement age (55-57) with at least 30 years of service, at age 60 with at least 20 years of service, and discontinued service retirees when they reach their minimum retirement age are computed using the following formula:
.01 percent X their high-3 X years of service
The annuities of those who retire at age 62 or later with at least 20 years of service, have their annuity computed using an enhanced formula:
1.1 percent X their high-3 X years of service
With the exception of special category employees, such as law enforcement officers and firefighter, cost-of-living adjustments are only added to the annuities of those retirees who reach age 62. The amount of those COLAs depends on the amount of time they’ve been on the annuity roll. For example, FERS employees who retired on November 30, 2022, would be entitled to a full COLA adjustment in their January 2024 annuity payments.
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Reg Jones is the resident expert on retirement and the federal government at Federal Times. From 1979 until 1995, he served as an assistant director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management handling recruiting and examining, white and blue collar pay, retirement, insurance and other issues. Opinions expressed are his own.