Estimating CSRS Annuity Payments
This calculator can estimate the annual annuity payments made to participants in the Civil Service Retirement System, or CSRS. The calculator needs a total of four inputs, including:
- The anticipated retirement age of the CSRS participant, including both years and months
- The years of creditable service years at retirement, including both years and months
- The total number of unused sick leave at retirement, stated in days
- The CSRS participant’s High-3 salary, which is the highest average basic pay earned during any three consecutive years of service
The calculator then provides the user with four sets of outputs, including:
- The retiree’s total creditable service, including both the years of service at retirement plus a service credit earned through the days of unused sick leave
- A calculation of the annuity percentages earned in years 1-5, 6-10, and those in excess of ten years of service
- The annual annuity to be paid the retiree, including any deduction due to early retirement
- Finally, this calculator provides an estimate of the survivor cost and benefits, if the CSRS participant selects this option
The Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS)
The CSRS is a defined benefit, contributory retirement plan, which is like a pension plan. CSRS is a legacy pension plan, meaning new employees are not enrolled in this plan. Instead, they are provided benefits through the Federal Employees Retirement System, or FERS. We will also be launching a FERS Calculator shortly.
CSRS Annuity Formula and the High-3 Average Salary
The CSRS benefit is paid in the form of an annuity. Over time, the participant earns a percentage of their high-3 average salary. The value is the highest average basic pay earned during any three consecutive years of service. Typically, this would someone’s final three years before retiring since this does not include overtime or bonuses. The calculation for this annuity is as follows:
- In Years 1-5, the participant receives 1.50% of their high-3 average salary
- In Years 6-10, the participant receives 1.75% of their high-3 average salary
- In Years 10+ and beyond, the participant receives 2.00% of their high-3 average salary
Also note the annuity benefit under these plans is capped at 80% of the participant’s high-3 average salary. This cap affects employees with 42 years or more of service at retirement. Employees with this much service can only increase the size of their annuity payment by increasing their high-3 average salary.
This calculator accounts for two types of reductions to the annuity payment. The first has to do if someone retires before age 55. The penalty for early retirement is one-sixth of one percent for each month prior to age 55.
The second benefit reduction this calculator accounts for is a survivor benefit. If the CSRS plan participant elects to provide for a survivor benefit, the annuity is reduced by 2.5% for the first $3,600 of benefit, plus 10% of the benefit over $3,600. While this calculator can provide an estimate of the retirement benefits under the CSRS plan, individuals should always consult with their plan administrator to determine their exact benefit.
In addition to providing a FERS benefit calculator, we have a special provision CSRS calculator specific to firefighters, law enforcement officers, nuclear materials couriers, Supreme Court police and Capitol police officers. The CSRS benefit for these employees is significantly richer in terms of how quickly the annuity percentage increases over time.