Estimating CSRS Special Retirement Provision Payments
This calculator can estimate the annual annuity payments made to special retirement provision employees in the Civil Service Retirement System, or CSRS. The calculator needs a total of three inputs, including:
- 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 three 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 1-20 and those in excess of twenty years of service
- 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) and Special Retirement Provision Employees
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. The calculation of the CSRS annuity contains a special retirement provision for employees that are Firefighters, Law Enforcement Officers, Nuclear Material Couriers, Supreme Court Police or Capitol Police. Note that while the FERS calculation has a special provision for Air Traffic Controllers, the CSRS special provision does not apply to these employees.
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 special provision annuity is as follows:
- In Years 1-20, the special provision participant receives 2.50% of their high-3 average salary
- In Years beyond 20, the special provision participant receives 2.00% of their high-3 average salary
Also note the annuity benefit under this special provision is capped at 80% of the participant’s high-3 average salary also applies to the other CSRS participants. However, special provision employees do not incur an early retirement penalty as is the case with the other CSRS participants. That is why this calculator only requires the user to input their years of service and not their age.
Since there is no benefit reduction due to age for special provision employees, this calculator only accounts for one type of reduction to the participant’s annuity payment which is a survivor benefit. If the special provision CSRS 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 special provision 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 also have a second CSRS calculator that does not apply to special provision employees. The CSRS benefit for these employees is significantly lower in terms of how fast the annuity percentage increases over time.