Estimating FERS Annuity Payments
This calculator can estimate the annual annuity payments made to participants in the Federal Employees Retirement System, or FERS. The calculator needs a total of either four or five inputs, including:
- The expected retirement age of the FERS participant, including both years and months
- The years of creditable service years at retirement, including both years and months
- The FERS participant’s High-3 salary, which is the highest average basic pay earned during any three consecutive years of service
- Whether or not the employee was a special provision employee, including a congressional employee – more on this later
- If the employee was congressional employee, the years of service in that role. Please note the value for the Service at Retirement (total years of service) should be equal to, or greater than, the value input for Congressional Service
The calculator then provides the user with four sets of outputs, including:
- The retiree’s total creditable service, which is inclusive of any congressional years of service
- A calculation of the annuity percentage earned which is inclusive of any service in a congressional role
- The annual annuity to be paid the retiree, including any reduction due to early retirement
- Finally, this calculator supplies an estimate of the survivor cost and benefits, if the FERS participant selects one of these options (25% benefit or 50% benefit)
The Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS)
As is the case with the Civil Service Retirement System, the FERS is a defined benefit, contributory retirement plan, which is like a pension plan. FERS replaces the CSRS, meaning all new employees are participants in this plan. If you want to know more about CSRS, you can find our calculator for that plan here: CSRS Annuity Calculator.
FERS Annuity Formula and the High-3 Average Salary
As is the case with CSRS, the FERS 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.
Unlike CSRS, the calculation of FERS is a bit less generous and our calculator can accommodate a number of different employment scenarios, all with respect to their high-3 average salary. For example:
- FERS participants that retire under age 62, or age 62 and older with less than 20 years of service, will earn 1% for each year of service
- FERS participants aged 62 or older with more than 20 years of service will earn 1.1% for each year of service
Members of congress and congressional employees that have at least five years of service in that role earn the following:
- FERS participants that also served in a congressional role earn 1.7% for each year of service up to 20 years
- FERS participants that also served in a congressional role earn 1.0% for each year more than 20
Special provision employees, which include Air Traffic Controllers, Firefighters, Law Enforcement Officers, Capitol Police, Supreme Court Police or Nuclear Materials Carriers, earn the following:
- FERS participants that are also special provision employees earn 1.7% for each year of service up to 20 years
- FERS participants that are also special provision employees earn 1.0% for each year more than 20
The FERS annuity benefit under these plans is not capped at 80% of the participant’s high-3 average salary, as is the case with CSRS.
This calculator displays the results of two types of survivor reductions to the annuity payment. If the plan participant selects the 50% benefit, which means their survivor receives 50% of the participant’s annuity, then the participant’s annuity is reduced by 10%. If the plan participant selects the 25% benefit, which means their survivor receives 25% of the participant’s annuity, then the participant’s annuity is reduced by 5%.
In addition to providing this FERS benefit calculator, we launched a special provision CSRS calculator specific to Firefighters, Law Enforcement Officers, Capitol Police, Supreme Court Police or Nuclear Materials Carriers. The CSRS benefit for these employees is significantly richer in terms of how quickly the annuity percentage increases over time.