The Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS)

Effective January 1, 1987,  the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) was created to replace CSRS.

FERS is a retirement system that provides benefits from three different sources: the Basic FERS Pension Benefit; Social Security Benefits; and Tax-Deferred Thrift Savings Plan (TSP).

According to, under FERS you can take your Social Security and your Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) with you to your next job if you leave your federal employment position before your retire.

FERS eligibility is determined by your age and the year you were born, your total years of creditable service (usually a minimum of five creditable years), and whether or not you’ve  reached the minimum retirement age for the agency you served.

Calculating creditable years of service can be confusing because it can also be impacted by used and unused sick leave and differences in civilian and military service.

Then there’s added possibility for confusion if you left your government job before 1987 and then returned after. In this scenario, there’s the possibility you may have been placed in the wrong retirement system when you returned. In 2000, The Federal Erroneous Retirement Coverage Corrections Act (FERCCA) was passed to help correct these errors.