10 Numbers Federal Employees Should Know

These are ten things that play an important role in the finances of federal employees.

Knowing these 10 numbers can increase your likelihood of a successful financial transition to retirement.


The maximum multiplier most employees may receive on the FERS basic annuity is 1.1%. You must retire on an immediate annuity having reached age 62 (or older) with 20 or more years of service. This is a 10% raise above the most common 1% multiplier. Of course, Special Category Employers carry their own rules and multiplier. 

Minimum Retirement Age

Eligibility for retirement benefits is determined by your age and creditable service. In some instances, your retirement benefits are tied to MRA. FERS basic annuity, special retirement supplement. You’ll need to understand additional rules that apply. 

Do you know your MRA? It’s easy to find on OPM.gov.


Age 62 can be big for federal employees. Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs) start on the FERS basic annuity, Social Security eligibility begins, retirees may be eligible for the 1.1% FERS annuity multiplier, and the Special Retirement Supplement ends.


There are various 5-year rules to be aware of including those related to FEGLI, FEHB, and Qualified Roth TSP distributions.

To continue coverage into retirement, FEGLI requires you to be insured for the five years of service immediately before the date your annuity starts, or the full period of service during which you were eligible to be insured. 

Similarly, FEHB requires you to have been continuously enrolled (or covered as a family member) for the five years of service immediately preceding retirement, or for all service since your first opportunity to enroll. 

Rule of 55

Federal employees leaving service in the year they turn 55 may access the traditional TSP without an early withdrawal penalty. If you leave service prior to the year you turn 55 early withdrawal penalties will apply until age 59.5. 

Survivor Benefit Protection (SBP) Premiums

The option to protect loved ones with a survivor benefit is a powerful feature of the FERS basic annuity. SBP works like this: 

50% survivor annuity is available for a 10% premium (reduction) of the basic annuity amount.


25% survivor annuity is available for a 5% premium (reduction) of the basic annuity amount.

50% for 10% & 25% for 5% are your options. 

Retirement Service Computation Date

You would be surprised how often this information is incorrect. There can be discrepancies if there are breaks in service or other similar circumstances on your employee record.

This date is very important as it is what the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) uses to calculate your pension benefit. You may find your RSCD from your Agency’s human resources department; the SCD information you’ll find in your summary of benefits relates to annual leave. 

Tax Allocation Summary

You knew I was going to bring financial planning into this list at some point. Your tax allocation summary is how your various accounts are currently set up and funded. How much do you have in taxable, pre-tax, and after-tax money? We want to know the numbers here for our retirement income plan.

Tax Bracket

It’s always surprising how many people don’t know which tax bracket they are in. How is the last dollar you make taxed? We need to know for retirement and tax planning purposes.

Savings Rate

How much are you saving as a percentage of gross income – and what does this equal as a dollar amount? How much is going to each of the tax allocation buckets we just referenced? 

BONUS: Take Home Retirement Income Estimate

How much income will you have in your pocket after deductions from retirement pay? Common deductions include: 

  1. Survivor Benefit Premiums
  2. Federal and State Income Taxes
  3. FEHB
  4. FEGLI
  5. Annuity reduction for early retirement

Be honest: how many of these 11 numbers did you know? I’d love to hear the answer and any other key numbers you are using in your retirement plan. 

As always, I hope you’ve found this information useful, and I would encourage you to take the time to track down these numbers as they relate to your situation.

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Don’t be afraid to ask questions. I’m here to help.

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. This material was created for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as ERISA, tax, legal or investment advice. If you are seeking investment advice specific to your needs, such advice services must be obtained on your own separate from this educational material.

About the Author

Justin is the owner of District Financial Advisors, a firm focused on serving the needs of federal employees and their families. He is a Certified Financial Planner and has been helping people make the most of their money for over 21 years.