What is the FERS Special Supplement?



Roseanne is a retired USPS employee with an extensive background in USPS retirement, disability retirement, OWCP, EEO, Labor Relations and HR. She conducts individual and group counseling and is able to comprehensively discuss the pros and cons of employees who are on OWCP, disability retirement and regular retirement. Roseanne will be happy to answer your postal retirement questions. Contact Roseanne at Click here for prior Q&As and Click here for Q&As prior to July 2014.

What is the FERS Special Supplement?

If you meet certain requirements, you will receive a Special Retirement Supplement which is paid as an annuity until you reach age 62.

This supplement approximates the Social Security benefit earned while you were employed by the Federal government. You may be eligible for a Special Retirement Supplement if you retire: After Minimum Age Retirement (MRA) and with 30 years of service; or at age 60 with 20 years of service. If you transfer to FERS from CSRS you must have al least one full calendar year of FERS covered service to qualify for the supplement. If you have earnings from wages of self-employment that exceeds the Social Security annual exempt amount, your Special Retirement Supplement may be reduced or stopped.

How is the Special Retirement Supplement computed?

FERS Covered Employees ONLY: The supplement is computed as if ou were age 62 and eligible for a Social Security benefit when the supplement begins. By law, OPM first estimates what your full career (40 years) Social Security benefit would be. Then it calculates the amount out your civilian service under FERS, and reduces the estimated full career Social Security Benefit accordingly. For example, if your estimate full career Social Security benefit is $1000 monthly and you have worked 30 years under FERS, OPM will divide 30 by 40 (0.75) and multiply ($1000 x 0.75=$750 monthly). The result would be your Special Retirement Supplement, before any reductions.

Do salary or wages earned after I retire affect this Supplement?

FERS Covered Employees ONLY: Yes. Your Special Retirement Supplement, like Social Security benefits, is subject to an earnings test. It is reduce if you earn more than the exempt amount of earnings, (determined each year by Social Security) in the immediately preceding year. Under OPM rules, the earnings history does not include certain monies you may receive, and these amounts are not included in the earnings test:

1. earnings during the year in which an employee separates for an immediate retirement
2. pensions, or annuities paid as retirement income, including a FERS annuity
3. your terminal annual leave payment, or
4. a separation incentive

How long will I continue to receive the Special Retirement Supplement?

The Special Retirement Supplement will continue until the earlier of the (1) the last day of the month before the first month for which you would be entitled to Social Security benefits, or (2) the last day of the month in which you reach age 62.

Can I continue to that the Special Retirement Supplement after age 62 if I’m not eligible or don’t apply for Social Security benefits?

The supplements ends at age 62, regardless or whether or not you receive benefits from Social Security.

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  • richusker

    thanks again for all your great information

  • paula eurich

    So, if it is reduced if you earn more than the exempt amount of earnings, (determined each year by Social Security) in the immediately preceding year, is the “immediately preceding year” the last year employed as a postal worker or are they referring to earnings if self employed? Thank you for covering this topic!

  • terri

    so if you retire mid-year, that means you won’t receive any supplement for the remaining months of your retirement year but, beginning the next year you will receive the amount of the ss supplement you are entitled to?

  • paula eurich

    Today I heard that the earnings test is not based on your postal employment before retiring but on self employment earnings. I hope that is the case and it makes more sense

  • Debby

    So Roseanne, I’m confused. If I calculate the figure SS has for my benefit at age 62 X32 years of service divided by 40 I get one figure. I saw in an older post that a more accurate way to calculate the supplement is to multiply years of service by $33. I come up with a much lower estimate that way. Is the second calculation outdated now?

  • CATHY gee

    roseanne, i retire under fers in 2008, i had 26 years under age 56, i will be 56 in September will i be entitle to
    the ss supplement.

  • TheBoxingGuru

    When the supplement ends, and I start receiving SS (at age 62), will I still receive pension payment from the usps?