A FERS Retiree Annuity Supplement, commonly called the special retirement supplement, may be paid in addition to your FERS annuity benefits. It represents what you would receive for your FERS service from the Social Security Administration and is calculated as if you were eligible to receive SSA benefits on the day you retired. It’s designed to bridge the gap between retirement and age 62, when a retiree first becomes eligible for Social Security.
Retirees who are not eligible for the supplement include the following:
- disability retirees;
- anyone retiring under the MRA+10 provision;
- anyone who is eligible for a deferred annuity; and
- anyone retiring at age 62 or later.
If you are eligible and your annuity has a Civil Service Retirement System component, you can still receive an annuity supplement. However, you must complete one full calendar year of service subject to FERS computation rules.
Eligibility for the annuity supplement continues until the earlier of:
- the last day of the month before the first month for which you would be entitled to actual Social Security benefits; or
- the last day of the month in which you reach age 62.
Social Security Supplement Estimate
The supplement is computed as if you were age 62 and fully insured for a Social Security benefit when the supplement begins. The Office of Personnel Management first estimates what your full career Social Security benefit would be. Then it will calculate the amount of your civilian service under FERS and reduce the estimated full career Social Security benefit accordingly. To get a rough estimate:
- Take your estimated Social Security benefit at age 62. If you don’t have an estimate (SSA no longer sends them to everyone automatically every year), you may get one by enrolling at www.ssa.gov/myaccount or calling (800) 772-1213.
- Divide the Social Security benefit estimate by 40 and multiply the result by the number of years you’ve been employed under FERS, rounded to the nearest full year. For example, if your estimated annual Social Security benefit at age 62 is $20,000 and you have 20 years of FERS service then your SRS will be $10,000 ($20,000/40 x 20).
This estimate probably will be a little low. The closer you are to retirement when you do the calculation, the more dependable it will be.
Like Social Security benefits, your retirement supplement is subject to an earnings test. It is possible that your supplement could reduce to $0. However, your FERS basic benefit will not be reduced. If you are receiving a supplement, you must report your earnings to OPM. You will receive instructions on how to report your earnings when it is required.
There is no reduction until after the first calendar year you receive the supplement. Then, your earnings during that first calendar year are compared to the Social Security minimum level of earnings for the same year. Your monthly annuity supplement in the second calendar year is then reduced by 1/12 of the excess earnings. Excess earnings are 50 percent of the amount by which your earnings exceed the Social Security minimum.
Your FERS basic benefit is not considered earnings. Your earnings for any year will consist of the sum of wages for service performed in the year, plus all net earnings from self-employment for the year, minus any net loss from self-employment for the year.
The supplement is increased by cost-of-living adjustments only for survivor annuitants. Also, for most retirees, if your earnings from wages or self-employment exceed the Social Security earnings test limit, your supplement will be reduced or eliminated. This is not true for special category employees, such as law enforcement officers, firefighters, and air traffic controllers, who may earn as much as they want until they reach their minimum retirement age (MRA).
Note: The supplement is not paid to those in phased retirement but is paid, if applicable, after a phased retiree enters full retirement.