Most people know that there are two different federal retirement systems. CSRS was replaced by FERS in the mid-1980s. Some federal employees were hired on as CSRS but later converted to FERS. The two retirement systems work very differently.
Remember that every federal employee situation is different. In some cases federal employees are better off under the old system. However that is not always the case. In many disability situations the FERS can greatly benefit the employee.
Before we get into the computation of the retirement systems, here are some basic terms that every federal employee can benefit from being familiar with:
- FERS – Federal Employees Retirement System
- CSRS – Civil Service Retirement System
- High-3 – this is the highest average basic pay you earned during any three consecutive years of service. This is often the final three years of your employment history, but it does not have to be. The basic pay is the base salary that you earn at your position. It does include the increases for which retirement deductions are withheld such as night differential. It does not include bonuses or overtime etc.
- COLA – this is an abbreviation for cost of living adjustments. These are periodically given to help retirees keep up with inflation.
- FEGLI – Federal Employees Group Life Insurance. This is the life insurance that you’ve had available since becoming a career employee. You are eligible to continue this coverage into your retirement. However, now that you are separating from service, this is a perfect time to review your current insurance and financial situation to make sure that the decisions you make regarding your coverage will make sense into the future. While the government does still pay a portion of both your health and life insurance, the prices can change drastically as you get older.
- 3112 B – Supervisor’s Statement. This is a form that your supervisor is required to complete with regards to your disability retirement.
- 3112 C – Position Statement. This is a form that your doctors required to complete with regards to disability retirement. This form is very important as doctors often times are unfamiliar with it. Having a professional who understands how to work with physicians can make this form both powerful and persuasive in your disability retirement claim.
There will be more definitions in later articles…