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FERS Annuity Supplement.
Old 01-13-2017, 06:34 AM   #1
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FERS Annuity Supplement.

Has anybody received the FERS supplement ? This applies to federal employees. Was wondering what the process is.
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Old 01-13-2017, 11:17 AM   #2
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Yes, I receive the supplement. I'm not sure exactly what you're asking. I retired at 55, but my agency had VERA so I was eligible for the supplement when I turned 56. It should happen automatically but it didn't; a month or so after my birthday (and not seeing any change in my annuity amount, or a notice of change in annuity) I gave OPM a call. Oops, they said, sorry; they blamed a "coding error" by my agency's HR office--which is possible, I guess. OPM was very nice about it (this was the middle of the China hack so they may have just been glad to get a call about anything else); in a couple weeks I got a notice and my next annuity payment included the supplement plus a lump sum for the months it should have been paid. The monthly amount was about $50 more than the pre-retirement estimate my agency provided.

If I was doing it again I'd probably call OPM before my 56th birthday, "officially" to check when I should expect to see the supplement in my check but mostly to make sure they've done the paperwork to make sure it's there. If you're eligible for the supplement immediately on retirement I hope it's pretty straightforward.

There's not a lot of information here about the supplement, so I'd be happy to try to answer any specific questions based on my experience.
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Old 01-13-2017, 01:12 PM   #3
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Thanks. I will turn 56 this year, so will call them a few months before I turn 56.
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Old 01-14-2017, 02:59 AM   #4
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The supplemental amount will be reduced if you earn money--take another job. It works like social security.
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Old 01-14-2017, 07:19 AM   #5
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The supplemental amount will be reduced if you earn money--take another job. It works like social security.
And I keep reading where Congress is looking at removing this benefit to save $$$. Better grab it while you can.
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Old 01-14-2017, 07:29 AM   #6
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Zinger, that is one thing I am concerned about.
Where is a good source to learn about the status?
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Old 01-14-2017, 07:31 AM   #7
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The supplemental amount will be reduced if you earn money--take another job. It works like social security.


And it goes away when you reach age 62. (At least it did for DH.)
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Old 01-14-2017, 08:17 AM   #8
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and it doesn't get a COLA during those 6 years
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Old 01-14-2017, 08:29 AM   #9
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Here is a tidbit on the supplement that isn't advertised too heavily. Most people don't think of a survivor benefit for it as it means you passed between 56 and 62.

For a surviving spouse to qualify for a FERS supplement all four of the following conditions must be met:
  • Must be entitled to a FERS survivor benefit,
  • Under age 60,
  • Entitled to Social Security survivor benefits at age 60,
  • Not presently eligible for Social Security benefits as a parent of an eligible child or for disability benefits based on the deceased's account.
There isn't a beneficiary form for it as there is for the TSP, FERS, CSRS, ...
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Old 01-14-2017, 01:44 PM   #10
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Zinger, that is one thing I am concerned about.
Where is a good source to learn about the status?
I don't qualify for the supplement so not fully up on the latest but I occasionally read articles on fedweek.com and it's been mentioned. Apparently Obama and Paul Ryan have both proposed eliminating it. I would think if it is eliminated there is a good chance current employees would be grandfathered in but who knows for sure.
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Old 01-14-2017, 02:40 PM   #11
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Zinger, that is one thing I am concerned about.
Where is a good source to learn about the status?
I go to FedSmith and Government Executive for my retirement and benefits news. If there is a bill being introduced, it will generally be discussed in either of these online publications and the Washington Post might have additional information. The 2016 bill that proposed eliminating the supplement had a phased approach. From what I have read, retirees and probably long term employees too should be grandfathered in for most changes except maybe COLAs. I have 8 months before federal retirement and feel like I am leaving just in time!
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Old 07-19-2017, 05:19 PM   #12
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Heard that the House committee also recommends doing away with the supplement, but not sure about how it would affect current retirees.
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Old 07-19-2017, 05:35 PM   #13
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The House committee has no specific implementation detail as to the elimination. The President's proposal specified that it would be starting for those retired in 2018 and later. More important, the proposal to ELIMINATE FERS COLAs does not appear in the House version language - at least that's some good news.
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Old 07-20-2017, 05:16 AM   #14
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for me, FERS supplement was only a 'carrot' the govt used to entice me to retire early. I chose to work until 62 and so glad I did! At 56, I would have NEEDED to take another job to make ends meet (and lost my fers supplement). working until 62, I was able to pay off everything and retire debt free, amass a huge savings account, and build up my TSP. and my fers retirement percentage also bumped up. 6 more years of me working and i'm set for life!!!! My buddy, however, retired at 56 and couldn't make it on fers plus supplement...He has been retired now for 6 years, and still working a 3 days a week job.
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Old 07-20-2017, 02:30 PM   #15
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for me, FERS supplement was only a 'carrot' the govt used to entice me to retire early. I chose to work until 62 and so glad I did! At 56, I would have NEEDED to take another job to make ends meet (and lost my fers supplement). working until 62, I was able to pay off everything and retire debt free, amass a huge savings account, and build up my TSP. and my fers retirement percentage also bumped up. 6 more years of me working and i'm set for life!!!! My buddy, however, retired at 56 and couldn't make it on fers plus supplement...He has been retired now for 6 years, and still working a 3 days a week job.
I also worked to age 62 (come September) but did not have my needed 30 years until almost age 60 so it was not that much longer. The extra two years has made a big difference in my pension, TSP, and cash savings and I am now much less anxious about meeting retirement expenses and wants. But those years took some toll on my health and I sometimes think about the pension and supplement that I left on the table and whether I might later regret that decision. Time will tell.

Most of the people in my office cannot afford to retire at 56 but there are several double income couples in my office who plan to retire at MRA and are almost there. I hope they or someone has the opportunity to use the supplement because it was a major carrot when they downgraded the retirement system in 1983. Also my agency needs more young engineers. We have good paying jobs but the work involves lots of travel to not so nice places and long days in the field. Enticing older folks to retire will open up more opportunities for the younger ones.
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Old 07-20-2017, 03:53 PM   #16
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Also my agency needs more young engineers. We have good paying jobs but the work involves lots of travel to not so nice places and long days in the field. Enticing older folks to retire will open up more opportunities for the younger ones.
When I was working as an engineer for the feds VERA/VSIP (early out incentive) was offered a couple of times in the organization but that offer was never extended to the engineers. Maybe it was where I was working but the engineering positions weren't easy to fill with qualified people. I wish they did offer it, I would have grabbed it in a heart beat.
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Old 07-20-2017, 08:52 PM   #17
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Zinger

Few STEM positions were ever afforded VERA/VSIP as many were hard to replace (some bio and IT service types were the exception)


Edit: if you remember, during the implementation of FERS they did not grandfather-- so if they eliminate the supplement it may affect everyone, including recent retirees. Therefore, you might need extra savings to tide you over, just in case, and treat any supplement money as bonus-- sending it to your CD ladder for your ER.
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Old 07-21-2017, 12:16 AM   #18
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for me, FERS supplement was only a 'carrot' the govt used to entice me to retire early. I chose to work until 62 and so glad I did! At 56, I would have NEEDED to take another job to make ends meet (and lost my fers supplement). working until 62, I was able to pay off everything and retire debt free, amass a huge savings account, and build up my TSP. and my fers retirement percentage also bumped up. 6 more years of me working and i'm set for life!!!! My buddy, however, retired at 56 and couldn't make it on fers plus supplement...He has been retired now for 6 years, and still working a 3 days a week job.
So you worked full time from age 56 to 62 and your good buddy has so far worked three days/week from age 56 to 62? I think your buddy won
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Old 07-21-2017, 03:13 AM   #19
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So you worked full time from age 56 to 62 and your good buddy has so far worked three days/week from age 56 to 62? I think your buddy won
I haven't worked in 3 years...he will work forever...that was the point!
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Old 07-21-2017, 05:43 AM   #20
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Also, just an addition...you will get a booklet from OPM detailing your retirement details. Things like deductions for health insurance, and all that. The supplement will be in there if all is well. I look at that booklet today like an award from days past...
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