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What to Know About the Civil Service Retirement System

The CSRS, short for Civil Service Retirement System, offers various civilian employees retirement, disability, and survivor benefits. While it started back in the 1920s, CSRS continues to provide retirement benefits for those eligible for it.

That said, not everyone fully grasps what the CSRS is about or what it actually does. If you’re one of them, you’re in the right place. Today, we’re going to shed light on CSRS, telling you everything that you need to know about it: from its origins to the benefits that are offered to those that are eligible for it.

The History of the CSRS

Like many other systems that govern the retirement benefits of public workers, the CSRS is rather complicated. Actually, it was put together by a bunch of employees back in the 1920s to give them a pension when they retired.

Over the years, the Civil Service Retirement System grew and expanded to more areas, with more government agencies using it as their pension system.

Eligibility for CSRS

CSRS has two different kinds of eligibility. The first is the basic eligibility, and the second is the special eligibility.

The Basic Eligibility:

If you’re a civilian employee of the federal government, you’re eligible for CSRS if you’re assigned to a position covered by the CSRS, and you’re a career employee eligible for a retirement agency. As a civilian employee, you must have three years of government service from the date of your first appointment to the position.

However, you can also opt-out of the CSRS and use the FERS, which is the Federal Employees Retirement System.

The Special Eligibility:

If you’re eligible and your agency is covered by the Civil Service Retirement System, you can use special eligibility. This means that if you were separated from service in an agency that was not covered by the Civil Service Retirement System, the agency you’ve retired from can give you retirement credit.

Note: It is important to note that if you are eligible for the Civil Service Retirement System, you are also eligible for both the FERS and the CSRS.

The CSRS Contributory Benefits

If you’re eligible, you will have a choice of using the CSRS or the FERS. Even though you have a choice, the government agency you work for will decide which retirement system you must use.

The CSRS has an annuity that guarantees you a monthly income upon retirement. It also offers other benefits, including survivor and disability benefits, which helps you and your family in case that you get disabled or pass away.


The Civil Service Retirement System is complicated and confusing. However, if you made it to this point, you now know more about it. So if you’re a civilian employee of the government, get to know the Civil Service Retirement System. If you need more help understanding CSRS and basically what you can enjoy for your retirement, reach out to a retirement firm to assist you!

My Federal Plan’s network of trusted agents can offer consulting and retirement benefits planning to help US Federal employees make the most out of their retirement. If you are looking to understand more about the Civil Service Retirement System, reach out to us today!

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