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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Federal Employees’ Retirement System: Summary of Recent Trends

Katelin P. Isaacs
Analyst in Income Security

This report describes recent trends in the number of civil service annuitants and the financial status of the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund (CSRDF)
  • In FY2006, 76% of civilian federal employees were enrolled in the Federal Employees’ Retirement System (FERS), which covers employees hired since 1984. Twenty-four percent were enrolled in the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), which covers only employees hired before 1984. 
  • In FY2009, nearly 2.5 million people received civil service annuity payments. Eighty-five percent of these individuals received annuities earned under CSRS. 
  • More than one-third of all federal employee annuitants and survivor annuitants reside in five states: California, Florida, Texas, Maryland, and Virginia. 
  • The average civilian federal employee who retired in 2009 was 58.9 years old and had completed 27.4 years of federal service. 
  • The average monthly annuity payment to workers who retired under CSRS in 2009 was $3,617. Workers who retired under FERS received an average monthly annuity of $1,242. Employees retiring under FERS had a shorter average length of service than those under CSRS. FERS annuities are supplemented by Social Security benefits and the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). 
  • At the end of FY2009, the balance of the CSRDF was $748 billion, an amount equal to more than 11 times the amount of outlays from the fund during 2008. The trust fund balance is expected to reach $806 billion by the end of FY2011. 
  • From 1970 to 1985, the number of people receiving federal civil service annuities rose from fewer than 1 million to nearly 2 million, an increase of 105%. Between 1985 and 2009 the number of civil service annuitants rose by 539,000, an increase of 27%. 
  • As of September 2008, civilian federal employment, including the Postal Service, totaled 2.8 million workers. This was 100,000 more than the number of employees in 2000, but 300,000 fewer than the number of employees in 1990. 
  • Employees of the federal government are older on average than workers in the private sector. Fifty-eight percent of all federal employees were aged 45 or older in March 2009, and almost 25% were aged 55 or older. In contrast, only 42% of wage and salary workers in the private sector were aged 45 or older in 2007, and 18% were aged 55 or older. 

Date of Report: January 11, 2011
Number of Pages: 20
Order Number: 98-972
Price: $29.95

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