What is a Civil Service Retirement System?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 01 February 2020
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A civil service retirement system is a retirement plan for civil employees, which are people who work for the government in positions ranging from postal employees to air traffic controllers. One notable example of such a plan is the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), established in the United States in 1920. The CSRS was replaced with the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) in 1987, but continues to provide benefits to people who were employed before FERS was established.

The purpose of a civil service retirement system is to generate benefits for civil servants so when they retire, they have access to pensions and other forms of assistance, depending on how the plan is structured. While working, the employees make payments into retirement plans and matching payments may be made by the government. They can also be involved in thrift savings plans, setting aside part of their income and receiving a tax benefit to do so. Once civil servants retire, or if they become disabled, payments start being delivered, usually on a monthly basis. The amount of the payments varies, depending on what has been contributed into the plan.


Under the Civil Service Retirement System in the United States, employees made a single contribution each month and did not receive deductions for Social Security. This changed in 1983 when the government required such deductions from all employees. People employed before 1984 with CSRS eligibility are allowed to continue receiving benefits under the plan. A certain number of years of service are required before benefits will be paid out, and people must also have been working in a CSRS-eligible position for at least one year out of the last two prior to retirement.

Such plans create a source of dependable and guaranteed income that will support people while they are in retirement. People interested in additional funds for retirement can set aside money in thrifts and other savings plans. Employees are also not restricted for saving on their own, although they will not receive tax benefits for private savings accounts that are not established under the umbrella of retirement benefits.

In addition to providing payouts to civil employees, a civil service retirement system also usually covers benefits for family members in the event of the death of the employee. Surviving spouses and dependent children will receive set payouts if a family member died while eligible for benefits. These death benefits compensate for the loss of a family income.



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Post 2

Are there any pay outs or lump sum pay outs to the surviving adult children in the event of the death of an already retired civil worker?

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