Ask The Lawyer

By Debra Roth

Q & A Session – FERS Annuity Supplement

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Ask the Lawyer received the following question (paraphrased for easier reading and clarity) from a reader on a legal matter that might be of interest to the entire audience.

Q:

I would like to know if Congress passes a bill to eliminate the FERS Special Supplement Annuity beginning in Jan 2013 without grandfathering current employees in, will I have a chance to change back to the CRS retirement system due to my circumstances.  I was originally covered under CSR retirement system.  In 1988, the government gave employees under CSRS with less than five years an opportunity to change over to FERS.  I based my decision to change to FERS on the facts about the FERS retirement system.  The basic annuity included the special supplement to bridge the gap between my MRA of 56 and Social Security age of 62.  Now after 30 years of service, Congress comes along and changes the FERS retirement system rules to not include the supplement therefore not allowing me to be able to financially retire at 56. Is this legal or is it a breach of contract by the US government?

A:

As far as I am aware, there are no proposals to allow FERS employees to switch back to CSRS if they were originally under that system. Also, it appears from your question that you are under a mandatory retirement requirement. The proposal being considered by Congress does not apply to those employees (fire fighters, air traffic controllers, and law enforcement officers) under mandatory retirement.

Bill Bransford is managing partner of Shaw Bransford & Roth PC.

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Comments

  1. gerald salzman Says:
    January 26th, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    Mr. Bransford,

    Why would youy think the individual is under the mandatory retirement. He says after 30 years. That is the normal retirement. By making that statement you have slid around the actual question of Congress backing out of an agreement in 1984 and any legal challenge the employee might have. In this istance he switched from CSRS to FERS based on a law that the House has passed which would retroactively remove a benefit he used to make his decision 30 years ago. I did not have this choice I had to go into FERS but the same issue applies that the House has voted to remove a benefit promised in law in 1984. Not grandfathering in current employees may be legal but it sure isn’t MORAL

  2. Susan Gay Says:
    February 3rd, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    You did not answer the question posed. I am under the same circumstances and I am not under mandatory retirement. I wonder if others like myself can file a class-action suit if this legislation passes.

  3. Ron Hankey Says:
    February 5th, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    What about those who aren’t under MANDATORY retirement requirements. Please address it from this perspective.

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