Options To Consider for Certain Employee Groups in Designing the New Civil Service Retirement Program

GGD-85-22: Published: Jan 7, 1985. Publicly Released: Jan 7, 1985.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO developed options to consider in the design of a new civil service retirement program that would provide for: (1) new District of Columbia employees who participate in the federal civil service system, but are not required by the Social Security Amendments of 1983 to participate in the social security system; and (2) new law enforcement personnel who are covered by social security but who must retire before the age when social security benefits would be available to them.

The employees of the District of Columbia and the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority continue to participate in the civil service system, but are not federal employees and do not have social security coverage. In designing a new retirement system for these employee groups, Congress may want to consider: (1) allowing the employees to continue entering the current civil service system and increasing contributions to cover the full accruing costs of the retirement benefits when they are the only participants in the system; or (2) closing the current system to all new entrants, terminating employee coverage, and replacing the system with a new program established by their employers. In designing a new retirement system to supplement social security benefits, Congress may decide to treat new employees who are currently covered by special early retirement provisions in the same manner as general civil service employees, in which case no special provisions would be needed. However, if Congress wishes to continue early retirement eligibility for these employees, it could provide: (1) the same benefit accrual rate as for general civil service employees but with no reduction for early retirement; (2) a higher benefit accrual rate than that provided to other employees; (3) supplemental benefit payments until social security benefits are available; or (4) a more generous savings plan for these employees.

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