Federal Retirement Issues

T-GGD-95-111: Published: Mar 10, 1995. Publicly Released: Mar 10, 1995.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed how federal employee retirement benefits compare with those of congressional members and staff and nonfederal retirement plans. GAO noted that: (1) members of Congress can retire at younger ages and with less service than federal and congressional employees under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS); (2) the CSRS formula for calculating members' and congressional employees' benefits is more generous than the formula applicable to general federal employees; (3) under CSRS, congressional members and staff must contribute a higher percentage of their salary than general employees; (4) congressional advantages have continued under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), although member provisions are now more similar to those for law enforcement, firefighter, and air traffic control personnel; (5) in the past, few private pension plans required employee contributions, because these nonfederal plans gave lesser benefits to employees who retired before age 60; (6) when combined with Social Security benefits, nonfederal plans give more generous benefits to those who retire at age 62; and (7) there is no indication that nonfederal plans have changed relative to FERS.

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