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The federal government offers one of the most comprehensive retirement packages for employees of any major organization. Under current guidelines, retirees are eligible for insurance benefits, including health, dental, vision, and life insurance, retirement pay, Social Security and thrift savings. Law enforcement officers and agents are allowed to take advantage of these programs at an earlier age than most federal employees. They enjoy a 25 percent pay increase because of the danger of the job duties.
The Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) is a retirement calculation system that allows federal employees to calculate all available sources of retirement income to develop a full retirement picture. Under FERS, federal employees can calculate their individual retirement income based on number of years worked, age at retirement and three highest annual salaries earned. Under special law enforcement guidelines, agents are allowed to retire at age 50 as long as they have 20 years of federal law enforcement service, or at any age with 25 years of federal law enforcement service. Military service can count toward retirement benefits. Additionally, this benefit is adjusted to include a cost-of-living allowance.
Thrift Savings Plan
The federal Thrift Savings Plan is the equivalent of the civilian 401(k) plan. Federal employees are allowed to invest money on a pre-tax basis into a variety of investment options depending on the person's needs and goals. The government also contributes up to 1 percent of the employee’s annual salary to the individual employee account. Employees must meet certain guidelines to be considered vested, at which time the funds deposited by the government cannot be withdrawn but fully become part of the employee’s compensation package.
Additionally, the thrift savings plan is considered a portal benefit, meaning that the employee can choose to roll over the funds into another tax-free retirement account should they leave the federal government, even if they are not vested.
All federal employees hired after 1984 contribute into Social Security at the same rate as those who work in the civilian market. Likewise, the federal government contributes an amount equal to the employee contribution. Upon retirement, federal employees are eligible to draw Social Security in addition to other benefits.
Retirees are eligible for coverage under the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program, Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) Program, and the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP). Retirees should consult with a retirement specialist to select the packages that best fit their specific needs and goals.
Jennifer Duffey has spent 10 years cultivating a successful consultation business. During that time, she has written for such major corporations as Anteon, General Dynamics, and Wackenhut. Additionally, she has worked with numerous small businesses in all phases of growth. She holds a degree in history from Columbus State University.