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How much is a federal government pension?

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The pension a federal employee earns is 1 percent of salary for each year of federal service and it is based on the average of the highest 36 months of federal pay. In order to retire with this amount, the federal employee must meet one of four different ways as published by OPM. Some of these involve a term called Minimum Retire Age (MRA) which is between 55 and 57 depending on the year of birth.

The following scenarios describe the ways that a federal employee can meet retirement requirements:
  • Complete 30 years of service and have reached the Minimum Retire Age (MRA) which is between 55 and 57 depending on the year of birth.
  • Complete 20 years of service and have reached age 60.
  • Complete 5 years of service and have reached age 62.
  • Complete 10 years of service and have reached the MRA.

Retiring at MRA with at least 10 years of service but less than 30, the retirement benefit is reduced by 5 percent per year for each year the retiree is under age 62, unless the retiree has 20 years of service and benefits start after reaching age 60.
Federal employees who serve at least 20 years and who are over the age of 62, the retirement calculation is increased to 1.1 percent of pay vice 1 percent.

Some people erronously believe that any military time counts but only military time that resulted in an honorable discharge counts and if the service member retired from the military then the military time does not count toward federal service for a federal pension.

The other ways that federal employees secure their financial security in retirement are through the Thrift Savings Plan, Social Security and their personal savings.
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