Retirement Benefits    
Almost all new employees will be covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). Certain other Federal employees not covered by FERS have the option to transfer into the plan. For complete information on the FERS, please see the Office of Personnel Management web site.

FERS is a three-tiered retirement plan:
  1. Social Security Benefits
  2. Basic Benefit Plan
  3. Thrift Savings Plan
Social Security Benefits

The first available part of the retirement benefit is Social Security. It provides monthly payments if you are retired and have reached at least age 62, monthly benefits if you become disabled, monthly benefits for your eligible survivors, and a lump sum benefit upon your death.

Basic Benefit Plan

The basic benefit portion is financed by a very small contribution from the employee and from the Government. Basic Plan Benefits are a monthly payment depending on the employee's pay and length of service. As in most retirement plans, a formula is used to compute the payments under the Basic Benefit Plan. The Government averages the highest 3 consecutive years of basic pay. This "high-3" average pay, together with the employee’s length of service is used in the benefit formula. Employees who meet the criteria also receive a "Special Retirement Supplement" which is paid as a monthly benefit until the employee reaches age 62. This supplement approximates the Social Security benefit earned by the employee while they were employed by the Federal government.

Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)

The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) is a voluntary retirement savings and investment plan for FERS and CSRS (Civil Service Retirement System) employees. The purpose of the TSP is to provide retirement income. A major advantage of the TSP is that you pay no taxes on contributions or earnings until you withdraw your account.

If you are covered by FERS, you can contribute your own money as soon as you are hired. You can also start or change your contributions any time up to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) annual limit. As soon as you are eligible for agency contributions, NGA will automatically contribute an amount equal to 1% of your basic pay each pay period, whether you contribute or not. If you are contributing, NGA will match your contributions dollar-for-dollar on the first 3% you contribute each pay period, and 50 cents on the dollar for the next 2% you contribute.

If you are covered by CSRS, you can contribute a percentage of your basic pay each pay period, up to the IRS annual limit. You do not receive any agency contributions.

Effective August 2010, all new hires to Federal service will be automatically enrolled in TSP at a rate of 3% of the employee’s basic salary including locality. Employees will have the option to waive the automatic enrollment. All employees covered by FERS and CSRS may make a TSP contribution election or elect to increase or decrease their current contributions any time. You may allocate your TSP holding to any of the available funds. Please visit for more information.

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