If you work in a position that your agency has determined to be a law enforcement or firefighting position, you are covered under special rules of the Civil Service Retirement System. You pay a higher retirement contribution rate (in 1997, 7.5% of pay) for more generous retirement benefits, and you have the ability to retire at age 50 after 20 years of law enforcement officer/firefighter covered service. Once you have 20 years of covered service, you are subject to mandatory retirement at age 55 if you are a firefighter and age 57 if you are a law enforcement officer.

Under FERS, there are also special benefits for law enforcement and firefighting personnel, but the rules are different. First, the FERS definition of a law enforcement or firefighting position includes a requirement that the positions be limited to “young and vigorous” personnel. Second, in order to qualify for the special benefits, you must have occupied a primary or first-line law enforcement or firefighting position for at least 3 years before moving to a secondary (that is an administrative or supervisory) position. Agency heads may determine that some supervisory positions are “primary” because they meet the “young and vigorous” requirement. The FERS definition and the 3-year requirement are generally more strict that the CSRS rules.

FERS also has different rules for when you can retire: at age 50 with 20 years of covered service, like CSRS, or at any age with 25 years of covered service. The FERS cost-of-living adjustments will begin at retirement instead of at age 62, the age when most FERS retirees begin to receive cost-of-living adjustments. In addition, law enforcement and firefighting retirees will receive the FERS Special Retirement Supplement until age 62. The earnings test does not apply to the Special Retirement Supplement until you reach the Minimum Retirement Age. Once you have 20 years of covered service, you are subject to mandatory retirement at age 55 if you are a firefighter and age 57 if you are a law enforcement officer.

Customs & Border Protection Officers (CBPO’s) – CSRS and FERS – Public Law 110-161, Division E, Section 535. Was enacted on December 26, 2007, established special retirement provisions for CBPOs became effective as of the pay period beginning July 6, 2008. This new law provides CBPOs with retirement coverage that is similar to that of law enforcement officers (LEOs) Changes retirement deductions and the accrual of benefits.
making an election

The definition under the new law is applicable to both FERS and CSRS: it is defined as an employee who holds a position within the G8-1895 job series and whose duties include activities relating to the arrival and departure of persons, conveyances, and merchandise at Ports of Entry. “Primary” 1895s include only: CBP Officers, Customs Inspectors, Immigration Inspectors, Canine Enforcement Officers. Included in definition are employees within DHS who transfer directly to secondary supervisory or administrative positions after performing the above CBPO duties for a period of at least 3 years. Secondary’ CBPO’s include: Series Job Titles 301 Operations Specialists, 340 DFO’s, Port Directors, Program Managers, 1801 Supervisory Canine Enforcement Officers, Supply Chain Specialists, ACS Specialists, CBP Representatives, Senior Watch Officers, 1895 Supervisory CBPOs, CBPOs (Course Developer/lnstructor).

Retirement rules are different for Special Groups; it is generally more difficult to calculate the financial impact of these rules on retirement. VEBS can help you with several difficult decisions that will affect your retirement.

VEBS will produce a Personalized Federal Employee Benefits report that will provide you with your current benefits and future retirement income. This report is tailored to you and will help you to make your retirement planning much easier.