CSRS Retirement Eligibility

Eligibility for Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) retirement benefits is determined by your age at retirement, your number of years of creditable service, what type of retirement you choose and in some cases, other special requirements. There are several categories of retirement. In all cases, you must have served in a position subject to CSRS coverage for one of the last two years before you take retirement. This article discusses eligibility issues requirements for each type of retirement.

Retirement Categories and Eligibility

Optional Voluntary Retirement

This retirement category enables you to obtain immediate retirement annuity benefits. There are no special requirements other than your age and number of years of creditable service. Here are the age and years of service requirements for this retirement option:
Age                         Years of Service
62                           5 
60                           20
55                           30

Early Optional Retirement

To be eligible for this retirement category, your agency must be undergoing a major reorganization, reduction-in-force, or transfer of function determined by the Office of Personnel Management. Your annuity is reduced if you are under age 55. Here are the age and years of service requirements for this retirement category.
Age                  Years of Service
50                    20
Any age           25

Special Provision Retirement

This is a special retirement category for air traffic controllers, law enforcement officers, firefighters, nuclear materials couriers, Supreme Court Police and Capitol Police. Here are the age and service requirements for eligibility:
Age                  Years of Service
50                    20
Any age*         25
*Only air traffic controllers can retire at any age with 25 years of service as an air traffic controller.

Discontinued Service Retirement

In this case, your separation from service must be involuntary and not a removal for misconduct or delinquency. The age and service requirements for eligibility for this retirement category are as follows:

Age                  Years of Service
50                    20
Any Age           25

Retirement for Disability

To be eligible for a disability-related retirement, you must be disabled for useful and efficient service in your current position and any other vacant position at the same grade or pay level within your commuting area and current agency for which you are qualified. You must have been disabled prior to your retirement, and the disability should be expected to last for more than one year. Eligibility for this retirement benefit can be at any age, with at least 5 years of service.

Deferred Annuity 

If you leave Federal service before you meet the age and service requirements for an immediate retirement benefit, you may be eligible for deferred retirement benefits. To obtain your deferred annuity you will have to complete  OPM’s Form 1496A at


and send it to the address listed on the form. The form has 9 pages of detailed instructions and general information about eligibility and payments. Contact OPM directly for any further assistance you may need.  There is no reason to delay applying for the annuity beyond age 62. You should wait until 60 days prior to your 62nd birthday before you submit your application. OPM can be reached by calling toll-free 1 (888) 767-6738, or writing to: Office of Personnel Management, PO Box 45, Boyers, PA 16017.