There’s an old adage that it’s never too early to start planning for retirement. Whether you’re just starting out or VA is the next step in a storied career, participating in our mission of service to Veterans offers you a leg up as you look to the future.
“VA employees enjoy very generous retirement benefits that allow them to retire with confidence,” said Darren Sherrard, associate director for recruitment marketing at VA.
The Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS)
As the largest employer in the nation, the federal government is able to offer exceptional retirement benefits, which includes a comprehensive retirement package known as the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS).
FERS consists of 3 major components:
- Social Security benefits
- The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), a contribution plan which operates like a 401(k)
- The FERS annuity, which works like a pension
This combination distinguishes VA and other federal employers from the private sector and offers employees an attractive option as they plan for retirement.
The inner workings of FERS
As a VA employee, you automatically contribute to your pension plan and Social Security each pay period. In addition to what you supply from your paycheck, VA contributes to these portions of the retirement plan on your behalf.
We contribute to the TSP portion of your retirement plan, depositing an amount equal to 1% of your basic pay for a pay period into your TSP account. And, just like a 401(k), you may make your own pre-tax contributions to the TSP, which we match up to 4% over and above the 1% contribution.
When you retire, you’ll receive monthly payments for the rest of your life, based on your salary and how long you worked for VA.
Additional incentives of VA careers
One great thing about FERS is that, if you choose to leave federal employment, you can take the Social Security and TSP components with you to your next job, but let’s be honest: once you find a place on our team, we’re pretty confident you’ll want to stick around.
After all, you wouldn’t want to miss out on all the other employment benefits we offer with your VA career. Beyond the generous retirement package, you can enjoy:
- Sick leave with no cap on accumulated time, 11 paid federal holidays, and 13-26 vacation days
- Premium-support group health insurance, including dental, vision, and long-term care
- Term life insurance with family and additional coverage options
- Education support options, including loan repayment plans and continuing education funds
When the time to retire arrives on your calendar, the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program lets you carry your health insurance coverage with you into retirement.
Apply your military service
Part of FERS is that you can be eligible for monthly benefits after just 5 years of federal service, if you meet the age requirements for retirement. And Veterans have an additional option available to them when it comes to eligibility.
As a general rule, military service is creditable for federal retirement purposes, giving your pension planning a bump in acknowledgement for your years of service, and your decision to continue serving your fellow Veterans.
Your military service can impact not only when you retire, but how much you receive from FERS upon retirement, making a career at VA all the more appealing to those who have served our country with honor.
Work at VA
Let VA help you plan for a future of rest and relaxation with our access to comprehensive retirement benefits and offer you a rewarding career serving Veterans along the way.