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General Schedule (GS) Retirement


General Schedule (GS) Retirement refers to a retirement system for U.S federal employees who are categorized within the General Schedule pay scale. This scale includes those working in professional, administrative, technical, and clerical roles. The retirement benefits are determined based on the employee’s length of service, age, and salary, and include pensions, survivors’ benefits, and insurance.

Key Takeaways

  1. General Schedule (GS) Retirement refers to the federal retirement system for civilian government employees, offering pension benefits based on years of service, salary, and retirement age.
  2. GS Retirement consists of three components: the Basic Benefit Plan, Social Security, and the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) – a defined contribution plan similar to a 401(k).
  3. Eligibility for GS Retirement benefits under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) varies, typically requiring a minimum of 5 years of service, with benefits dependent on the employee’s age and years of service at their time of retirement.


The General Schedule (GS) Retirement is an important aspect of VA benefits as it refers to the retirement system for civilian federal employees, which encompasses a significant number of Veterans Affairs (VA) employees.

Understanding this term is crucial for those VA employees because it outlines the specific benefits, pension plans, and eligibility requirements they may be entitled to upon retirement.

The GS Retirement is comprised of the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), both of which offer distinct advantages and benefits to the eligible retirees.

By familiarizing themselves with the GS Retirement system, VA employees can better plan and prepare for their post-service financial security and overall well-being.


The General Schedule (GS) Retirement system is designed explicitly to offer a stable and secure source of post-retirement income to federal employees, ensuring financial support and sustainability during their retirement years. The purpose of this retirement system lies in acknowledging the valuable services these employees provide to their country during their years of employment with the government.

Through an organized and well-structured retirement plan, the GS system fosters an environment of security and motivation among federal workers, which in turn helps the government retain competent personnel and maintain the efficiency and effectiveness of essential public services. The GS Retirement system primarily operates based on contributions made by the federal employee and the government during the individual’s career.

This system is used to calculate and provide retirement benefits, which include a lifetime annuity based on an employee’s years of service, average salary, and a specified pension calculation formula. Moreover, the GS Retirement system may also offer additional benefits such as survivor and disability payments, ensuring holistic financial protection to the employees and their families.

In essence, the GS Retirement system serves as an indispensable tool in offering federal employees financial stability and support after their dedicated service, while simultaneously enhancing the government’s ability to attract and retain high-quality personnel.

Examples of General Schedule (GS) Retirement

The General Schedule (GS) Retirement system is a retirement plan for federal employees, including those working for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Here are three real-world examples of how the GS Retirement system affects or relates to VA Benefits:

GS Retirement for VA Healthcare Providers:Healthcare providers working in VA hospitals, such as physicians, nurses, and other medical professionals, are often federal employees subject to the General Schedule Retirement system. They contribute to the system through payroll deductions during their years of service in the VA healthcare system and may be eligible for retirement benefits, including a monthly annuity and access to continued healthcare coverage, once they meet the criteria for age and years of service for retirement.

Retirement Benefits for VA Administrative Staff:Administrative staff working in VA offices, such as those helping veterans with benefits applications and processing claims, are typically federal employees under the General Schedule system. They also contribute to the GS Retirement system and may qualify for retirement benefits, including the annuity and healthcare coverage, based on their years of service and age upon retirement.

Impact on Veterans’ Services:In some cases, the retirement of experienced VA employees under the GS Retirement system may impact the quality and timeliness of services provided to veterans. As these experienced employees retire, the VA may experience challenges in recruiting and training new personnel to maintain a high level of service to veterans seeking benefits and healthcare services.Remember that the General Schedule Retirement system is here for the employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs and other federal organizations, not directly for veterans.

FAQ – General Schedule (GS) Retirement

1. What is the General Schedule (GS) Retirement System?

The General Schedule (GS) retirement system is the federal retirement system for civilian government employees. It consists of two main components: the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) for employees hired before 1984, and the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) for those hired in 1984 and later.

2. How does the GS retirement system work?

The GS retirement system provides retirement pension, survivor, and disability benefits based on a combination of years of service and the average of the employee’s highest three years of salary. The exact calculation depends on whether the employee is covered by the CSRS or FERS retirement system.

3. When am I eligible for GS retirement?

Eligibility for GS retirement depends on your age and years of service. For CSRS employees, eligibility begins at age 55 with 30 years of service, age 60 with 20 years of service, or age 62 with 5 years of service. For FERS employees, eligibility begins at the Minimum Retirement Age (MRA) with 30 years of service, age 60 with 20 years of service, or age 62 with 5 years of service. MRA varies depending on the year of birth, ranging from 55 to 57.

4. How are GS retirement benefits calculated?

GS retirement benefits are calculated based on a formula that takes into account the employee’s years of service, the average of the highest three years’ salary (known as “high-3”), and a multiplier factor that varies depending on the retirement system (CSRS or FERS).

5. Can I receive Social Security benefits in addition to my GS retirement benefits?

Yes, you can receive Social Security benefits in addition to your GS retirement benefits if you are enrolled in the FERS retirement system. However, CSRS employees do not participate in Social Security and are not eligible for Social Security benefits based on their federal service.

6. Can I continue my health and life insurance coverage after retirement?

Yes, you can continue your federal health and life insurance coverage in retirement if you meet certain eligibility requirements. Generally, you must have been continuously enrolled in the insurance program for at least five years immediately before retiring or since your earliest opportunity to enroll.

Related VA Benefit Terms

  • GS Retirement System (FERS)
  • Service Computation Date (SCD)
  • Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)
  • Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA)
  • Retirement Annuity Payments

Sources for More Information