Federal Employee Benefits

We Speak Your Language

First Command understands the complexity of federal benefits. And we understand that your financial planning needs don’t always match up with the general population. That’s why we’ve built our products and services around complementing your benefits. Visit these helpful links, and contact a First Command Advisor today about your unique situation. After all, we speak your language.

Federal Retirement Programs

Both the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) provide a defined benefit — a basic annuity, or a series of payments at regular intervals — after you retire.

CSRS provides a much larger defined benefit than FERS. Employees in both systems can participate in the Thrift Savings Plan, however, FERS employees are automatically enrolled and can receive Agency Automatic and Matching Contributions. FERS participants will also receive Social Security in retirement.

When considering the part CSRS or FERS will play in supplying your retirement income, some essential questions to ask include:

  • How much money will I need for the retirement lifestyle I envision?
  • Will my defined benefit plan provide the necessary income stream?
  • What amount should I contribute to the TSP to pursue the retirement income I desire?
  • (For FERS members) What will my monthly Social Security benefit be at retirement? Will this plus my defined benefit and TSP savings be enough to retire on?
  • At what age can I retire with the income I desire?

We’re ready to help you determine the answers to these questions and make retirement income planning part of a comprehensive financial plan to help you pursue your goals. To learn more,  contact a trusted First Command Financial Advisor today.

This description is provided for informational purposes only. First Command Financial Services, Inc. and its related entities are not affiliated with, authorized to sell or represent on behalf of, or otherwise endorsed by the federal employee benefits programs referenced on this web site or by the U.S. Government or U.S. Armed Forces.

Survivor Benefits

Under CSRS and FERS, your survivors are eligible for benefits if you die while in service or during retirement.

Monthly survivor benefits may be payable to your spouse, and/or to your ex-spouse, if you elected these benefits or if a benefit was court-ordered. Benefits to children, which are automatically provided without need to elect them, are payable until age 18. A lump sum payment, covering benefits you earned from the first of the month through the date of your death, may also be payable.

For most federal employees, electing some level of survivor annuity makes sense, as the annuity is paid for the life of the survivor, with annual adjustments for inflation. It allows the retiree’s annuity to be restored if the beneficiary dies first. And though the survivor benefit reduces the retiree’s annuity, it also reduces his or her taxable income.

When planning for your survivors’ needs, some essential questions to ask include:

  • What are the particular benefits due to my survivors under my retirement system?
  • What role will any savings, investments or insurance play in helping meet my survivors’ needs?
  • Should I elect a survivor annuity — full or partial — for my spouse when I retire?
  • If I waive the spousal annuity, how will I replace his or her health benefits, which are waived at the same time?

We’re ready to help you determine the answers to these questions and develop a comprehensive financial plan to help you pursue your goals. To learn more, contact a trusted first Command Financial Advisor today.

Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance

As a federal employee, you’re typically covered by basic life insurance through the Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance program (FEGLI), and premiums are deducted from your paycheck unless you waive the coverage. As a FEGLI policyholder, you may choose from three optional types of coverage (Standard, Additional and Family) to supplement your basic coverage.

FEGLI is term life insurance, meaning that it provides a defined benefit if the policyholder dies during the period of time — the term — specified in the policy. Unlike permanent insurance such as whole-life policies, FEGLI does not build up any cash value or paid-up value.

When considering the role FEGLI plays in safeguarding your loved ones’ financial security, some essential questions to ask include:

  • Is FEGLI alone adequate to meet all of my life insurance needs … or should I consider supplementing it with commercial insurance?
  • What FEGLI options meet my insurance needs and budget?
  • What happens to my FEGLI when I separate from government service or retire?
  • How does FEGLI or other life insurance fit into my financial plan?

We’re ready to help you determine answers to these questions, assess your life insurance needs, and develop an insurance strategy as part of a comprehensive financial plan to help you pursue your goals. To learn more,  contact a trusted First Command Financial Advisor today.

Thrift Savings Plan

The Thrift Savings Plan is a defined-contribution retirement savings plan similar in many ways to corporate 401(k) plans.

If you're enrolled in FERS, you receive an Agency Automatic Contribution to your TSP account that's equal to 1 percent of your pay. All new hires automatically have 3 percent of their basic pay contributed to the TSP. Plus, you're eligible for additional Agency Matching Contributions of up to 4 percent based on the amount you designate to be withheld from your pay and deposited to your TSP. *

If you're enrolled in CSRS, you may contribute to a TSP account, but you receive no matching contributions.

Contributions to your TSP account may be made in any amount up to the Internal Revenue Code annual limit — for 2015, $18,000 or if you're age 50 or older, $24,000 under the “catch-up” provision. And you can allocate the investment funds in your TSP among several choices to help you pursue your financial goals in the time frame you specify.

There are two account types in the TSP: traditional and Roth. With the traditional account, contributions are made pre-tax, earnings compound on a tax-deferred basis and withdrawals are taxed as ordinary income. Conversely, with the Roth account, contributions are made after-tax, therefore earnings compound on an after-tax basis, and withdrawals are not taxed (provided minimum eligibility requirements are met). Contributions may be made to the traditional account, the Roth account or a combination of the two.

When considering the part a Thrift Savings Plan account may play in supplying your retirement income, some essential questions to ask include:

  • How much should I contribute to my TSP account to fund my retirement?
  • To which investments, and in what proportions, should I allocate my contributions?
  • Do the investment funds in my TSP complement any other investments I may have so that my entire portfolio is diversified appropriately for my investment strategy and financial goals?

We're ready to help you determine the answers to these questions and integrate your TSP account into a comprehensive financial plan to help you pursue your financial goals. To learn more, contact a trusted First Command Financial Advisor today.

*Contributions are matched dollar-for-dollar on the first 3% of pay you contribute each pay period and 50 cents on the dollar for the next 2% of pay.

This description is provided for informational purposes only. First Command Financial Services, Inc. and its related entities are not affiliated with, authorized to sell or represent on behalf of, or otherwise endorsed by the federal employee benefits programs referenced on this web site or by the U.S. Government or U.S. Armed Forces.


Prior to requesting a rollover from your Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) account to an Individual Retirement Account (IRA), you should consider whether the rollover is suitable for you. There may be important differences in features, costs, services, withdrawal options and other important aspects between your TSP account and IRA.

TSP accounts have very low administrative and investment expenses. Expenses can have a significant impact on your investment returns over time.

TSP offers various withdrawal options, including in-service, partial and full withdrawal options. You should consider the effect that a withdrawal from your TSP account may have on your ability to make future contributions or withdrawals. TSP permits only one in-service or partial lump-sum withdrawal; therefore, if a second lump-sum withdrawal is needed, you must elect a full withdrawal option (i.e., lump sum, monthly payments, and/or life annuity). You may also want to consider maintaining at least a minimal TSP account balance because, in the event you want to transfer or rollover qualified assets to your TSP account in the future, you must have an open TSP account with a balance when your request is received by the TSP.

For additional information regarding TSP, visit  www.tsp.gov.

This description is provided for informational purposes only. First Command Financial Services, Inc. and its related entities are not affiliated with, authorized to sell or represent on behalf of, or otherwise endorsed by the federal employee benefits programs referenced on this web site or by the U.S. Government or U.S. Armed Forces.