It was so nice to get a primer on retirement plans — FERS vs. CSRS — from (Green Park Alderman) Ms. (Judy) Bet-lach.
However, it would have been good to get it right. The FERS system was implemented in 1987 with almost all employed after 1983 participating. The CSRS is a full retirement plan that included defined benefits approximating the private sector pension, 401(k), and Social Security. For this benefit CSRS federal employees paid 7.5 percent of the total gross pay.
Contrary to Ms. Betlach's assertion, FERS is — was — not inferior to the CSRS retirement for new hires or those minimally vested in the CSRS. FERS consists of three distinct aspects:
• The Basic Benefit that would compare to the private sector pension.
• Social Security.
• The Thrift Savings Plan — TSP — which is jointly contributed by the em-ployee and the employer similar to the private sector 401(k).
The reason CSRS employees were allowed a choice was based on years of service.
Generally, an employee with 10 or more years under CSRS and no prior Social Se-curity contributions was better off in CSRS.
The FERS system was designed to work with Social Security with the Basic Ben-efit and the TSP portions to be flexible and portable as in the private sector.
Just maybe, Ms. Betlach should stick to local political issues and fixing potholes.