OP - it appears things are not nearly as dire as you presented in your post. Your vesting period is 5 years, and after 20 years it seems you get a bump from 1% to 1.1%... Are you really stressing over a 0.1% increase in your pension amount? That's about the price of 1 steak dinner a month

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Your years of credible service are reported on the SF-50 form you receive at least once per year. Then, the agency you work for adds a 1% multiplier to your High-3. However, employees who are 62 or older with at least 20 years of service will receive a multiplier of 1.1%. The formula for the basic benefit plan is: High-3 Salary x Years of Service x Pension Multiplier = Annual Pension Benefit. If you worked for 25 years and earned $75,000 per year, your monthly payment would be around $1,560, according to the formula.

https://hr.nih.gov/benefits/retirement/fers-separation-non-retirementRetirement Information

While covered under FERS, you paid contributions towards the Basic Benefit Plan, Social Security, and most likely the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP).

Basic Benefit Plan

If you have five or more years of creditable civilian service, you have 2 options:

Deferred annuity - Leave your money in the retirement fund and apply for a deferred annuity once you meet the age and service requirements.

If you do not file a beneficiary form (SF-3102) and die before the commencing date of your annuity, your benefits will be paid in the normal order of precedence.

Refund of retirement deductions – Complete an application for a refund (SF-3106). If you submit the form within 30 days of separation, return it to the Benefits Office. After 30 days, forward it to OPM at the address on the form.

If you have less than five years of creditable civilian service, your have 2 options:

Leave your money in the retirement fund if you believe you may return to the Federal Government. You may apply for a refund at any time after separation.

Refund of retirement deductions – Complete an application for a refund (SF-3106). If you submit the form within 30 days of separation, return it to the Benefits Office. After 30 days, forward it to OPM at the address on the form.