Annuity options


Q: I am considering leaving my federal position and had a couple of questions about how this would affect my Federal Employees Retirement System. I have been a federal employee for a little over four years and am nowhere near my minimum retirement age (not eligible for an immediate retirement benefit). I understand that because I do not have five years of creditable service I am not eligible for a deferred annuity under FERS and that I have the option to request a refund of my FERS retirement. Since I am not eligible for a deferred annuity, is it mandatory for me to request a refund of my FERS retirement? As I understand it, if I receive a refund for my FERS retirement, I am no longer eligible for FERS retirement and I also lose my creditable years of service. I would like to keep my options open as far as returning to federal service (I want to keep the years of creditable service). If it is not mandatory to request a refund of my FERS retirement, and I don’t request a refund, will my creditable service (less than four years) still count toward my FERS retirement if I return to federal service?

A: Yes, you can leave your retirement contributions in the fund. If you return to government service later on, you’ll pick up where you left off. If you don’t, you can always request a refund.

— Reg Jones


About Author

Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to

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