Involuntary separation benefits


Q: I have 23 (22 continuous) years federal service under the Federal Employees Retirement System. I am currently age 47. Should I be involuntarily separated, will I be penalized 5 percent a year for each year I am under 56 (my minimum retirement age as I was born in 1961)? Am I entitled to health benefits, as well as my annuity commencing on the day of involuntary separation?

A: Based on your age and service, you wouldn’t be eligible to retire. So, unless you later returned to government service, your only option would be to apply for a deferred annuity at age 60. On the date you separated from the service, you would receive a 31-day extension of your health benefits coverage at no cost to you. You would then be eligible to continue that coverage for up to 18-months under the temporary continuation of coverage provision of law. You would have to pay 100 percent of premiums for that coverage plus 2 percent for administrative expenses.

— Reg Jones


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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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