Q: I have six years of military service before I entered government service, and I have six years under FERS. I am 6C law enforcement with cover of 1.7 percent a year. Can I retire with 20 years of service, combining all those years, and defer my retirement without reaching my MRA? Can I retire with 20 years of service, combining all those years, and defer my retirement without reaching my MRA? Can I take a deferred retirement after 20 years plus a day and start collecting when I am 60 without been penalized 5 percent for every year that I retire earlier? Will I just get 1 percent a year for my military service if I buy out my years? Will I get my 1 percent or 1.7 percent for my remaining years as 6C law enforcement? If I get out with a deferred retirement, will the inflation rate be adjusted too?
A: First things first. In order to retire as a law enforcement officer, you would have to have 20 years of covered service. Because your military service preceded your employment as an LEO, it won’t count toward those required years. If you do work until you have 20 years of covered service, you have two choices. If you are at least 50, you can retire then. If you haven’t reached 50, you could resign from government and apply for a deferred annuity when you reach your minimum retirement age. MRAs range from 55 to 57, depending on your year of birth. If you apply for a deferred retirement, the enhanced law enforcement formula would be used to compute your 20 years of covered service and your highest three years of average salary (your high-3) on the date you resigned. Any additional service would be computed using the standard formula. It wouldn’t be increased by any cost-of-living adjustments that occurred between the time you left and the day on which your annuity begins. Further, you would lose your coverage in the Federal Employees Health Benefits and Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance programs, and you wouldn’t be eligible to re-enroll in either of them when your annuity began. If you didn’t have 20 years of covered service, but instead a mixture of covered and non-covered service that added up to 20 years, then you’d have two choices. If you had reached your MRA, you could retire under the MRA+10 provision. However, your annuity would be reduced by 5 percent for every year you were under 60, unless you postponed the receipt of your annuity until a later date to reduce or eliminate the age reduction penalty. If you hadn’t reached your MRA, you could resign from government and apply for a deferred annuity at age 60. Your annuity would be computed using the standard formula, with no COLA increases to your high-3 on the day you resigned, and no opportunity to re-enroll in the FEHB or FEGLI programs.