Retiring and returning


Q: I’m thinking of retiring and wondering if there is anything that precludes an individual from retiring one day and coming back to work as a federal employee the next?

A: Not that I’m aware of. However, there are some things you need to keep in mind. If you were to take early retirement, when you returned to work your annuity would be canceled and you would be treated as any regular employee with the same age and service. And you wouldn’t be eligible to retire again until you met the age and service requirements. On the other hand, if you met the age and service requirements to retire on an immediate, unreduced annuity, your annuity would continue, but in most cases, the salary of your new position would be offset by the amount of your annuity. In either case, any lump-sum payment for unused annual leave you received would have to be returned to your former agency. And, if you had received a buyout payment, that money also would have to be returned.


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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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