Q: I am a federal law enforcement officer covered by FERS with more than 20 years of service under FERS, but I have not reached the minimum retirement age of 50. Due to plans to transfer me, I must either separate myself from my family, find another job or retire early. My question concerns the viability of the early retirement option. If I retire at 47 with more than 20 years as a federal LEO, what happens? Do my benefits get deferred and, if so, to when? Is there also a financial penalty and, if so, how much?
A: You don’t have the combination of years and covered service needed to retire now. However, since you do have 20 years of service, you could leave government and apply for an annuity when you reach your minimum retirement age. Your annuity would be computed using the more generous law enforcement formula and based on your years and full months of covered service and highest three years of average salary on the day you left.