Q: I plan on taking a deferred retirement at age 54 with 32 years of federal service in May 2012. I have been in the Federal Employees Health Benefits program since 1985. My wife plans taking a job in the federal government prior to me taking the deferred retirement. When she is hired, the plan is for me to transfer to her FEHB.
When I reach age 56 in May 2014, how will the deferred retirement impact the three parts of the Federal Employees Retirement System (basic retirement with high-3, etc.; supplement, which should be 32/40 x what I receive in Social Security at age 62; and Thrift Savings Plan), as well as my FEHB and my sick-leave reimbursement (current projection at 1,400 hours)?
A: Your deferred retirement would be based on your highest three consecutive years of average salary and your years and full months of service on the day you left. Because you had at least 30 years of creditable service, you would be able to apply for a deferred annuity at your minimum retirement age. However, as a deferred retiree, you wouldn’t be eligible for the special retirement supplement and you wouldn’t get any credit for your unused sick leave.
As a retiree, you might be able to assume primary coverage in the FEHB program during an open enrollment season when your wife was still employed and she switched from self and family enrollment in her name to yours, assuming that she had obtained coverage before you left government. However, I recommend that you check this out with your personnel office because there are some potentially tricky corners here.
(Read more about this question on the Federal Times Ask the Experts: Money Matters blog.)