Q: I work for the Federal Bureau of Prisons. In November, I will have 20 years’ service in law enforcement and will be 49 years old. If I decide to retire right there and then, do I have to wait an extra year to collect benefits? Can I retire at age 49 with 20 years of law enforcement plus 4 years of active-duty military service?
A: No, you can’t retire on an immediate annuity at age 49. You’ll have to wait until age 50 to retire under the special provision for law enforcement officers. You could, of course, resign from the government and apply for a deferred annuity when you reach your minimum retirement age. MRAs range between 55 and 57, depending on your year of birth. If you did that, your annuity would be based on your high-3 on the day you left government, and you wouldn’t be allowed to re-enroll in either the Federal Employees Health Benefits program or the Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance program.