Deferred retirement after involuntary separation


Q: I have a co-worker who is under the Federal Employees Retirement System. She has a little more than 24 years of federal service and just turned 49. She has gone through two performance improvement periods and is facing the possibility of involuntary separation because of performance issues.

She has been given a notice of intention to separate her from service. She responded with some reasons why it shouldn’t happen at all and also with other possible solutions, such as a downgrade and/or transfer, or putting her on leave/leave without pay until she is eligible for a discontinued service retirement. If her proposal is denied and the final decision is to remove her from service immediately, would she still be eligible for a deferred retirement? Would she have to apply for that retirement before her separation date? And, because she has more than 20 years of service, would she be able to start getting the annuity at her minimum retirement age of 56?

A: If she is involuntarily separated, she could apply for a deferred retirement. Because she has at least 20 years of creditable service, she would be eligible for that benefit at age 60 and could apply for it when she is a few months away from her 60th birthday. Her local personnel office can provide her with the information needed to do that.


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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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