Benefits for involuntary separation?


Q: I am an air traffic controller (ATC) with the Defense Department. I’m 53 years old and have met eligibility for the optional retirement. I have been deemed permanently medically disqualified to perform ATC duties due to prescribed medication for a stress-related disorder. A lot of what I’m reading tells me I am facing involuntary separation, which qualifies me for discontinued service retirement if my local human resources agency cannot find a alternate position due to my limited qualifications and my grade (I’m a GS-12 with less than a bachelor’s degree and I’m only experienced in ATC, live-fire range operations and airfield base operations). In your interpretation of the rules, would my situation entitle me to any type of special benefits?

A: I’m not aware of any special benefits that would be available to an employee who is eligible for voluntary retirement but elects instead to be separated involuntarily. If there are any, your agency’s personnel office would be the best place to find out about them.


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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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