FERS and reserve military retirement


Q. I served 14 years active duty in the military and got out under Higher Tenure for which I received Involuntary Separation Pay. Now I’m receiving 40 percent disability from the VA, and in the reserves and planning on retiring from there once I reach 20 years. In addition, I just started working for the VA, and planning on buying back my military time. Can I receive retirement from both the VA and the reserves? How early can I retire from the VA? And how is the Involuntary Separation Pay and the disability affect all of this?

A. Yes, if you make a deposit for your period of active-duty service, you can receive both reserve retired pay and a FERS annuity. To be eligible for a FERS annuity, you would first have to have five years of actual FERS service. Once you’ve crossed that threshold, the following age and service combinations apply:

* 62 with 5 years
* 60 with 20
* At your minimum retirement age (MRA) with 30, or at your MRA with at least 10
In the latter case, your annuity would be reduced by 5 percent for every year you were under age 62 unless, as noted above, you retired at age 60 with at least 20 years of service. FYI: You can retire under the MRA+10 provision and defer the receipt of your annuity to a later date to reduce or eliminate the age penalty.

About Author

Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to fedexperts@federaltimes.com.

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