Transferring to a non-LEO position

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Q: I am a federal law enforcement employee with 20 years covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System FERS plus five years worth of military buyback time. I have six more years before I will face mandatory retirement at my 57th birthday. I want to transfer to a non-LEO position with another federal agency so I can keep working. Please confirm that if I do transfer to a non-LEO position with another federal agency that I can keep working past 57 and not face mandatory retirement, and that my 20 years of FERS LEO service will transfer over at the 1.7 percent per year retirement rate as a part of my overall pension. Neither the Office of Personnel Management nor my human resources office have confirmed this for me.

A: If you transfer to a noncovered position, you can continue working as long as you want. When you retire, your 20 years of covered service will be computed using the special, enhanced formula. The rest of your service will be calculated using the standard multiplier of 0.01 percent, unless you retire at age 62 or later. In that case, those years would be multiplied by 0.011 percent.

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  1. I have some doubt as to whether this answer is technically correct.

    If the questioner already has 20 years of LEO plus 5 years of military by back time, he already has 25 years of government service for retirement purposes. He states he has six more years coming of LEO so when he reaches age 57 he will then have a total of 31 years of government service for retirement purposes, with 26 of those years being in a covered position…LEO.

    If the poster then retires under the FERS “MRA + 30″ option as opposed to the LEO early retirement option of “20 years at any age”, then I believe the law states that as long as there are at least 5 years in a “covered position”, then “all” covered time as an LEO will be counted at 1.7% and the rest at 1%.

    Therefore, at age 57, the poster should have a basic annuity of (26*1.7) + 5 or 49.2% as opposed to the answer as provided which calculates to (20*1.7) + 11 = 45%.

  2. Oops, I’ll take the above comment back.

    This special provision above only applies to Air Traffic Controllers and not Law Enforcement. The basis for the above was (5 USC 8412(a)) and I initially thought that all jobs that got the special 1.7 fell under the described mra+30 provision, but it turns out it only applies to Air Traffic.

    My bad.

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