Q: I am 64. I spent two years in the military from 1975-77. I became employed by the Veterans Administration in 1981 and left in 1991 with about 10 years of creditable service under the Civil Service Retirement System. It is my understanding that at age 62 I could have applied for a deferred annuity, but did not do so. I am employed and anticipate stopping work in three years (age 67-68). Is there any advantage to delaying the initiation of my annuity (as is the case for Social Security)? Will this increase my monthly annuity and any possible spousal benefits?
A: If you left your contributions in the retirement system when you left government, you would be eligible for a deferred retirement. There is no advantage to delaying your application for it. No matter when you apply, it will be based on a set formula, your highest three years of average basic pay on the day you left government, and your years and full months of creditable service. Since you will be applying for that annuity after reaching age 62, you will receive back payments for the period between age 62 and the date your deferred annuity begins. Those payments will include any cost-of-living adjustments that would have been applied had you already been on the annuity roll.