Break in service


Q: I am under FERS. I have 30 years of service and am 50 years old. My MRA is 56. I plan on leaving federal employment to work in private sector. Can I be re-employed at age 55 and still retire at age 56? Is there any minimum time limit I must work when re-employed before I retire, i.e. if rehired at age 55 and 10 months could I retire in two months? Also, could I be re-hired after age 56 if I had not applied for retirement benefits yet? My main concern to get re-employed is to be eligible for health insurance and FERS supplement which are not granted for deferred retirement.

A: If you are rehired by the federal government in a position that’s covered by FERS, there’s no time limit on how long you would have to stay before you retired. All you’d need is to meet the age and service requirements. If you had been covered by the Federal Employees Health Benefits program for the five consecutive years before you retired, you could carry that coverage into retirement.

On a personal note, if I was the guy who needed an employee to carry out the work of my organization, had taken all the time and effort needed to get approval, make a search for candidates, screened them, and selected you, and you retired either on the day you arrived or shortly thereafter, I’d be upset. My point? This isn’t all about you. You need to make it worth your new employer’s while to have hired you.


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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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