Best time to retire


Q: I will be 56 (my minimum retirement age) in July with 28 years and three months of federal service under FERS. What are the advantages of waiting until I have 30 years of service before retiring?

A: Let’s turn it around. Because you wouldn’t be eligible for an immediate, unreduced annuity, if you retired now it would be under the MRA+10 provision (minimum retirement age with at least 10 years of service but fewer than 30). As a result, your annuity would be reduced by 5 percent for every year you are younger than 60. You could, of course, delay the receipt of your annuity to a later date to reduce or eliminate the age penalty. If you did, after 31 days you’d be able to continue your FEHB coverage for 18 months under the continuation of coverage provision, during which time you would pay the full premium, plus 2 percent for administrative costs. Once your annuity began, you’d be able to re-enroll in the FEHB program. As for FEGLI, you’d be covered for 31 days, after which you’d have the option of buying individual life insurance at your own expense. Like the FEHB, you’d be able to re-enroll once your annuity began.


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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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