Q: I’m in my 30s and I’m under the Federal Employees Retirement System. My MRA is 57. I’ve worked for five years in federal civil service and will buy back five years of military service in the next few months. This will give me a total of 10 years combined service. If I left government work for the private sector or to start my own business would I still be eligible to receive a retirement benefit at 57? This would put me at the MRA with 10 years of combined service. Also, if I’m eligible for a retirement benefit at 57, how would I file for the benefit assuming I would no longer be a government employee?
A: You would be eligible for a deferred retirement when you reach your minimum retirement age. Under the MRA+10 provision, your annuity would be reduced by 5 percent for every year you were younger than 62. You could, of course, delay the receipt of your annuity to a later date to reduce or eliminate the age penalty. As an MRA+10 retiree, you wouldn’t be eligible for the special retirement supplement, which approximates the Social Security benefit you earned while covered by FERS, nor would you be able to re-enroll in the Federal Employees Health Benefits or Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance programs. To apply for a deferred retirement, you’d need to complete a copy of Standard Form 3107 and send it to OPM. You can download a copy by going to www.opm.gov and clicking on Find Form(s).