Q: I am 53 and work for the U.S. Postal Service under CSRS with 33.5 years service. Our facility is undergoing an AMP study to determine whether it will shut our plant down and merge operations with a facility 50 miles away. If they do shut us down, I would like to retire early at that time. I know that there is a 2 percent per year penalty for retiring early. This AMP study will probably not be finished until sometime in June. I know that the post office is about to offer voluntary early retirement sometime this spring or summer. I really don’t want to take a VER unless our plant closes. If I do not have the results of the AMP study by the time the VER “window” closes, will I still have the option to retire early at the time our plant gets a notice that it will be shut down and its employees excessed to another facility? In other words, does a postal employee have the option to retire when notified of being excessed? And if I retire early then, outside of a VER, can I start collecting my (reduced) retirement immediately, or do I have to wait until I reach 55?
A: If you receive an official notice that specifies when you may be separated, you may take early retirement. If you retired during the first three days of a month, your annuity would begin immediately. If later than that, it would begin in the following month.