Q: I am 48 years old, have 21 years of 6c covered law enforcement time under FERS and bought back a year of military time for a total of just over 22 years of federal service. I am looking at a possible promotion to Senior Executive Service, but it would be in a non 6c covered position. Once I turn 50, if for some reason I decide to leave government service altogether, can I activate my retirement then at age 50, or must I either stay until my minimum retirement age (55-57) or resign from government altogether and wait until my MRA? The benefits of the SES position are attractive, but having no choice but to stay until my MRA makes it less so if that turns out to be the case.
A: If you have 20 years of covered service, are age 50, and continue to be employed by the federal government, you can retire at any time you want to. The fact that you are in a non-LEO position has no bearing on your ability to do that. On the other hand, if you have 20 years of covered service and leave government service before reaching age 50, you wouldn’t be eligible for a deferred annuity until your minimum retirement age.