Retirement benefits of fired federal employees


Q. Does a federal employee who was fired get to retain FERS defined benefit plan annuity and government contribution of TSP? Does it matter if the employee is fired for performance or conduct issue?

A: Any employee who is fired, whether for performance or conduct, usually retains any entitlements he or she has earned up to that point in time. For example, if eligible for immediate retirement, the employee may retire. If the employee isn’t currently eligible but has the correct number of years of service, he or she can apply for a deferred annuity at a later date. However, if the conduct for which the employee was fired ended up with debts owed to the government, these could be recouped through liens against any retirement benefits or funds in the TSP. Only if the employee is subsequently convicted of crimes, such  as treason, would all retirement benefits be forfeited.  See 5 U.S. Code8311.

About Author

Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to


  1. Is usps employee any different rules, for any misconduct beside 5 us code 8311. be fired, able for immediate retirement with 20yr and 50 of age.

  2. I was a irs agent for 14 years 84 – 98, was fired. was under fers . was 40 yrs old in 98. took a loan out against my acct prior to being fired. Is my retirement account still active through fers ? will I still receive any retirement from fers. I did not repay loan as I was fired.

    • The loan you took out before being fired was from your Thrift Saving Plan account. If you didn’t ask for a refund of your retirement contributions after you left government, you’d be entitled to a deferred annuity at age 62.

  3. Began work at the PO in December 1990. If removed for misconduct, can this employee retire now (March 2018) and still collect FERS retirement including Special Retirement Supplement? While appealing the removal with MSPB.

    Thank you!

    • After receiving an email from a knowledgeable reader, I dug a little deeper and discovered that I was wrong. Section 44A1.1-1 states that employees who are separated from the service on charges of misconduct or delinquency aren’t eligible to a discontinued service annuity.

  4. Hi Reg, I thought that being removed for misconduct made you ineligible for a Discontinued Service Retirement. Per Chapter 44, DSR, CSRS/Handbook, Section 44A1.1-1, A. “Employees who are separated for cause on charges of misconduct or delinquency are not eligible for a discontinued service annuity.”

  5. I should also have included the section on FERS DSR, Chapter 44, DSR, CSRS/FERS Handbook, Section 44B1.1-1 C, Applicable CSRS Provision, which states that: “The following section and parts of subchapter 44A apply entirely to FERS employees:
    Section 44A1.1-2: Definitions, and Part 44A2: Conditions for Involuntary Separation.”
    So, being separated for misconduct makes a FERS employee also ineligible for DSR, from what I read. Please correct me if I am wrong.

  6. I have 18 years of service and was fired for causing a disruption in the workplace. Iwas on a last chance agreement so I have no appeal rights. None of the allegation are true, never the less . My question is do I still get my retirement at 62. I am now 58

    • I learned today from my Forman, my department is working with HR moving towards termination. I was sick, missed work, exhausted entire accrued leave, was verbally approved for LWOP & then charged with 3 weeks AWOL for not calling in everyday. Out for 8 weeks total. All during this Pandemic.
      Would I qualify for deferred retirement?
      Just over 4yrs of VHA Service, just learned today I have previous service to buy back US Army Corp of Engineers & USFS, bringing me over 5 yrs.
      60yr old, VHA Maintenance Mechanic,
      100% Permanent & Total Veteran Disability.
      What should I do? Retire? Resign? Or wait for termination?

      • Check with your personnel office to find out if you have 5 years of FERS service. That number includes both actual service and the time you spent on annual leave. If you do have 5 years, you’d qualify for a deferred annuity at age 62. If you don’t, you’d only be entitled to a refund of your retirement deductions.

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