Early out and buyout


Q. My agency has offered an early out (Voluntary Early Retirement Authority) but no buyout. Now we are hearing that  a buyout is coming early in fiscal 2012.  If I am approved for VERA,  I will have until my retirement effective date to accept or decline.  If a buyout (Voluntary Separation Incentive Payment) was offered prior to my retirement date, could I apply for it without losing my already approved VERA and still retire under the early out if not approved for the buyout?

A. As a rule, VERAs are offered to a wider audience that are VSIPs, which are usually precisely targeted to high-priority positions that the agency needs to reduce or eliminate. The purpose of the buyout is to encourage employees to retire who otherwise wouldn’t do so without that incentive. If you had already accepted an offer to retire early and your agency was later to identify positions such as the one you occupy to receive a buyout, you might be able to cancel you retirement application and apply for a buyout. Whether your agency would even offer a buyout to someone who has already made up his mind to retire is an open question.

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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 fedexperts@federaltimes.com.

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