Q: I am 55 and have 28 years of service under FERS. I was involuntarily downgraded in 2002 from a GS-7 position (step 7) to a GS-4 position (step 00) with safe pay, no step increases in the 10 years since this happened, and receiving only half the cost of living. This occurred because of a contracting study which was done and in which my directorate won the study over the bidding contractors followed by a handful of directorate employees choosing who would leave the directorate and be involuntarily placed into whatever was chosen for them. I received no assistance in regaining the grade it took me 17 years to achieve. Are the penalties any different for me if I decide to retire now at 55 or wait until I reach 56 because of these unfortunate circumstances that happened to me?
A: In order to retire on an immediate, unreduced annuity, you’d have to be at least 56 years old and have 30 years of service. The earliest you could retire would be when you reach age 56. However, because you wouldn’t have 30 years of service, you’d be retiring under the MRA+10 provision (minimum retirement age with at least 10, but fewer than 30, years of service).