Postal workers are federal employees


Q: As a postal employee, I would like to take a deferred retirement. I am under the FERS plan. Under the OPM website it states, “If you have completed at least 10 years of creditable service, including 5 years of civilian service, then you are eligible for deferred annuity  beginning the first day of the month after you reach the MRA. What is mean by civilian service? Are postal employees civilian or federal employees?

A: Postal employees are federal employees. The word “civilian” is used to distinguish that federal service from military service. In other words, you have to have been a FERS-covered employee for at least 10 years to be eligible for a deferred annuity. No credit can be given for military service, even if a deposit is made.


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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


  1. Mr. Jones,

    I am a civilian employee who has been working for the Navy for 21+ years. My minimum official retirement age will be in July 2022. I am about to be hired by the US Postal Service but I am afraid that my retirement time with the Navy could be affected. I will appreciate your recommendations.

    • While your reemployment by a federal agency would usually result in the salary of your new position being reduced by the amount of your annuity, I don’t know whether the same would be true of the U.S. Postal Service. You’ll have to ask them.

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