Buyout changed


Q. I am 56 years old and have been a FERS federal employee of the U.S. District Courts for almost seven years.  I was offered a $25,000 buyout along with four others in my department. I submitted my letter of intent. Today I was told that they’d made a mistake, that even though the agency head had offered me the amount of $25,000 and the paperwork had been approved, it’s now been decided that I can be offered only just under $10,000, the amount equal to or lesser than my severance pay. They said GAO won’t let them give me $25,000. This doesn’t seem right to me. I understood the buyout amount is equal to the lesser of your severance pay calculation, or $25,000, or an amount determined by your agency head.

A. Your agency is correct. It cannot give you a buyout that exceeds the amount of your severance pay. The phrase “an amount determined by your agency head” allows that official to offer anything that falls between the amount of severance pay and $25,000.

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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

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