One year makes all the difference


Q. I am a FERS employee with 24 years of service; I am 49. I started at the IRS in May 1987, and my birthday is in October 1962. My agency may offer an early out very shortly. However, it appears I miss the 20 years/age 50 or the 25 years/any age requirement by less than one year. Is there any way I can take the early out if offered and pay the 5-percent penalty in order to qualify for the early out, and get an immediate annuity? If yes, would I still get my health insurance? Or am I totally out of luck at this time?

A: You are totally out of luck. Because you will have fewer than 20 years of service, you aren’t eligible for early retirement.


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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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