Q. I work for a federal agency that has offered a VERA/VSIP. I have 31 years of civilian service under CSRS, and I’ll be 53 years old on July 12. Employees who accept the buyout offer are to be off the agency payroll by June 2012. I’ve applied for the offer, but I’ve only been enrolled in the health insurance program for 2½ years. I’ve also discovered that the estimated annuity calculated through Employee Benefits Information System is not accurate because it is based on working 40 hours a week for 31 years (I was part time for 17 years, averaging 32 hours a week). My agency has approved all the applicants for the buyout. However, I’m considering not accepting the buyout offer when it is presented by the personnel office. What are my risks or disadvantages by not taking the offer?

A. There isn’t any risk in not taking the buyout and retiring. If you were later RIFed, you have the age and years of service needed to retire at that time. The disadvantage of not going now is that you wouldn’t receive the buyout. Decisions like this are always a toss-up. Is it better to leave now and take the money or hang around as long as you can to increase the amount of your annuity?


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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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