Leaving without an early-out


Q. What are my options for leaving government service now without an early-out? I am looking to relocate and have been applying for every job I see at government agencies in my new desired location with no luck. I have 23 years of continuous service, and I’m 52 years old. Can I just leave, then relocate on my own to where I want to move and try to get back into the government when there? What exactly do I give up if I do this — besides the salary?

A. If you resign from the government, leave your money in the retirement fund, and don’t get another government job, you’d be eligible for a deferred annuity at age 60. The amount would be based on what it would have been on the day you left government. If you are covered under the Federal Employees Health Benefits or Federal Employees Group Life Insurance programs, your coverage would continue for 31 days at no cost to you. In both cases, you’d be offered an opportunity to continue your coverage. Under the temporary continuation of coverage provision, you could continue your FEHB coverage for up to 18 months. However, you’d have to pay100 percent of the premiums plus a 2 percent administrative fee. You could convert your FEGLI coverage at a cost determined by the life insurance provided. In neither case would you be able to reactivate your FEHB or FEGLI coverage when your annuity begins. If you returned to work for the government and had left your retirement contributions in the fund, you’d simply be picking up where you left off.


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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 fedexperts@federaltimes.com.

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