Career status and temporary position


Q. I am considering taking a State Department full-time temporary excepted appointment NTE 13 months with no re-employment benefits. I am a career-status employee with the federal government. State requires a four-day break between my current position and beginning service with them. How does this affect my retirement benefits and my career status? Will I not be considered career status when I apply for new jobs after my temporary position comes to an end?

A. When you separate from the government, if you are covered by the Federal Employees Health Benefits and/or Federal Employees Group Life Insurance programs, you will receive a 31-day extension of coverage at no cost to you. You will then have the option of enrolling in a health benefits plan under the temporary continuation of coverage provision for up to 18 months. For that coverage, you’d pay the full premiums plus 2 percent. You could also elect to have private life insurance coverage, for which you’d pay the full cost.

As long as you didn’t take a refund of your retirement contributions when you left, you’d be eligible for a deferred annuity at either age 60 or 62, depending on your total years of service.

As a rule, if you returned to work for the government, you would be considered a career employee and would get credit for your prior service in determining your eligibility to retire and in your annuity computation.


About Author

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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