Q. I resigned federal employment after 21 years. A few years later, I was advised by the Office of Personnel Management that I was eligible for the reduced benefits of minimum 10-year early retirement (FERS). However, they made no mention that if I wait until age 60 (another three years), I may receive unreduced (full) benefits. As I understand the regulations, I am eligible for unreduced benefits at age 60, with at least 20 years of service, even if I resigned before reaching the minimum retirement age. Is this correct? Do I need to appeal the decision of OPM regarding my early retirement options, making no mention of the full benefits provision?
Also I worked under CSRS until 1986, when I was converted to FERS. So far, no mention has been made of my contributions to CSRS, although I contributed several thousand dollars to the program until 1986, when I was forced to convert to FERS. What happened to all my contributions to CSRS? Do I need to apply for both FERS and CSRS to claim my benefits? OPM has advised me that I am not eligible to receive any refunds from either program because I meet the 10-year provision for early (reduced) retirement. How may I claim my benefits under CSRS?
A. Because you had at least 20 years of service when you resigned from the government, you’ll be eligible for an unreduced annuity at age 60. When you left government, you weren’t eligible for early retirement, nor were you old enough to retire under the MRA+10 provision, so there is nothing you could appeal.
Apparently, you had fewer than five years of full-time employment under CSRS when FERS came into being. Therefore, you were automatically covered by FERS.
If this is the case, your entire annuity will be computed using the FERS formula. If that isn’t the case, then you will have two components in your annuity, one computed using the CSRS formula and the other the FERS formula.