Retirement date


Q. I am 51 years of age and was born in 1961, which makes 56 my minimum retirement age. My birthday is Jan. 20. I recently lost my job in my hometown and was fortunate to gain employment with another federal agency, which is two hours from my home. I want to retire at my MRA.

1. Is Jan. 20, 2017, the date that I can retire? I would be 56 on that day.

2. If I retire at age 56, would the penalty be 5 percent per year of my FERS, or 20 percent?

3. Would I take this penalty until age 60 or 62, or would the penalty stay with me for life?

I was told at one point that my penalty would stay with me until age 60 because I would have over 20 years of service.

A. 1. Yes, you can retire on your 56th birthday. However, you could retire on the day before that because Jan. 20 is actually the first day of your 57th year.

2. If you are retiring under the MRA+10 provision (minimum retirement age with at least 10 but fewer than 30 years of service), your annuity would be reduced by 5 percent for every year you are younger than age 62.

3. The age reduction penalty is a permanent reduction in your annuity. Assuming that you have at least 20 years of service, the only way to avoid the age penalty is to retire and postpone the receipt of your annuity until you reach age 60.


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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