Q. Can an agency direct an employee not to submit a retirement packet prior to its Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay decision? Does an agency decision to grant VSIP affect an employee’s ability to pursue optional retirement?

I’m a FERS employee with the Defense Department and was eligible for MRA+10 effective December 2011. My agency deemed my position surplus in 2011 and offered VSIP and Voluntary Early Retirement Authority to separate in 2012. I’ve opted to retire under MRA+10 effective Sept. 30, and to request VSIP. (I’m ineligible for VERA.) I’m prepared to submit my retirement packet to the Army Benefits Center-Civilian, but my agency says I’ll be disqualified for VSIP if I submit it prior to receiving the agency’s decision on VSIP.

A. You can put in your retirement application any time you feel like it. However, your agency is correct. If  you do that before a decision is made about a VSIP, you wouldn’t be eligible to receive it. The VSIP is intended to encourage employees to retire who had not yet made up their minds, not to reward those who have already taken steps to do so.


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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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