Q. I have been employed with the Department of Homeland Security in the Transportation Security Administration for just under five years. I am planning to leave federal service to obtain field experience in the private sector with ambitions to return to the federal system with the FBI.
1. Are there any specific impacts of leaving service before the five-year milestone?
2. Are there specific do’s and don’t’s when leaving with intent to return to service?
3. Will the time I have invested stay with me when I rejoin the system?
4. Do I need to resume service within a certain time?
Some information that may be needed: I joined DHS on Jan. 6, 2008. I plan to leave before my five-year mark, probably around October. I contribute to a TSP and plan to make a 100 percent withdrawal or roll that into my private sector’s retirement plan if possible. I plan to return to federal service within three to five years, hoping to be employed with the FBI. I am 25.
A. If you leave before you have five years of service, you won’t be vested in the retirement system; therefore, you wouldn’t be entitled to any benefit if you didn’t return. If you did return to federal employment and had left your retirement contributions in the fund, you’d pick up right where you left off. If you had taken a refund, you’d have to redeposit that money to get credit for your previous service.