Q. I am 48 with 25 years of federal service under FERS. I am considering my options and was wondering what would be the ramifications of leaving government service by resignation or early retirement, if available.
A. If your agency offered you an opportunity to retire early, you could do that. If it didn’t, you couldn’t. With early retirement, you’d receive an annuity computed as follows: 0.01 x your high-3 x your years and full months of service. You wouldn’t be eligible for the special retirement supplement until you reached your minimum retirement age (56) and your first cost-of-living adjustment until age 62.
If you resigned, you could apply for a deferred annuity at age 60. It would be computed using the formula above with the high-3 base on the one you had the day you left. While you wouldn’t be eligible for the special retirement supplement, you would be eligible for your first COLA at age 62.
If you retired and had been covered by the Federal Employees Health Benefit and/or Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance programs, you could continue that coverage in retirement. If you applied for a deferred annuity, you couldn’t re-enroll.