Disability retirement


Q. I will be 56 by mid-January. My service computation date is May 13, 1992. I am a GS-13, level 8.

I have received my 20-year pin (I bought back six years of Navy active-duty time) yet the payroll department at our Veterans Affairs medical center now tell me I only have 17 years.

I left the VA system for private business in 2003 for three years, then came back to my previous position in VA.

I left my FERS money in the system when I left. Would this make me eligible to retain those three years toward my retirement, making me have 20 years toward retirement?

I would like to retire at age 56 but do not wish to be penalized the 5 percent per year under the age of 62.

Am I eligible for a buyout? They are talking about reductions in force in our Veterans Integrated Service Network office. I am not at the VISN office but in a VA hospital.

I am a 50 percent service-connected disabled veteran.

Recently, I was in an auto accident and sustained a head injury that has greatly reduced my memory and have been under a physician’s and neuropsychologist’s care. This is the first year that I received a less than excellent rating on my evals, due to the amount of sick leave and inability to remember many of my day-to-day objectives and tasks.

Since I am responsible for all the medical technology within the medical center, I am seriously considering early retirement to keep from a negative incident occurring.

A. You could apply for disability retirement because you have enough creditable service (18 months) to do that. If you are offered a buyout, you could accept that even if you didn’t have 20 years of creditable service. If you can find out why you are getting a 20-year pin but not being credited with 20 years of service for retirement purposes, and it turns out that you have 20 years, you could accept an offer of early retirement.


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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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