Mandatory retirement age


Q. What is the mandatory retirement age to retire from the federal government? I just turned 52 years old and will have 28 years of federal service in June. How many years can I work to reach the mandatory retirement age? What happens when I reach the mandatory retirement age and I decide not to retire at that time?

A. With the exception of special category employees, such as law enforcement officers, firefighters and air traffic controllers, there is no mandatory retirement age for federal employees.


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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


  1. Fredrick C. Smith on

    I will have 19 years Federal time in September of this year. Prior to being selected for this permanent position, I worked 12 months with Veterans Affairs while in grad school. can those 12 months be included in my time toward retirement?

    • Unlikely. However, to be sure you’ll have to check with your personnel office. If they are uncertain, they can check with OPM.

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