Retirement eligibility


Q. I plan on retiring in 1½ years. I will be 56 and have 23 years federal service. I bought back my three years of military time, but I understand that I will not be able to use that unless I do 30 years. I am FERS and was born in 1958, so my minimum retirement age is 56. Will I be able to retire at 56 with 23 years of federal service?

A. You could retire under the MRA+10 provision. However, your annuity would be reduced by 5 percent for every year (5/12 percent per month) that you were under age 62. To avoid the age penalty, you could retire and postpone the receipt of your annuity to a later date. Note: Regardless of when you retire, you will receive credit for those years of active-duty service for which you made a deposit in determining your length of service and in your annuity computation.


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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. Diana Rodeheaver on

    I am planning to retire ASAP but am working out a few issues, I do NOT want the early retirement penalty (5/12 percent per month) to impact my retirement compensation so understanding how my military time rolls towards my retirement will dictate when I can retire.I will have 27 years of Federal service and 4 years of paid military time. I will have met my MRA of 57.6 yrs. Does my military credit count towards the 30 years required service time or does my military time only count towards my annuity computation? If it only counts towards the annuity computation than that will ensure I would need a total of 30 Federal civil service years to retire, is this correct?

  2. I resigned with 33.7 years of service (7 years and 11 months were military buyback) at the age of 52, my MRA was 56. I submitted my retirement documents to be effective on January 1st, 2020, a full month after turning 56 years old. I was advised by OPM that I am subject to the five percent reduction for early retirement. Is this correct, and when is the five percent reduction for early retirement accessed: each year after retirement, or are all years computed at the time of early retirement?

    • You were misinformed. Because you had at least 30 years of creditable service and had reached your MRA, you were entitled to an unreduced annuity. This would be true whether you were retiring on an immediate annuity or, as in your case, a deferred annuity. The fact that part of your 33.7 years of service was based on buying back 7 years and 11 months of active duty service for which you made a deposit would have no affect on your entitlement to an unreduced deferred retirement benefit.

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