Options after firing


Q. I was federally employed as a Border Patrol agent in November 1988, then joined the FBI in June 1991 and was fired May 2011 (no break in service since November ’88). I was 48. I can find no answers regarding retirement benefits. I was told I forfeited everything, but I could find nothing in writing. What are my options?

A. Unless your firing was connected with any of the offenses cited in 5 U.S. Code 8312, which largely involve treason, rebellion and seditious conduct, you’d be eligible for a deferred annuity at age 60, but only if you left your retirement contributions in the retirement fund when you left. If you took a refund, you wouldn’t be entitled to anything.


About Author

Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to fedexperts@federaltimes.com.


  1. I was put on admin leave for an aledged statement of, “ I feel naked without my guns”. 9 months later a letter of proposed removal for unacceptable conduct egregious actions in threatening a subordinate supervisor was derived from a statement from the subordinate. None of which is true. I had reprimanded the supervisor and believe this to be retaliation. I will go to MSPB be cause I was denied 650 mediation. According to the postal service, if the language contains egregious action in the letter of action it is not proper to mediate. Can the postal service take my pension and tsp ? Will I have a bad reference for future employment should the postal service win in court and remove me.

    • The Postal Service cannot affect your entitlement to a future pension nor can they take the money you have in your TSP account.

  2. I am 51 years of age. I became an Appropriated Fund, Federal Employee, in April 1988, and was terminated in Aug 2018 (with no break in service). The stated reason for termination was failure to follow policy. At the time of my termination, prior to being terminated, I had no prior discipline actions, not even a letter of reprimand or unacceptable performance appraisals. I am disputing the stated justification of failure to follow policy, as I was following common established past practices.

    With 30 years of federal service, I would have been eligible for retirement at age 56 1/2 years of age (which would be Jan 2024), with annuities and continued Life Insurance and Medical Benefits.

    When researching any benefit options I could not find an answer to my questions within the OPM. However, I have been given two different answers verbally when calling the benefits line for answers, I was informed both: (1) Yes, I am still entitled to receive annuities and life insurance and medical benefits; and (2) No, I lose all benefits and receive nothing.

    My question is: Since being terminated will I still be able to receive the retirement annuities and life insurance and medical benefits in Jan 2024 (since I had served 30 years prior to termination)?

    • Because you had at least 25 years of service and were involuntarily separated from the government, you are entitled to an early retirement annuity and the continuance of your life and health insurance benefits. Go to http://www.opm.gov, download Standard Form 3102, complete it and send it to the address on the form.

      • Mr. Jones,

        I went to the http://www.opm.gov website and the Standard Form 3102 is the FERS Designation of Beneficiary Form. Is this the form you meant to reference? I could not find any other forms related to involuntary separation.

        Thank you for any further clarification you can provide.

        • I had a vision problem. I read the small type as meaning SF 3102 when it actually read SF 3107. When you send in the form, include a copy of the SF 50 documenting your separation.

          • Mr. Jones,

            I previously asked about retirement options after being terminated from my federal job, and was advised that I would be eligible for discontinued service retirement, and I should complete & submit the SF 3107 — which I did.

            Background: I am a 51 years-old. I had 30 years of credible federal employment service (SCD: Apr 1988), with no break in service, prior to being terminated on Aug 14, 2018. I was terminated with a listed charge of Failure to Follow Policy (which I am now being told that a charge of Failure to Follow Policy falls under the code of misconduct). Prior to being terminated, I had no previous formal/informal disciplinary actions, no letters of caution or reprimand, no negative performance appraisals — nothing. The charge of Failure to Follow Policy that resulted in my termination was the one and only charge of a failure to follow policy in my 30 years of employment. Nonetheless, I was terminated.

            Today, Nov 20th, when Civilian Retirement Benefits representative responded back to my request for a status update on the SF 3107 Application for Immediate/Discontinued Service Application I submitted in August, I was informed that on Nov 9th, CHRO recommended NOT to approve my request for discontinued service retirement & that my package was forwarded to OPM for final decision… but most likely OPM will follow CHRO’s recommendation NOT to approve. When I asked why my package was recommended NOT to be approved, the representative stated there were no reasons stated in the notes he had.

            My question to you is — Do you have any other advise you can give me regarding this matter? Do I have any retirement appeal options or is the CHRO/OPM answer is final.

            I would appreciate any advice or guidance you can provide.

            Thank you,

    • Phoebe,

      Thank you for your reply and the link you provided, I appreciate it. And yes, I filed an appeal with MSBP regarding my termination, the appeal has not yet been heard by the assigned judge, and unfortunately, I may not be able to progress much further due to the financial hardship my attorney fees are creating, I may have to withdraw my appeal. I was hoping the DSR would be approved. Again thank you for your reply and link. And if you think of any other information that you believe may be useful, any information could be useful — thank you.

      • Please don’t withdraw the appeal of your termination. After 30 years of service and no other actions prior to termination, removal seems excessive for a “violation of policy.” I would do whatever you need to so you can continue the appeal. There is still the possibility of OPM ruling in your favor on the DSR also. Best of luck to you!!

  3. I have 14 years of federal service working at the V.A. Hospital. I was promoted to asst. supervisor last year and everything went downhill from there. A co-worker got jealous that I got the job over him and began making many false accusations against me. Upper management followed suit and became sour with me as well.. I have never been written up or in trouble during my 14 years until now. The chief of staff has proposed I be fired for working an excessive amount of overtime which I only worked because coverage was needed in the hospital and the other substantiated offense was I raised my voice while I was turning in paperwork to the risk manager for requested information in a fact finding. I never raised my voice but yet expressed my feelings to her when I stated to her” why don’t they look at all the good things I have done here instead of looking for false facts based on hear say”. I was told I had 7 days to appeal this. I presented my appeal to the director and because I filed a grievance 3 months ago with the va accountability act, the director informed me that his decision to fire me would be on hold until such grievance is complete. My question for you is what should I do during this waiting period? I was told by Human Resources to quit before I let them fire me? I don’t want to quit because I want to keep my job, my family depends on me. It’s like I’m in a holding stage and have no idea what tomorrow may bring. Please advise me with any help you deem appropriate, either now or when the decision is ready to be made by director.. thank you..

    • If you are covered by a union, you can ask them to assist you. If you aren’t, you may want to consult an attorney who is familiar with federal adverse action proceedings.

    • Don’t resign. They will then say it was your own choice to resign and you will have a much harder time fighting the Removal. I find it unlikely they will prevail in charging you for working too much overtime when a Manager would have had to approve it. If you have a Union, contact them immediately. If not, you’re going to need an Attorney experienced in Federal labor law.

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