Q. I am a FERS employee, 54 years old with almost 30 years of service. My performance has been above average, and I am a good employee. I am a licensed (medical field) therapist, and unfortunately, I just got a third DUI, which calls for mandatory jail time and is a class 6 felony. With a class 6 felony, I will lose my medical license and, I am told, my job. I was told by human resources I should resign and then wait until I am 62 to collect a deferred retirement. However, I still need to pay my bills and need my health benefits. Can they make me resign? Or would it be better to let them fire me? Without my medical license, I would no longer qualify for my job — which is why they are telling me to resign (and they said it looks better on my record than being removed from service). Do I qualify for discontinued service retirement? Do you know what HR would have to provide me with if I do not choose to resign?
A. According to OPM, “Employees who are separated for cause on charges of misconduct or delinquency are not eligible for discontinued service retirement.” Therefore your only choices are to resign or be fired. If you resign, you can state that you did so for personal reasons. If you are fired, the reasons for that firing will be a matter of record.