Mandatory retirement age

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Q. I work with the Federal Bureau of Prisons. We have a mandatory retirement age of 57. In recent years, we are seeing veterans being hired with waivers that will allow them to stay past 57, and in some cases, well past. I have also witnessed numerous seasoned staff members reach their 57th birthday and leave even though they really would have liked to stay. Is there any talk of leveling the playing field and letting the seasoned staff remain after 57 like the veterans? It would only seem fair. I do not feel that I will be ready to retire at 57 and strongly object to the income caps that will be placed on me even though it is not my choice to leave. I have directed this question to several agencies including the Office of Personnel Management and have yet to get a “decent” answer.

A. I don’t know if this will be a “decent” answer, but it will be an accurate one. By law, law enforcement officers are mandatorily retired at age 57 unless they reach that age and have not completed the 20 years needed to make them eligible for the enhanced retirement benefit. See www.opm.gov/retirement-services/publications-forms/csrsfers-handbook/c046.pdf. That’s where you’ll also find the limited circumstances under which an employee facing mandatory retirement can be approved to work beyond that age.

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