Q. I joined the Marine Corps in 1988, served until 1992 and bought back my deposit. I then worked under federal law enforcement — 6(c) coverage — until 2001, when I transferred to a non-6(c) covered position until 2004, with no break in service. I then immediately obtained a position under the 6(c) provisions with no breaks in service as a special agent and am still employed. I am 43 years old and will have 32 years of federal service at age 50.
At what age can I switch to a non-6(c) position and still retire with the law enforcement/firefighter retirement? Am I correct that I can switch to a non-6(c) covered position at 46 because I will have 20 years under the covered 6C provision and still retire at 50?
A. Your understanding is correct. You need to have 20 years of actual covered service to lock in that enhanced benefit. After you have 20 years, you can move into a noncovered position and continue working until you reach age 50, when you can retire, or resign and apply for a deferred retirement at your minimum retirement age. The main disadvantages of doing the latter are that you’d have to wait longer to retire and you wouldn’t be able to re-enroll in the FEHB or FEGLI programs.