VERA vs. discontinued service retirement

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Q. Our agency just received notice that Voluntary Early Retirement Authority has been extended to the end of July. I was proceeding under discontinued service retirement since I have been told that, due to a lack of funding for fiscal 2014, I am being involuntarily separated from the agency in October.

I have read the Office of Personnel Management’s Chapter 44 thoroughly regarding DSR, and the other info for VERA. I know the requirements are the same: 50 years old and 20 years service, which I have. The difference is DSR (involuntarily separated with no offer of other job) and VERA (reorganization).

1) Do you agree as stated in Chapter 44, DSR is applicable when let go due to lack of funds to pay for the position? I know the agency has to give you notice of separation and certification saying no other position is available. The agency says it is not going to abolish the position, but it does not have money to pay for it this fiscal year. I guess it hopes the money situation will get better somewhere down the line. It is my understanding that lack of funds qualifies for DSR. Do you agree?

2) Do you agree the benefits are the same for DSR and VERA? Do you know of any benefit of one over the other? The only difference I know of is if a person plans to return to federal service, which I do not.

3) It seems to me that the DSR is a much simpler process, instead of asking for authority to grant VERA from OPM based on a reorganization plan. With DSR, the agency gives me a letter saying due to lack of funds it is letting me go. Then it files the notice of personnel action of termination. Then it files a certification saying no other position has been or will be offered. Then file retirement application. Do you agree?

A. You’ve done a nice piece of research on the subject. However, there’s no point in continuing to roll around on the floor hunting for a best answer. Instead, you need to face the facts. You have no control over what happens next. If your agency gives you a specific notice identifying your position as one that will be affected and that you will be separated from it on a specific date, you can go out on a DSR. On the other hand, if your agency is authorized to offer early retirement, and yours is one of the positions covered by that authority, you can take it.

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