Q. I am 52 with 32 years of federal service under CSRS. If I was offered a Voluntary Early Retirement Authority/Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay, what would that do for me? I have been told that under VERA, I would receive 5 years toward my service. Does that mean my retirement would be based on 37 years service, but take a 6 percent loss due to my age? I would also be able to receive my pension right away.

A. Whoever told you that, under a VERA, five years would be added to your actual service was wrong. If you accepted the VERA, your annuity would be based on your actual service, plus any unused sick leave, and computed under the standard CSRS formula. As you pointed out, the law requires that your annuity be reduced by 2 percent for every year you are under age 55.


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

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