Retirement under FERS


Q. I joined the military Sept. 12, 1978, and retired Oct. 1, 2008, with just over 30 years of active military service (no broken time). I began working for the federal government under FERS on Jan. 4, 2009.

I’ve been told that I can resign after five years of government service (Jan. 3, 2014) and collect retirement benefits from the federal government once I reach the age of 62. Is that correct?

If I have 40 hours of annual leave and 40 hours of sick leave, what is the earliest I can retire? Would it be two weeks prior to Jan. 3? Or one week? And if it is 2 weeks, will I be paid for both weeks or just one week (annual leave)?

Once I reach the age of 62, if I qualify for retirement benefits for my federal service, what will I need to do to begin collecting that benefit?

A. When you have five years of creditable service, you can resign from the government and apply for a deferred annuity at age 62. Neither your annual nor sick leave can be used to get you to the five-year mark. When you resign, you’ll receive a lump-sum payment for your unused annual leave. Your sick leave balance would be lost, unless you were to be re-employed by the government.

To apply for a deferred retirement, go to, click on Forms, download OPM Form 1496A, fill it out, and send it to the Office of Personnel Management three months before your 62nd birthday.


About Author

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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