VERA and exception to five-year rule


Q. I’m a federal employee under FERS. I have 26 years of service, and I’m looking into a Voluntary Early Retirement Authority offering. I had federal health coverage for 24 years (1987-2011) and then used my husband (outside the federal program 2012) and just started a year after (2013). Will they take that into consideration for me to take the federal health plan into retirement, or will I still will need four more years. Is there any way to waive the five continuous years needed as I had it for 24 years before?

A. The fact that you were enrolled in the FEHB program earlier in your career doesn’t count. However, if you were covered continuously since the beginning date of your agency’s latest Office of Personnel Management-approved VERA and you retire during that VERA window, you’ll be granted a waiver of the five-year requirement and can carry that coverage into retirement.


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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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