Q. I turn 60 on Jan. 1, 2015.  I am a FERS employee who will have 20 years creditable service in January of 2014.  If I retire Dec. 13, 2014 (the end of a pay period) do I understand correctly that my Federal Employees Health Benefits and Federal Employees Group Life Insurance coverage will be extended for 31 days at no cost to me?

I plan on postponing my annuity receipt until Jan. 1 (when I turn 60) to avoid the under-62 penalty.  Also, do I understand correctly that since my postponed annuity date will be Jan. 1 that my first annuity payment will not be until February?

I am also an Air Force Reserve enlisted ART employee, so I have to leave at 60, but because of the changes to Reserve retired pay eligibility based on active duty orders, I qualify for Reserve Retirement pay earlier than 60. But as you know, if I retired when I was eligible, I would not be able to enroll in Tricare for retirees (except the plan for “gray area,” which involves paying the entire monthly premium).

A. If you are age 60 and have 20 years of service, you could retire on an immediate, unreduced annuity. If you are short of either of those targets, you would be resigning from the government. While you would receive a 31-day extension of your FEHB coverage at no cost to yourself, you wouldn’t be able to re-enroll in the program when you apply for a deferred annuity. You could apply for a deferred annuity when you met the age and service requirements: 60 and 20.


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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 fedexperts@federaltimes.com.

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