Law enforcement retirement eligibility


Q. I am in a law enforcement position with 20 years as of September. I’m age 47. I’m looking at transferring to another federal agency that is not law enforcement. Would I be able to retire at the age of 50 from that agency if I choose, or will I be able to stay there after the age of 57?

A. No, you wouldn’t be able to retire at age 50. You’d have to wait until you reach your minimum retirement age, which in your case would be 56 and four months. If you don’t choose to retire at that point, you can continue working until you decide to retire.


About Author

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


  1. David A Delgado on

    Mr. Jones,

    I have read several Q&A’s that you stated that a person with 20 years of 6c whom has not yet reached 50 years old could continue their service in a non-6c position and then collect their entire enhanced 6c retirement at age 50.

    In the answer above this person seems to have completed their 20 years of 6c and is age 47. They have asked the same question about continuing on in federal service in a non 6c position. In this answer however, you say they would not be eligible to retire with their entire 6c benefit at age 50.

    Could you please clarify? I fall into this situation where I will have 20 years of 6c at age 47 and would like to try to obtain employment in a non-6c position until I am 50. If I am correct, I can do that and collect the social security stipend as well.


    • What I wrote in both answers is correct. First, a person with 20 years LEO service who is 50 years old can retire at that point or move to a non-LEO position and retain the right to retire at any time he wants. Second, a person with 20 years of service who is less than 50 years old can move to a non-LEO position and retire on an annuity based on the combined LEO and non-LEO service when he reaches his MRA.

    • Correction. I’ve now received new advice from OPM. They’ve reversed the answer they gave me a few years ago. Now they say that an LEO employee who has 20 years of service but has not yet reached age 50 can retire when he does reach age 50.

      • Sounds great, I’m assuming that they need to stay employed in federal government until he reaches 50 in order to retire with an immediate annuity

          • What if the person who has the 20 years of FERS LEO status and is 46 years old decides to go and work in private industry until 50 years old, can the person collect their pension/deferred retirement at 50 or do they have to wait until 57 to collect?

          • You could collect you annuity at age 50; however, you wouldn’t be entitled to the special retirement supplement. No one who retires on a deferred annuity is eligible for the SRS.

  2. Sir,

    I was just told by Fedweek that I would not be able to collect my FERS deferred retirement until 57, because I left at 46 years old with 22 years of Federal LEO service to go to private industry. And I won’t be able to get a deferred retirement until I turn 57, and then I can collect my 22% of deferred retirement, because I would not quality for the LEO 36% pension. Is Fedweek correct?

    Again, I’m 46 years old, with 22 years of Federal LEO service and want to leave the Federal government and go work for private industry. I want to be able to take my deferred retirement at 50 years old and collect my 36% pension.

    • If you have 20 years of covered service and move to a non-covered position, you can retire on an immediate annuity at age 50. However, if you leave government service, you will have to wait until your minimum retirement age (MRA) to apply for a deferred annuity.

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