Q. I’m a Defense Department employee with 19 years of federal service, and I’m 37 years old (I had 12 years of active-duty military time, which I bought back toward my government time. If the Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay is offered again this year, I’m considering accepting the buyout. If I accept the buyout, can I still apply for a deferred annuity once I reach age 62? Is there much benefit to waiting until I have 20 years of federal service, as opposed to separating with 19 years? I still won’t be at my minimum retirement age (57), even if I wait until I have 20 years. I will still only be 38, and will still have to apply for a deferred annuity, so what’s the difference?
A. The difference is that with 20 years of service you could apply for a deferred annuity at age 62; with fewer than 20 years, you’d have to wait until age 62.