Law enforcement retirement


Q. I am a 43-year-old FERS employee who just completed my 20th year in a covered law enforcement position. I understand the 25 at any age/20 at age 50+ rules. I also understand that I may transition to a nonlaw enforcement position for the next five years and retire at age 48, or simply continue working until age 48 and retire with 25 years of law enforcement. However, at this point (age 43 with 20 years), if I retire and apply for deferred benefits, will those benefits be available when I turn 50, as 50 is the minimum retirement age with my completed 20 years of LE service? If it is not age 50, what is the earliest age that I could apply for the deferred benefits? If it is later than age 50, can you please explain why? I am interested in resigning from my federal law enforcement career now that I have completed 20 years, but I want to sacrifice as few benefits as possible.

A. Let me untangle things for you. First, if you left government now, you’d be eligible for a deferred law enforcement retirement at age 57. However, you wouldn’t be able to re-enroll in either the Federal Employees Health Benefits or Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance programs.

Second, you wouldn’t meet the 25-years-of-service-at-any-age requirement to retire if you moved to a non-LEO position. Only 25 years of covered service would allow that.


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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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