Q. On Aug. 23, I was reduced in force into a position for which qualifications were waived, and it was a change to a lower grade. I have been unable to perform the duties of the new job because I do not have the basic qualifications and experience. Can I be involuntarily separated because I am unable to perform my new duties? I am a 68-year-old FERS employee with 34 years at the Defense Department.

A. While you could be involuntarily separated for poor performance, there may be other options, such as placing you in a position that’s a better fit with your skills. You need to discuss that possibility with your agency’s management officials. If all else fails, you have the age and service needed to retire.


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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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