Applying for retirement


Q. Do I have to be on active federal service to apply for retirement?  In other words, can I resign from my current GS job, not work and check the “retired scene” for a month or two (i.e. take a break), then apply for retirement if I so desire, but keep the option not to retire and apply instead for another job if I find not working to be boring?

And if my decision is to go ahead and retire, are there special requirements? How do I apply for retirement if/when I am not on current register?

A. Yes, you could leave government and apply for a deferred annuity. The amount you’d receive would be exactly the same as it would have been had you retired instead of leaving.

However, there are two possible downsides to your plan. First, any Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance you have would expire after 31 days of free coverage and you wouldn’t be able to re-enroll when you retired.

Second, if you were covered by the Federal Employees Health Benefit program, after 31 days of free coverage you’d only be able to continue that coverage for up to 18 months by paying 100 percent of the cost, plus 2 percent extra for administrative fees; however, you wouldn’t be able to re-enroll when you retired.


About Author

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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