Postponing, deferring and unused sick leave


Q. I intend to retire from government civilian service at age 60 under MRA + 10. At the time of my retirement, I will have 15 years of service. Accordingly, as I understand it, I will be eligible to defer or postpone my retirement annuity until age 62, thereby bypassing the age reduction penalty. Would I lose any of my accumulated sick hours (currently 1,200 hours) under either the deferred or postponed retirement programs?

A. You wouldn’t get any credit for your unused sick leave if you resigned and later apply for a deferred annuity. You would get credit for your unused sick leave if you retired and postponed the receipt of your annuity to a later date.


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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


  1. Bret Stoneking on

    I’m in a simliar position. I’m eligible for MRA+10, right now, at age 60. I plan to leave at age 61.

    So you’ve got me confused now… in this answer you say “RETIRE and POSTPONE”, while in another one:

    A: Your agency is correct. Just as they said, you’ll have to resign and apply for a postponed retirement six months before your 62nd birthday. You’ll find the Application for Deferred or Postponed Retirement online…”

    You say RESIGN. So which is it?

    Do I fill out the form and send it in before my 61st birthday(Dec 19) so that my retirement date (when I walk out of here) is 3 Jan 2020 but my postpone annuity date is 1 Dec 2020…. or do I just tell everyone goodbye (or whatever happens when you just resign) and sit on the form for 10 months? The only thing I’m trying to do is eliminate the under 62 reduction and re-start my FEGLI. If I resign, doesn’t that kill my sick leave for annuity calculations?

    • If someone leaves government before being eligible to retire on an immediate annuity and has at least 5 years of creditable service, he can apply for a deferred annuity when he reaches the right age t do so. If he is already eligible for an immediate annuity but wants to wait before applying for that benefit, for example, under the MRA+10 provision, he can postpone the receipt of that annuity to a later date.

    • One more thing. If you are eligible for a deferred annuity, you can simply resign and apply for that benefit at a later date. Deferred annuitants aren’t eligible to reenroll in either the FEHB or FEGLI programs, nor will their unused sick leave be used in their annuity calculation.

  2. I am confused. I had 14 years of service and was told I had to resign because I was 4 months shy of my MRA+10 birthday in 2020 and I could apply for postponed with FEHB after my birthday or just before age 62. This doesnt seem correct after reading the above?

    • First things first. No one can tell you that you have to resign. Resignation is a voluntary matter, and only you can decide if you want to do that. If you did resign, there are two points in time when you could apply for a deferred annuity. At your minimum retirement age (MRA) or age 62. If you retired under the MRA+10 provision, your annuity would be reduced by 5 percent for every year (5/12ths of 1 percent per month) that you were under age 62. If you waited until age 62 to apply for your annuity, there wouldn’t be any reduction.

  3. If I am 59 1/2 and at age 60 I will have served 26 years at the VA. I would like to retire but would I have a reduction in benefits? I hear something about 25 years you can retire at any age. Would I get the 1.1 % calculation or 1%? If I can’t retire then I want to postpone to maintain my benefits and when I turn 62 would I get full benefits?

    • Anyone who is age 60 can retire when they have at least 20 years of service. If you did retire at age 60, you would be entitled to an unreduced annuity. That annuity would be calculated using the standard formula:
      .01 X the average of your highest three consecutive years of service X 26
      The enhanced 1.1 percent multiplier is only used for those who retire at age 62 with 5 or more years of service.
      Note: The only time an employee can retire at any age with 25 years of service is when his agency is undergoing a reduction-if-force, reorganization or realignment and his agency makes him an offer of early retirement.

  4. So I am eligible for the MRA+10 provision and you like to postpone my pension until age 62. Must I resign and apply for retirement later? Do I loose my sick leave credit in doing so?

    • If you retire under the MRA+10 provision, your annuity will be calculated using the standard formula: 0.01 x your high-3 x your years and full months of service. If you wait until age 62 to apply for your annuity, you won’t be subject to the 5/12 of 1 percent for every month you are under age 62.

      If you have at least 5 years of continuous coverage under the Federal Employees Health Benefits or Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance programs on the day you leave, you’ll be able to reactivate that coverage when you annuity begins.

      FYI: If you postpone the receipt of your annuity, you’ll receive a 31-day extension of coverage at no cost to you. Then, under the Temporary Continuation of Coverage provision, you’ll be able to keep your health benefits coverage by paying the full premiums, plus 2 percent, to your former agency. You’ll also have the option of converting to a private life insurance policy, for which you’d pay the premiums.

      • Life and Health insurance is not a problem. My question is do I have to resign to postpone the annuity at no penalty and will my unused sick leave be credited?

        • Of course you have to resign; otherwise you’d still be on the employment roll and the question wouldn’t arise. As for any unused sick leave, it will be added to your actual service and used in the computation of your annuity.

  5. I understand. I was asking about Retirement with age penalty vs. resign and postpone. Looks like resign and postpone is the way to go.

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