59 1/2 or 62?

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Q. I was employed by the Postal Service from 1987 to about 2000, out of 50 Brewery St., New Haven, CT 06511. I was informed that because of the length of time I was employed that I was eligible for a retirement benefit upon reaching the age of 59½. My 59th birthday occurred Aug. 3 (birth year 1954). I don’t remember my employee ID number, so how will I find the information I would need to apply for these benefits?

A. You were misinformed. Assuming that you didn’t ask for a refund of your retirement contributions, you’d only be eligible for a deferred annuity at age 62, not 59½. A few months before you reach age 62, download a copy of OPM Form 1496A, available at www.opm.gov/forms/pdf_fill/opm1496a.pdf and send it to the Office of Personnel Management. Even if you don’t have all the details, OPM will be able to locate your file.

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  1. Reference 59 1/2 or 62? Don’t assume OPM will be able to find your file. Paperwork doesn’t always get in the file and the files themselves sometimes disappear. Every Federal employee should save every piece of paper they ever get. Don’t depend on anyone else for something so important.

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