Q. I am a Fuels Planner (GS09) and have worked in fire in various capacities over the past 16 years. If I take a job outside of fire, will I forfeit my firefighter retirement entirely? Is any of the time I have put in counted in my final retirement? Is there a period of time that I can get back into a firefighter position to finish out my four years in order to get the additional retirement? If so, how long do I have to do so?
A. Unless you have 20 years of actual covered firefighter service, you won’t be eligible to retire under the special provision. Although the years you spent as a firefighter would be counted as years of service, you would only be entitled to a regular retirement when you meet the standard age and service requirements. It would be up to the agency to which you apply to decide if they want to hire you. While there isn’t any time or age limit, you might be bumping up against the mandatory retirement provision. Even so, if you were hired, you’d be allowed to continue to work until you had 20 years of service, even if your service went past the mandatory retirement age.