Conditions of new federal position


Q. I worked from 4/1987 through 8/1998 as an Architect/Engineer SR with the USPS. I resigned with a good record. I have a form 50 that states my service which I submitted when I applied. I recently was hired to a new position.

I cannot get a clear understanding about my retirement, my vesting and if I have a probationary period and how long it is. I was not reinstated. I was FERS, and I never took my basic .8 contribution out. I did transfer my Thrift Savings Plan to a private brokerage account. They used the .8 to continue my FERS plus gave me the service time as far as leave goes (six hours/pay period).

1. How is my retirement calculated? What age can I retire? I am 57 now.

2. How long before I can be considered a vested federal employee with competitive rights to apply for another position?

3. How much service time do I have according to the VA? My personnel record has it like I am starting over.

4. Do I have a probationary period, and how long is it?

A. You were vested in the retirement system when you had five years of service and will never again have to serve a probationary period. Apparently, VA hasn’t updated its records to show your prior service. Still, they know enough about it to have set your leave accrual rate, which is a good sign. Now that you’ve been reemployed, you can apply for other positions; however, as a courtesy to your current employer, you might want to stick around for a while.

As a FERS employee, you can retire on an unreduced annuity when you have one of the following age and service combinations: 62 and five years, 60 and 20 years, or at your minimum retirement age (MRA) with 30 years. You could also retire at your MRA with at least 10 but fewer than 30 years of service. However, your annuity would be reduced by 5 percent for every year you were under age 62.


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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