Retirement benefits


Q. I worked for the federal government from May 1985 to February 2005 as a FERS employee. My remaining annual leave was paid out to me, and I had more than 700 hours of accumulated sick leave. I moved all of my TSP contributions into another fund several years ago. As I plan for retirement, are there any retirement benefits I can receive or can I receive payment for sick leave? I saw in your column: “If you are already off the rolls, you can apply for a refund up to 31 days before your 62nd birthday.” That is fast approaching, and I wonder if there is anything I can recoup.
A. If you didn’t ask for a refund of your retirement contributions when you left government, you could apply for a refund 31 days before your 62nd birthday. Alternatively, you could apply for a FERS deferred annuity in that same time frame. While the refund would be a one-time payment, the annuity would continue for the rest of your life. Note: Your unused sick leave has no cash value nor could it be used in the computation of your deferred annuity.


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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

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