Knowing the correct date of retirement


Q. I was born in 1959, so my MRA age is 56 with 30+ years of service. I turn 56 on Oct. 10, 2015 (which is a Saturday) and I will have 31 years with the USPS (FERS). My master file says I’m eligible to retire on Oct. 9. What is the correct date of retirement? I don’t want to retire on that Friday, Oct. 9, only to find out I retired one day too early.

A. In 1988 when I was OPM’s Assistant Director for Retirement and Insurance Policy, I sent a letter to every agency retirement counselor pointing out that “a person legally attains a given age on the day before his birthday…[For example], a FERS retiree who meets the eligibility requirements for optional retirement, and whose birthday falls on the 1st of the month, can separate as early as the day before that birthday.” Your agency is right. Therefore, you can retire at the close of business on Friday, Oct. 9.


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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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