Q. Where are all these early retirement/buyouts happening? I’m definitely not seeing them in my department  at the VA — we haven’t had widespread early retirement/buyout authority since the 1990s!

A. VERAs and VSIPs are only offered when an agency is undergoing substantial restructuring, reshaping, downsizing, transfer of function, or reorganization, and has approval from OPM to do that. If your agency isn’t facing any of these problems, it won’t need to ask OPM for that authority.


About Author

Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to


  1. The VA may well be a candidate for early retirements/buyouts in the very near future if the changes proposed by the VA Comission of Care are put into place.

    Among the recommendations are closing down remote CBOC clinics and smaller underperforming or underused VA medical facilities nationwide and allowing many more Veterans to be seen by private healthcare.

    These changes alone would constitute significant downsizing/layoffs and change of mission to justify the VA secretary seeking and getting OPM approval for VA wide early retirement/buyout authority.

    In the mid to late 1990’s, when the VA last sought and received VA wide early retirement authority, approximately eligible 10,000 employees took advantage of early retirements/buyouts.

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